United by our commitment to serve the public through ensuring quality education for everyone, we, teachers, parents, students, administrators, professionals, and concerned citizens of the Philippines, call upon the second Aquino regime to IMMEDIATELY SUSPEND THE K TO 12 PROGRAM, BASED ON THE FOLLOWING REASONS:
1. The government is not prepared to implement a 12-year Basic Education Cycle mandated by K to 12, as manifested by the actual insufficiency of classrooms, libraries, toilets, and other facilities; textbooks, modules, and other instructional materials; teachers, non-teaching staff, maintenance staff and other education sector personnel in the old 10-year Basic Education Cycle.
2. The government’s actual education budget in recent decades never reached 4% of the GDP, while the global standard is pegged at 6% of the GDP, hence, the K to 12 program will be underfunded with predictably disastrous consequences.
3. The almost simultaneous implementation of three big educational reforms – Mother-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) in the primary level, the creation of a two-year senior high school at the secondary level, and the introduction of a trimmed down new General Education Curriculum (GEC) at the tertiary level – is very problematic and prone to ineffective and inefficient implementation as the government’s limited resources and personnel will be very stretched.
4. As proven by subpar National Achievement Test (NAT) results in recent years, the over-all quality of education in the Philippines is bad and stagnant if not declining, thus, to improve the quality of education, the government must prioritize the improvement of facilities and teacher training, and increasing the salaries of teachers and non-teaching personnel especially those in public schools, from the measly Php23,044 (Instructor 1 in state colleges and universities), Php18,549 (Teacher 1 in DepEd schools), Php9,000 (typical entry-level salary of non-teaching staff) to Php26,878; Php25,000; and Php16,000 respectively, considering that a PMA cadet’s monthly salary is Php27,425.
5. The enactment of CHED Memo No. 20, Series of 2013 wich has trimmed down the college General Education Curriculum (GEC) and eventually cascaded subjects from college to senior high school, has led to the removal of vital subjects such as Filipino, Literature, and Philippine Government and Constitution.
6. Many courses – such as Housekeeping and Caregiving – in the senior high school curriculum are shockingly suitable only to overseas jobs, and/or beneficial only to foreign businesses – such as Medical Transcription and Contact Center Services, thus the K to 12 Program has no nationalist and pro-Filipino orientation, contrary to the requirements of Article XIV, Sections 2 and 3 of the Philippine Constitution.
7. Generally, the anti-tertiary education mantra of the K to 12 program will manufacture young and docile laborers who will be forced to accept and be permanently chained to low-paying and contractual jobs, at a time when even many college graduates are unable to find good jobs
8. The K to 12 program is a prelude to the planned amalgamation/merging of state universities and colleges (SUCs) under the government’s Roadmap for Public Higher Education Reform (RPHER) which may result to the possible reduction of SUCs, local universities and colleges (LUCs), and even small private colleges and universities. At the outset, it will lead to the massive displacement of around 100,000 professors, teachers and non-teaching personnel by 2016 when no one will enroll in the tertiary level; and beyond, once the slimmer GEC has become permanent, and in a number of colleges and universities, this scheme will also lead to the massive contractualization of both teaching and non-teaching staff.
9. Considering that more than 20 million Filipinos are poor as per official government statistics (close to 40 million as per World Bank data), adding two more years in high school will certainly be financially burdensome for many families at this point, hence it is an indirect assault to our people’s right to education. In some SUCs, the proposed annual fees for senior high school will reach a whopping 16,000 pesos – a 1,600% increase in the lowest tuition rate in the country, on top of other school-related expenses!
10. No massive and genuinely democratic consultations with teachers, parents, students, and other stakeholders, were held when the K to 12 Program was being crafted, and before it was implemented; and the government did not conduct a nationwide assessment of the old 10-year Basic Education Cycle and the previous primary and secondary education curricula, hence the sudden shift to a 12-year Basic Education Cycle is all the more whimsical and at this point, baseless.
Special Thanks to: Alliance of Concerned Teachers