No one left behind?

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014


HOW many college teachers stand to lose their jobs once students start attending the senior high school levels in 2016-2017 as part of the longer basic education program?

No one, for as long as teachers adapt to the changes that are part of the K to 12 curriculum, said the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) 7.

Josefino Ronquillo, Ched 7 supervising education program supervisor, told Sun.Star Cebu that the region’s college teachers should “shape up or ship out.”

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The first batch to attend senior high school or Grades 11 and 12 will do so in 2016-2017 and 2017-2018, which means that colleges and universities can expect very few enrollees in those years.

To prepare, teachers “should upgrade their qualifications or they may be forced to take early retirement from teaching,” Ronquillo said.

An estimated 10,000 teachers currently teach in 158 colleges and universities in Central Visayas alone.

CHED and some higher education institutions (HEIs) in the region had raised the looming threat to some teachers’ jobs during a meeting with Education Secretary Armin Luistro on the K to 12 curriculum two years ago.

During that meeting, Luistro granted the CHED 7’s proposal to move the transition period from 2015 to 2016 to give HEIs more time to adapt to the changes.

Ronquillo said that this year, HEIs are already offering options to college teachers to upgrade their qualifications so they won’t be left behind.

HEIs, especially those with teacher training institutions, have offered free education courses to faculty members to prepare them for the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET). This will allow them to qualify to teach in public schools that will need their services once K to 12 students enter the new Grades 11 and 12.

Ronquillo added that CHED has also advised all HEIs to conduct an inventory of all their teachers to determine who are willing to improve their qualifications and those eligible for early retirement.

“Even our expert teachers, those in the masteral and doctorate levels, need to go through teacher (training) courses so they will qualify,” Ronquillo said, referring to the senior high school openings that will be created.

Other options

But Ronquillo clarified that this is a voluntary option.

College teachers may also be given the option to conduct research or administrative work for the two years that no first or second year students are available, Ronquillo added.

Aside from that, HEIs can also avail themselves of private-public partnerships with the Department of Education (DepEd) for the use of their facilities and faculty members for the public school system.

Ronquillo revealed that CHED is also giving financial assistance to HEIs that want to upgrade their accreditation.

They can also offer assistance to HEIs that want to upgrade their research capabilities and offer international scholarships to qualified faculty members.

DepEd 7 Director Carmelita Dulangon said that the department is closely coordinating with CHED and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) on the implementation of the new basic education curriculum.

Dulangon said that part of the new curriculum is that they would hire teachers from HEIs and technical and vocational institutions (TVIs) as instructors for the general courses offered in Grades 11 and 12.

Plus 2 years

The K to 12 Program, which was first implemented back in 2011, covers universal kindergarten and 12 years of basic education, instead of only 10 years.

The new curriculum comprises six years of primary education, four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school.

The longer basic education curriculum is supposed to provide sufficient time for mastery of concepts and skills, develop lifelong learners and prepare graduates for tertiary education, middle-level skills development, employment and entrepreneurship.

There are four phases in the implementation.

The first phase involved “laying the foundations” of K to 12 by implementing the universal kindergarten, which started during the school year 2011 to 2012.

In the second phase, the DepEd was supposed to start unclogging the new basic education curriculum. This involves the implementation of Grades 1 to 4 and 7 to 10 and modeling the senior high school program, which are Grades 11 and 12.

In the third phase, Grades 11 and 12 are then implemented and signals the complete migration of all students to the new system.

Get LET

In the fourth and final phase, incoming freshmen from school year 2012 to 2013 have completed the course and will be the first beneficiaries of the K to 12 basic education system.

Based on the new curriculum, graduates will acquire Certificates of Competency and National Certifications, in accordance with TESDA training regulations.

Delfin T. Cabañero, chair of the BSED Program in the College of Teacher Education of the University of Cebu, said there is no need for teachers to worry.

“Actually, we already encouraged our teachers and we already informed them two or three years ago to enroll for the 18-unit professional subjects and to take the LET (Licensure Examination for Teachers) and be an NC (National Certificate) holder. We already have teachers who graduated and are now LET passers. They will be pushed over to senior high,” he said.

Gumercindo Garciano, a professor in the Department of Social Sciences at the University of San Jose-Recoletos, expressed some apprehensions.

“Oo, hagbay ra nga nahadlok (Yes, I’ve had some apprehensions about the program),” he said.

He said there are advantages and disadvantages to the K to 12 system. “If it improves the quality of education, it’s good. It’s a good system because in a way the graduates of senior high can start to earn their own income.”

Teachers wait

But some current college teachers who stand to lose their jobs will be too old to apply for other jobs and yet too young to retire, he said.

“We will know the effects once it’s fully implemented. This will be seen 5 to 10 years from now. On paper, it’s impressive,” he said.

A lecturer in the Cebu Normal University, Jamie Regis, said he sees the K-12 as a challenge for teachers and not as a reason for fear.

If teachers really want to teach in senior high, he added, all they need to do is comply with the requirements.

Dr. Virgilio Y. Abellana, dean of the College of Engineering in the University of San Jose Recoletos, said there will be continuity for some teachers.

“As much as possible, what we agreed is that we will ensure the continuity of our faculty, if possible. We would continue their present status. But if there are redundancies, I guess it would be done in a just and fair way. I would be protecting my colleagues,” he added. (With Franz Correa & Rosedelyn Catalan, USJ-R Mass Com Interns)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 17, 2014.

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