"On this 5th year of K to 12 implementation, we are running a marathon and I can already see the finish line. We are on our last mile," said Education Secretary Br. Armin Luistro FSC after presenting a midterm report to the 16th Congress on the K to 12 Basic Education Program.
Since 2010 to 2014, DepEd has filled 128,055 new teacher items and constructed a total of 88,805 classrooms. DepEd expects 1.2M to 1.6M students from public high schools to enter Grade 11 in 2016 and 2017.
Of the 7,914 public high schools, DepEd identified 5,020 as potential Senior High Schools that are expected to accommodate 1.6M to 2.2M students. The remaining 800k to 1M students are expected to go to non-DepEd providers such as private high schools, private HEIs, SUCs and LUCs offering Senior High School.
Amid criticisms, the education chief encouraged openness to dialogue and extended gratitude to partners in the legislative who were instrumental in creating the Enhanced Basic Education Act and ensuring that no learners are left behind.
“The curriculum is done and it is the first time in history that it can be accessed in its entirety in the DepEd website,” Luistro said. He added that while it is complete, the Department welcomes feedback from the public. He maintains that education is everyone’s responsibility.
Commenting on the strengths of the K to 12 Program, Luistro said, “We looked at the exits (of the K to 12 curriculum). Each Filipino should have skills in Information Technology, Learning and Innovation, Communication, and Life Skills. Mas importante po ang life skills, hindi lang ang nakukuha sa libro. Every Filipino will have the skills to be able to go to school, start their own businesses or be employed.”
Amid claims that a number of teachers stand to be unemployed because of the K to 12 Program, Luistro gave his assurance saying, "The situation is manageable. We will be hiring an estimated 30,000 to 41,000 high school teachers for 2016 and 2017 and we will give priority to the displaced teaching and non-teaching staff."
In his closing remarks, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. vowed to block attempts by Congress to suspend the K to 12 Program’s implementation saying, “We in Congress have given them the law and it cannot be suspended. Based on the discussion today, I think they [DepEd] are on the right track.”
As of March 5, there are 1,116 private schools that applied for SHS permits for SY 2016. Luistro said, “By the end of March, we will be able to issue actual probationary permits (for these applicants).”