We, the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition and Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan, assert that haphazardly discontinuing the Senior High School (SHS) program in state universities and colleges (SUCs) and local universities and colleges (LUCs), without guaranteeing improved access and quality of our education system, will lead to economic displacement for our teachers and threaten our learners’ right to accessible and quality education.
While we understand that SUCs and LUCs are mandated to offer the SHS program only during the K-12 transition period, we fear that mechanically following suit without serious consideration of the drawbacks on education stakeholders will lead to another learning crisis leaving 17,700 students affected by dislocation and hundreds of thousands more by imminent congestion.
We thus urge national agencies on education to extend the K-12 transition period to take into account the time and resources needed to ensure:
Senior high schools, both public and private, have the capacity to absorb all learners affected by the discontinuation of the SHS program in SUCs and LUCs. Schools shall be provided with sufficient instructors, classrooms, and other relevant facilities such as laboratories, libraries among others to avoid congestion. Further, families are relieved of the additional costs of transferring schools such as fare, uniforms, and processing of documents.
That the quality of education learners received from SUCs and LUCs does not decline. In line with this, the Department of Education (DepEd) must guarantee the performance of schools and rid itself of diploma mills and fly-by-night schools that have sprouted since the inception of the K-12 program.
No economic dislocation for all SHS instructors and teachers. Public high schools must be able to absorb SHS teachers employed in SUCs and LUCs without loss of compensation and benefits, otherwise teachers risk economic displacement. In line with the need for DepEd to rid itself of diploma mills, the Department must also rid itself of private educational institutions that fail to meet labor standards.
Any less than this would mean failure to protect and fulfill the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels and making such education accessible to all.