December 19, 2012
Cayetano introduces amendments to the K-12 program
Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter S. Cayetano introduced three amendments to Senate Bill 3286 or the K-12 program to ensure that students and parents are assured of the quality of education that the proposed program promises.
"We are for the program, but we also believe that still not enough resources have been put into this to ensure its success which is why I proposed three major amendments," he told the media after the period of amendments for the bill seeking to make the K-12 program a law in yesterday's Senate session.
Cayetano expressed concerns regarding the funding requirement of the program and the added financial burden to poor families which could result in higher drop-out rates owing to the additional two years in senior high school.
"I am not against K-12 per se. I see the wisdom behind it. I just want to make sure that we are ready to implement it in a way that will not further add burden to the poor," he said.
He introduced three new sections in the bill.
Section 15 seeks to create a joint oversight committee to oversee, monitor and evaluate the implementation of the program.
Section 16, he said directs the Department of Education (DepEd) to conduct a mandatory review and submit a midterm report to Congress on the status and progress of the implementation of the K to 12 Program vis-a-vis the reported shortages on teachers, classrooms, textbooks, chairs, toilets, etc.
"Shortages in classrooms, computers, books, laboratories, etc., in schools are said to be finally resolved and should be sustained, otherwise the proposed system will only prove to be an additional financial burden on parents and will result in an increase in the number of drop-outs of students," he said.
He pointed out that in 2010, the country had a shortage of 148,827 teachers, 66,800 classrooms, 135,847 toilets, 2.5 million seats, and 60 million books. At present, only 29,261 of teaching positions have been filled, only 23,646 classrooms have been built, only 29,243 toilets have been provided, only 1.3 million seats have been produced, and only 52.7 million books have been delivered.
Cayetano said a mandatory review and the option for Congress to recalibrate the program will give not only the DepEd but also lawmakers the flexibility to make sure that everyone is ready - CHED, TESDA , teachers, schools, etc. - to implement such a monumental program.
Section 16 also mandates DepEd to include in this midterm report the essential key metrics of the access to and quality of basic education: participation rate; retention rate; National Achievement Test; completion rate; teacher welfare training and profile; adequacy of funding requirement; and other learning facilities including, but not limited to, computer and science laboratories and libraries and library hubs; sports, music and arts.
The minority leader also asked for a commitment from the DepEd to deliver the health benefits to teachers as provided in the Magna Carta for Teachers.
Lastly, the minority leader inserted Section 17 asking DepEd to endeavor to increase the per capita spending on education towards the immediate attainment of international benchmarks.
Cayetano stressed the importance of producing employable graduates through quality education rather than simply by the increased number of years spent in school. "Quality education requires qualified and motivated teachers, modern training and research facilities, and strongly motivated students," he said.
Cayetano reiterated his support for the Aquino government's thrust in education and acknowledged that the 20% increase in the budget for DepEd was unprecedented.
"It is an indication that it has the capability to meet the terms of the amendments I introduced for the proposed law in two or three years," he said.
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