Press Release
February 6, 2016


Leading vice-presidential aspirant Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero is calling on concerned agencies to conduct an accurate and thorough assessment of the government's readiness to implement the senior high school (SHS) curriculum under the K to 12 education reform program beginning June.

Escudero said the assessment--to be done by the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)--should determine if the infrastructures and resources are sufficient to meet the full implementation of the SHS program.

"Nais ko lang malaman kung handa na ba talaga tayo sa Hunyo o hindi para sa K to 12. Kung hindi pa, dapat bukas ang gobyerno na ipagpaliban iyan. Kung handa na, walang rason para hindi ituloy ang K to 12," Escudero said.

He added: "Alam naman natin na may mga pagkukulang, alam nating hindi pa perpekto yan, alam nating kailangan at marami pa tayong dapat punuan. Mas mabuti nang makita natin ang mga posibleng maging problema habang maaga pa."

The veteran lawmaker made the call after the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) reported a huge backlog in the construction of new classrooms in 2014 and 2015. The DPWH is in charge of building the classrooms for the DepEd.

According to the DPWH, a total of 60,893 classrooms were supposed to be constructed in 2014 and 2015. However, as of December 2015, only 14,935 were completed while 33,309 are currently under construction, 447 are under procurement and 12,202 are for finalization by DepEd division offices.

Thirty-six percent and 69 percent of the targets set by the DPWH for 2014 and 2015, respectively, were supposed to create additional classrooms for SHS students.

There are 5,902 public schools operated and funded by the DepEd that will begin offering Grade 11 this year and Grade 12 in 2017, data from the department as of November 15 showed. These schools will be using the new classrooms and facilities constructed under the agency's budget for 2014 and 2015 or other fund sources for the SHS program.

The DPWH nevertheless said in its report that all the classroom targets will be completed by June 2016.

"At the rate that they are going, they should be constructing at least 222 classrooms from January until June to meet their targets. If we are going to look at their report, they were only able to construct less than 2,000 classrooms in 2015. How are they going to build more than 33,000 more in just six months to fill in the gap?" Escudero asked.

The frontrunner in the vice-presidential race reiterated that the implementing agencies should already know by March if they will be able to meet all the requirements for the smooth implementation of the SHS program.

"Dapat lamang na sigurado tayo kung ilang classrooms ba ang naitayo, kumpleto ba ang mga libro at upuan na kailangan ng mga incoming senior high school students? Hindi maaaring simulan ito ng meron pa palang kulang, samantalang na-allocate na ang pondo para diyan," Escudero said.

Also included in DepEd's 2015 resource plans for the K to 12 program are 39,066 additional teacher items, 69.5 million additional learning materials and 1,547,531 additional new seats.

"Pagtulung-tulungan nating punuan ang pagkukulang, pagtulong-tulungan nating iwasto kung anuman ang pagkakamali at nang sa gayon mas mabigyan ng malaking bentahe ika nga ang ating mga kabataan at estudyante," Escudero said.

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