The Philippine Daily Inquire carries today a full-page ad published by the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) appealing to legislators to pass the K-12 legislative reform into law. Understanding that the global situation today already does not just look at end degrees in the assessments of graduates from the Philippines for properly paying jobs, but also checks for twelve years of basic education, the Aquino administration through its Department of Education, has begun implementing the K-12 reform based on a wide consensus of its necessity and anticipating this legislation. We don’t want our graduates of engineering, for instance, who do much of the engineering work in the Asia Pacific region, to be discriminated against and paid less for their competent work because they do not have twelve years of basic education.
Happily the two current yet-unnumbered bills in the Senate and in the House provide for the basic requirements of the K-12 reform as envisioned by DepEd after many rounds of dialogue with key educational stakeholders like COCOPEA, and are more similar than dissimilar; the collaboration between senators, congressmen and the staffs in crafting these drafts has been wise, admirable and effective. It is for this reason that the five major private educational associations under COCOPEA – the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), the Association of Christian Schools, Colleges and Universities (ACSCU), the Philippine Association of Private Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAPSCU), the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities (PACU), and the Technical Vocational Schools Association of the Philippines (TEVSAPHIL) – formally recommend today the passage of this legislation.
In embracing the necessary K-12 reform, private colleges have much to lose financially as years are foreseen when there will be no freshmen enrolling in the colleges. The view that private educational institutions are supporting this legislation to increase their profits is simply wrong. Our studies predict losses to the private educational sector in billions of pesos. The K-12 reforms are embraced in responsibility to our future generations of youth in a tough global world. The overdue legislation of K-12 legislation will allow private schools to seriously plan their implementation of this law – and to mitigate losses.
From within the National Advocacy Commission of the CEAP, it is appreciated that:
Article XIV, section 2(1) of the 1987 Constitution provides for the duty of the State to “establish, maintain, and support a complete, adequate, and integrated system of education relevant to the needs of the people and society.” This is an obligation our government must fulfill, one that is recognized, especially by the Aquino Administration, as an urgent concern of our youth and one that is vital to the development of our nation.
With the advent of globalization and the rapidly evolving modalities in information-gathering and dissemination, we must realize that the existing ten (10) year education cycle we offer to our Filipino students in both the public and private educational institutions is not enough. Times are changing and so must we.
This is not solely an issue that concerns the upper and middle class Filipino families. This is not just about more tuition and other fees and an extension of two (2) more years in school. This is not just about the rising cost of expenses an average Filipino family would have to allocate in the monthly budget for their child’s education.
More importantly, it is about affording adequate instructional time with a new curriculum that would prepare Filipino students, in both the public and private schools, with essential competencies relevant in today’s fast-paced world. It is about enabling Filipino students, who graduate from their respective public and/or private educational institutions, to compete with other graduates by having a basic education system that can be “at par” with other educational institutions in the global market. It is about placing our Filipino students on “equal footing” with other graduates in the area of labor employment by providing them life-skills and foundations for learning throughout their lives. It is about making education more relevant to the needs of the times and more responsive to the constitutional mandate.
It is a herculean undertaking but it must be done. With these positive developments in both houses of Congress, the CEAP is of the belief that authentic reforms in education is on the way. However, CEAP shares the concern that the “K to 12” program embodied in the “Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2012” is of primary importance — at this point in time – that all government agencies in the field of formal education and alternative instruction must be one with the DepED in ensuring its effective implementation. For now, government has to direct its full attention in making the “K to 12” program a successful initiative before moving on to other areas in education reform.
With these premises, The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) affirms its support in the passage of a law that will enhance the Philippine basic education system by strengthening its curriculum and increasing the number of years for basic education. CEAP also lauds the efforts of both the House of Representatives and the Senate in consolidating and in their efforts to constantly consult with all the concerned stakeholders in the crafting of their respective versions of the “Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2012” – one that puts into law the “K to 12” program.
Finally, CEAP joins in pushing for the approval of this proposed legislation by the Aquino administration – believing that this is perhaps the most important, if not significant legacy that President Aquino can leave behind as it impacts not only today’s youth who yearn for quality education but for generations to come.