THE seemingly chronic problems of the Philippine education system have worsened under the first two years of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, with the newly-implemented K+12 program serving as the tip of the iceberg.
Despite administration boasts of increases in the basic education budget, data from the Department of Education itself reveals a different picture.
For this year, the public basic education system has a shortage of 132,483 teachers and 97,685 classrooms. Meanwhile, the DepEd is boasting of having built 22,000 classrooms in the past two years.
Noynoy’s claims of prioritizing education can only be credible if certain vital aspects are omitted.
Private universities and colleges have been given a virtual free hand in hiking their tuition and other fees under a policy of deregulation by the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) while successive budget cuts have led to similar hikes in their state counterparts.
This year, 267 private schools have raised their tuition fees by an average of 10 percent, while the University of the Philippines raised their tuition by around P7,500-P9,000 through an indirect scheme.
Aside from aggravating pre-existing equipment and teacher shortages in public elementary and high schools, the K+12 program is also meant to discourage high school graduates from entering college, thus further justifying the Aquino administration’s lack of regulation and funding in the tertiary education sector.
Teachers and students have pointed this out and we’ll say it again: how can you say that you’ll solve the teacher and classroom shortage with two additional years when you haven’t even solved the original shortage in the first place.
But more importantly, the program seeks to direct students into becoming cheap, semi-skilled workers by giving them technical-vocation education in the additional two years of high school, as opposed to the current practice of having them take up such courses after high school.
Vencer Crisostomo, Chairperson, Anakbayan