Press Release
November 23, 2012

Cayetano expressed reservations over immediate institutionalization of K12 program, seeks viable alternatives to attain same goals for quality education

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano (ASC): Next week we'll discuss the budget for Education and I will be writing them a letter because after a thorough study I do recognize the great efforts of the President and of the Secretary of DepEd to improve the quality of the education.

In fact, they've done so much that the past administration was not able to do. Having said that, I see how the additional two years will be such a heavy burden. So the theme of my interpellation is that I've asked them to justify what the objectives in the K12 that they can do without adding two more years.

For example, in their own presentation, the most important age for a child is 0-6 years old. Kung pwede kang magkaroon ng 2 taon sa kindergarten kaysa sa high school ay mas mainam. Isa pang halimbawa, karamihan may grade 7 na. Sa halip na mag 6-4-2 ka ay mag grade 7 ka nalang at panatilihin yung 4 na taon o tanggalin ang grade 7 at gawing 3-2.

Napakinggan ko ang gusto nilang gawin at ang masasabi ko ay maganda ito. Ang gusto nilang gawin ay paggraduate mo ay NC1 or 2 ka na sa TESDA at pwede ka nang magtrabaho. But I checked with TESDA and found out that it only takes 6 months to gain NC1. Meaning if you add practical arts and HERs, you can still take high school in 4 years but once you graduate, you'll still be in an NC1 or 2.

Whether poorer or middle class, the additional two years will be such a heavy burden to bear. While I'm not closing the doors to its approval, I'm asking the DepEd to keep an open mind and see if they can reconfigure that their objectives will still be met while not fixating on the 6-4-2 model. Graduating at the age of 19 instead of 17 not only incurs additional cost but also will lead to higher drop out rates.

Sa ngayon, 36% na ang nagddrop out after elementary at 44% lang ang gumagraduate ng high school. Nangangamba ako na kahit pagandahin mo pa yung high school kung gagawin mong hanggang 5th or 6th year baka mga 35% nalang ang grumaduate ng high school.

Kailangan nating i-balanse ang "quality of education" sa "education for all". Marami akong natuklasan. Halimbawa, mahigit 10,000 sa ating mga guro sa kindergarten ang P3,000 lang ang sweldo o allowance. Kung sila mismo ang nagsasabi na napakaganda ng kindergarten at importante ito, imbes na buhusan ng pera ang 5th o 6th year bakit di nalang sa kindergarten?

Again, I'm fully supportive of the government. They gave 20% more budget to the DepEd which has never been done by any other administration. However, I have a disagreement with the approach. But I have an open mind that the objectives will be met without the additional two years burden.

Nananawagan ako doon sa mga organisasyon na magsalita kayo ng walang takot. Marami akong nakausap na ang sinasabi ay "Don't quote me." dahil nasa DepEd din sila o may private schools din sila pero epektado sila at iniisip nila na ito ay done deal na.

Ako ay naniniwala na pareho ang gusto naming end result ng secretary at ng presidente. But how do we get there? Walang mawawala na may maganda tayong debate. I'll use the budget hearings to look into the numbers.

In fact, if the DOST was here today I would have asked why Philippine Science High School is better than other schools. It's not because they have longer years but because of better facilities, better teachers and more funding.

Reporter: When they say don't quote me, does this mean that these people talk to have reservations about the K12's implementation?

ASC: I can't quote them but let me put it this way. Kapag ang tanong mo kasi ay gusto niyo bang pagandahin ang quality of education, halos 100% gusto. Kapag tinanong mo kung gusto ba nilang madagdagan ng 2 taon ang high school, 90-95% ayaw. Teachers, parents, DepEd, private schools at iba pa yun. Ni hindi pa nila alam lahat ng facts or debate kung bakit o kung paano.

For example, I don't know if you're aware but under the K12 grade 1 and 2 classes will just be half day. Meaning, it doesn't mean that just because two more years were added, the child will be spending longer hours in school.

Again, I'll give them a chance to answer that. It's a good program. For example, next year with the P25 billion, all classrooms will hopefully be constructed. Your problem will lie in the exclusion of the computer labs, science labs, auditoriums, multimedia rooms, toilets and others.

The question is: would we rather have just grade 1-6 and years 1-4 for high school with all facilities complete or two more years with inadequate facilities? I think these arguments have not yet been vented out. Because the 12 - 13 year cycle is the international standard. But it's not the only international standard.

International standard for example is 40 to 45 children in a classroom. In our country, we sometimes have up to 60 students in a room. International standards also cover the minimum pay of teachers. But we only pay kindergarten teachers P3,000.

It's easy to say that this is the international standard without looking at the other factors. But I understand why the DepEd is pushing for this. Aside from the international standard, so far whatever they initiate has been supported by the President. Kung baga gusto lang macontinue yung momentum.

Ang tingin nila dahil sa K12 bibilis momentum nila. Ang tingin ko with K12 yung nagawa nila for the past 3 years ay mapapawalang bisa. Kasi yung deficit na nahabol na nila, with K12, lalaki.

Kung baga sa negosyo na kumikita na, ngayon gustong papalakihin na. Ako, panatilihin muna nating ganito kaysa sa palakihin ito nang di pa tayo handa.

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