By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) assured that the implementation of the Senior High School (SHS) program will continue despite gaps that needed to be addressed in the implementation of the K to 12 program.
Earlier, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman J. Prospero De Vera III divulged that more and more State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) have been seriously considering to slowly reduce the offering of SHS.
DepEd Undersecretary for Finance Service and Education Programs Delivery Unit Annalyn Sevilla told the Manila Bulletin that DepEd was already informed by CHED of this development. “We are aware of this because the K to 12 transition is over and they [SUCs] are welcoming freshmen students again,” she said.
De Vera cited insufficient funds for faculty compensation, out-of-sync academic calendar with basic education, and preparation to accommodate freshmen students as foremost reasons why SUCs are “slowly reducing” the offering of the SHS Program or Grades 11 and 12.
Despite this, Sevilla assured the continuity of the SHS especially that the budget for the Voucher Program (SHS VP) has been “restored” by the Senate. While DepEd has yet to receive an official document about the P6.5 billion additional funds for the agency, she noted “we really appreciate the recognition of the Senate in the importance of education.”
Of the P6.5 billion, Sevilla said that P4.5 billion will be used for the restoration of the budget for the Senior High School (SHS) Voucher Program at P4.5 billion and another P1.5 billion for the “Last Mile Schools” Program.
“The SHS will be assured of the continuity of the program,” Sevilla said. “Of course, it is really part of our commitment to education and as we said earlier, whatever happens to the funding, we will find a way to continue delivering education services to our youth who need subsidy,” she added.
Earlier, De Vera said that majority of the public higher education institutions (HEIs) have been struggling when it comes to compensating their faculty members who teach at the SHS level.
SUCs are seriously considering to drop the offering of SHS is the “shift in the academic calendar” which is from June-March to August-May. “This creates problems in paying the honorarium of their faculty teaching senior high classes since they now have to teach during their vacation months (June-July) and have to be paid additional honorarium,” he added.
The decision of some SUCs to slowly reduce their senior high sections, De Vera said, is also in preparation for high school graduates who will enroll in the universities and colleges following the K to 12 transition. “They now need the classrooms and faculty for the regular students coming from high school,” he ended.