By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday denied alleged plan to repeal the K to 12 Basic Education Program and stressed that the sentiments and questions on social media pertaining to the supposed plan to scrap program are “clearly based on misinformation and lack of critical discernment.”
Issuing a statement, DepEd said that the claims circulating online came after news of the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHEd) plan to “review and change” the system for its K to 12 Transition Program was “misconstrued” to mean the implementation of the entire K to 12 Program.
K to 12 to Stay
DepEd noted that the implementation of the K to 12 Program “has seen numerous gains” for the basic education system – which include the initial results of the Senior High School (SHS) Program “surpassing expectations” in enrollment and transition rates and in providing free or highly subsidized SHS education to more than 2.7 million learners in public and private schools two years after the SHS Program implementation.
DepEd also reminded the public it’s implementation of the K to 12 Program is “mandated by law” under Republic Act No. 10533, otherwise known as the “Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013.”
DepEd, as an executive arm of the government, “cannot arbitrarily discontinue the Program.” It added that as with any law, the implementation, amendment, expansion, or repeal of the K to 12 Program is “within the ambit” of the legislative branch of the government comprised of the Senate of the Philippines and the House of Representatives.
Related to this, DepEd maintains that its “stand that the K to 12 Program is a prompt necessity that pushing it back might prove detrimental to the accelerating and increasing demands on education.”
DepEd added that the while challenges “still abound,” the support of the national and local government, and of stakeholders in the private sector and the community, “has been overwhelming that it silences doubts and strengthens the resolve to move forward with change today.”
DepEd also called on the public to “make a habit” of consulting the official website and social media accounts of the Department “before spreading assertions and engaging discussions on its policies, programs, and projects that may influence the opinion, decision, or action of our primary stakeholders ─ our learners.”
Earlier, a Manila Bulletin exclusive reported that the CHED, through the orders of its Chairman J. Prospero de Vera III, will “review” its K to 12 Transition Program after finding “defects” in the system – particularly in the processes of grants and scholarship programs.
Then, Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago filed a House resolution urging the current administration to stop and review the K to 12 program. She claimed that CHED “admitted” defects in the program.
However, De Vera told the Manila Bulletin that the Kabataan Partylist “twisted” his earlier statement pertaining to the “defective system” of the CHED’s K to 12 Transition Program – particularly in the processes for scholarships and other grants – and not the K to 12 Program implemented by DepEd.
The K to 12 Program is an an education reform which adds three years to the 10-year basic education cycle. It covers universal kindergarten, grades 1-6 (elementary); Junior High School (JHS) or Grades 7-10 and Senior High School (SHS) or Grades 11-12. It also paved the way for the implementation of the K to 12 currículum which was designed to “provide a holistic education for all Filipino students.”
The K to 12 Transition Program, on the other hand, is a five-year effort aimed at the strategic development of HEIs and personnel during the transition period from 2016 to 2021. It includes a range of programs to support faculty and staff through scholarships for master’s and doctoral programs, non-degree programs, as well as institutional grants for HEIs.
“These two are not one and the same,” DepEd ended.