Sen. Win Gatchalian: Joint Congressional Review Of K-12 Program Eyed Next Year

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture on Thursday said he is mulling a joint congressional oversight review of the K to 12 program by January next year.

“The K-12 program is a massive historical educational reform we introduced to produce the quality of graduates that our country needs. While the program has gaps and challenges, we need to sustain it in a way that also addresses implementation issues to provide quality education and boost global competitiveness,” Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said.

“We need to come up with strategic solutions because industries will suffer and decline without a workforce equipped with the competencies required of the 21st century and Industry 4.0 (a new phase in the industrial revolution)”, Gatchalian added.

The senator also vowed that the budget proposal for the K-12 program would be thoroughly reviewed at the upper chamber, as one of its biggest hurdles is the inadequacy of equipment in schools.

In October, the House increased the proposed budget of the Department of Education (DepEd) for next year by PHP800 million — from PHP550.89 billion, as submitted in the National Expenditure Program of the Department of Budget and Management, to PHP551.69 billion

While PHP650 million will go to DepEd’s maintenance and other operating expenses to boost the K to 12 program, the remaining PHP150 million will be used for the building of model daycare centers nationwide under the Early Childhood Care and Development Council.

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said the increase was for the provision of equipment, training for teachers, and other necessities to help realize K to 12’s goal of high school graduates landing jobs without college degrees.

“As we work towards finalizing the 2020 budget, we will ensure that the program gets an allocation that responds to the needs of both students and teachers. We need to make parents and students feel that this program is helpful, not an added burden,” Gatchalian said.

Cayetano earlier said the House of Representatives was in consensus about K to 12 not “living up to its promise, which is, after you finish senior high school, you don’t have to go to college.”

The DepEd has welcomed moves for a congressional review of the effectiveness of the K to 12 program, noting that “a dedicated review session will provide an appropriate venue to comprehensively discuss concerns about the program and plot out corresponding solutions.”

“DepEd commits to coordinate and collaborate with the members of the Congress in strategizing the effective implementation of the program in adherence to Republic Act 10533 or the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 for the benefit of the learners,” the DepEd said.

The DepEd added it hopes the review would result in renewed commitment from lawmakers and other stakeholders for the program and its goal of “holistically-developed Filipino learners with 21st-century skills.”(PNA)
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