Incoming DepEd Secretary plans to continue K to 12 program

  • Incoming DepEd Sec. Leonor Briones said she is bound by the law to continue the K to 12 program
  • This year, the first batch of Grade 11 students will enter senior high school
  • The Supreme Court has yet to decide on a petition asking to suspend the implementation of the program

Incoming Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones said she plans to continue the implementation of the K to 12 program for basic education; noting that there might be more problems if it would be suddenly suspended.

Briones, a former National Treasurer and professor emerita at the University of the Philippines (UP) who was appointed by President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to lead the DepEd, said that despite the “problems” the program faces, adding two more years in the basic education curriculum is important to make the country’s graduates more competitive.

“Right now, from where I am, from my own involvement in the 4-year process of preparation, the question that we have to raise is, which is more harmful: to stop it at this time, to suspend it at this time, or to continue and to recognize the deficiencies? From what we see…definitely there are problems. As to suspending it, there might be more problems also right now. But, of course, I’m open to change,” Briones told Rappler.

This coming school year, which will begin on June 13, the first batch of Grade 11 students will enter the new senior high school program.

“We will see the actual, what really will happen, on June 13. The next two weeks, that is when the problems will be coming out,” she added.

Briones also pointed out the two most pressing problems in the implementation of the senior high school program, which includes the need for more funding, and the possible displacement of workers in colleges and universities. In addition, the incoming DepEd Secretary also warned of the possibility of students dropping out of school due to the costs to be incurred.

“With or without K to 12, you will have fallout, you will have a level of casualty, because of poverty, because of access to education,” she said.

Meanwhile, a petition to suspend the implementation of the K to 12 program is still pending at the Supreme Court (SC). Despite this, Briones said she is bound by the law to implement it.

“For as long as the Supreme Court has not acted on the program, we are bound to comply with the law,” she said.

This coming school year, around 1.5 million students nationwide are expected to enter senior high school.

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