Sunday, July 14, 2024

CHED Directs SUCs, LUCs To Handle K-12 Transition Program

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CHED Directs SUCs, LUCs To Handle K-12 Transition Program

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The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Wednesday called on board members of public universities and colleges to discuss issues concerning the transition of senior high school students currently enrolled in their institutions.

This was after the CHED confirmed the discontinuation of the senior high school program in state universities and colleges (SUCs), and local universities and colleges (LUCs) nationwide.

In a Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon interview, CHED chairperson J. Prospero de Vera III said the Commission is not mandated to decide on the admission policies of SUCs and LUCs.

“Under Republic Act 8292 – admission, retention, graduation of students is the exclusive jurisdiction of the board of regents of individual state universities and colleges. So, itong isyung ito ay isyu na dapat pag-usapan ng kanilang board (So, this issue is an issue which must be discussed by the board),” he said.

The CHED, through the commission en banc, can only take action when the SUCs and LUCs encounter problems and they decide to request help from the Commission, he added.

“But we cannot do that now because the board of regents of state universities have not discussed the matter, at least itong mga mayroong pang-senior high (those that still offer senior high [program]),” de Vera said.

“It has to be acted upon first by the board of regents, and if there is a concern, then that is the time that we will bring it to the attention of the Department of Education (DepEd),” he added.

He noted senior high school classes had already closed two to three years ago in state universities.

Meanwhile, SUCs and LUCs with current Grade 11 and 12 students were advised to allow the students to complete the program.

Admission of new or incoming Grade 11 students is the main concern regarding the transition, said de Vera.

When the K-12 Law was passed in 2016, the lack of qualified teachers and rooms for senior high students were the main problems in basic education while public universities had extra classrooms and teachers since there were no incoming freshman students.

The CHED and the DepEd had an agreement that public universities could offer senior high school programs during the transition period and the students paid through the voucher program.

Since the transition period is over, there is no longer a legal basis for the agreement between the CHED and the DepEd.

Only public universities offering teacher education degrees with a laboratory school can continue to offer the senior high school program.

“Ito’y ngayon lang namin talaga tinutukan dahil bagama’t natapos na ang K-12 transition program noong 2021, panahon ito ng Covid kaya hindi tinutukang maigi ito dahil nagta-transition tayo papunta sa new normal (We’re focusing on this just now even though the K-12 transition program already ended in 2021, it was the coronavirus disease 2019 season and we were still transitioning then to new normal),” de Vera said.  

Meanwhile, the DepEd is confident that all SHS learners who will leave SUCs and LUCs will be accommodated by basic education institutions.

This, after the Commission on Higher Education confirmed its decision to discontinue SHS programs among SUCs and LUCs.

DepEd spokesperson Undersecretary Michael Poa told reporters in a Viber message on Wednesday that based on their database, around 17,700 Grade 11 learners, who are non-voucher recipients, are enrolled in SUCs and LUCs across the country this school year.

“Nonetheless, based on the reports of our Regional Directors, our public schools will be able to accommodate those that may be displaced. May mga regions rin po na wala ng SHS learners sa mga (There are also regions which have no more SHS learners in) SUCs and LUCs so no one will be displaced in these regions,” Poa said.

He also assured that no SHS Voucher Program recipient will be affected by the order, considering that for the current school year 2023-2024, there are no more Grade 11 Voucher recipients in SUCs and LUCs.

“The voucher application system no longer accepted Grade 11 applicants in schools tagged as SUCs and LUCs. However, nagbigay pa rin po tayo ng vouchers sa Grade 12 learners in SUCs and LUCs para po makatapos sila (we still give vouchers for Grade 12 learners in SUCs and LUCs so they can finish),” he said.

Poa noted that those who will be displaced can either enroll in public schools or “if they would prefer to do so, they may also enroll in private schools and avail of the voucher program.” 

Senators agree with CHED ordering SUCs and LUCs to stop their senior high school programs.

In a Zoom interview on Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III said that given that a sufficient amount of time already passed for the transition to K-12 program, it is just right that SUCs and LUCs should cease accepting SHS students.

“Ang mandato kasi ng SUCs natin and the LUCs would be higher education na – post senior high. In the first place, kaya sila nagkaroon ng ganyang programa para walang maapektohan nung transition natin sa K-12 (The mandate of our SUCs and LUCs would be already higher education — post senior high. In the first place, they had the progam so no one will be affected by our transition to K-12),” Pimentel told reporters.

In an earlier statement, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva pointed out that the move to discontinue the offering SHS programs in SUCs and LUCs is in line with the mandate of our Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

“While they were allowed to provide SHS during the transition period, we agree that it is not the role of HEIs to offer basic education, except for those with laboratory schools,” Villanueva said in a statement.

However, both senators called out the DepEd to make sure that the order would not cause difficulties among SHS learners. (PNA) 

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