Faculty layoffs and K To 12

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By Neil Honeyman

An Independent View

Monday, June 16, 2014


COLLEGE professors met last Thursday to discuss the problem that full K to 12 implementation could lead to at least 85,000 layoffs in the tertiary sector. Consultations are alleged to have taken place. I wonder. Consultations which involve the Department of Education (DepEd) are usually a one-way street. I am not aware that DepEd has been influenced by expressions of cogent concern from any sector whatsoever.

Students apply to tertiary education courses and are accepted if the tertiary institute believes that the student is capable of taking the course chosen. We do not see that K to 12 implementation should make any difference. Flexibility is required.

Students should have choices. In June 2016 students who have completed their four year high school program should be able to apply for tertiary education. Or they may stay within the secondary sector if they can find a course which is compatible with their ambitions. It is not yet clear what is going to be offered in fifth year high school and who is going to offer the various courses required.

In the past, DepEd has airily claimed that the private sector can handle the academic “track” (a word culled from DepEd’s jargon encrusted vocabulary). DepEd has also made it clear that it is not prepared to pay the fees charged by the private schools to its students. This means that academically-oriented public school students are in a quandary. They cannot stay in the public sector because the academic courses they require will not be mounted in their school. They cannot transfer to the private sector because DepEd will not pay the P40,000 + per annum fees charged by the private schools, and only a very few public school students are in sufficiently fortunate family circumstances to afford the fees without incurring horrendous financial sacrifices. DepEd has spoken of its scheme where students wanting to go to private education will receive a grant of P6,500. The private sector will not be interested.

So we have the untenable situation where DepEd seeks to make fifth year high school “compulsory” (as stated in the recent education act) but is not able to provide the academic content which is necessary for academically-minded students to benefit.

The transfer of graduates of a four-year high school program to the tertiary level in 2016 should continue to be implemented. The tenure of our college professors should be assured.

DepEd is not capable of mounting the very courses it says will be compulsory in 2016.

College professors fearful for their jobs have a key role to play in ensuring that our students can gain necessary education to facilitate the career opportunities they are seeking.

There needs to be less “consultations” and more sensible decisions which will lead to our college professors retaining their valuable role.

We cannot wait until 2016. College professors who see that their job may disappear will gain employment elsewhere before 2016 and the quality of our tertiary sector education will be reduced.

DepEd has a lot to answer for. It cannot provide decent basic education and yet it seeks to interfere with that part of the education system which is operating relatively well.

Our legislators need to look at the 2013 Unenhanced Basic Education Act (Republic Act 10533) and pass changes which will defer or delete those aspects which are demonstrably harmful.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 16, 2014.

Opinion

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