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Teachers from private schools, universities ask Marcos to review ‘K to 12’ program

The Council of Teachers and Staff of Colleges and Universities of the Philippines said it is “ready to engage” with the Marcos administration

An organization of teachers and workers of private schools and universities in the Philippines is seeking a review of the country’s “K to 12” basic education program under the administration of president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

In a statement released on Friday, June 3, the Council of Teachers and Staff of Colleges and Universities of the Philippines said it is “ready to engage” with the Marcos administration.

“We believe it is … our responsibility to support and participate in government initiatives that ensure quality and equal access to education which are essential to our country’s development,” read the group’s “message to the president-elect.”

They also sought a review and the amendment of the law that provides assistance to students and teachers of private schools, employment insurance for private school employees, and scholarships and acquisition of graduate degrees for private school personnel, among others.

“May your incoming leadership inspire Filipinos of various political persuasions to heed the call for unity in addressing the challenges of skyrocketing fuel prices, climate change, rising debt, massive unemployment, and a colonialist educational system,” read the group’s statement.

Marcos earlier announced that he has appointed vice president-elect Sara Duterte as new head of the Department of Education.

On Thursday, June 2, Duterte clarified that she has not released any statement about amending the K to 12 program and the reintroduction of a compulsory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.

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“Vice president-elect Sara Duterte has never released any statements to this effect,” said her spokesperson, Liloan Mayor Christina Frasco.

In a post circulating on social media, Duterte was quoted as saying that she will move to add two more years in the current kindergarten to Grade 12 basic education program, or K to 12.

The “K to 12 program” was launched in 2012 during the administration of the late president Benigno Aquino III, supposedly to catch up with global standards in secondary education and to provide students with the necessary skills to be competitive in the job market.

Ten years hence, the program is faced with criticisms, especially on the financial burden it brings to poor families.

Senator-elect Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the Education committee in the Senate, earlier committed to review the “congested” curriculum.

A 2021 World Bank report noted that the Philippines is under “a crisis in education” even before the pandemic with 80 percent of Filipino children not knowing “what they should know.”

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