January 06,2015 12:56 AM
By: Dr. Rex Casiple
IN THIS year 2015, quality education still is the priority of the PNOY administration. The present administration believes that quality education for children will transform the country into a nation of highly-skilled workers. And this will help our country achieve economic growth, thus reducing the unemployment rate.
According to a report of the International Labor Organization (ILO) published in 2014, the Philippines has the highest unemployment rate among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The study showed that the Philippines registered an unemployment rate of 7.3 percent as of 2013 lagging behind Indonesia (6%), Brunei (3.7%), Burma (3.5%), Malaysia (3.2%) and Singapore (3.1%).
Other ASEAN member countries have lower unemployment rate.
At least 120,000 high school students enrolled in public and private secondary schools in Western Visayas marched for graduation last year. Studies showed that about 54% of these high school graduates may continue their schooling in college. Or 46% will become idled or out of school youth primarily due to financial problem.
The Department of Education (DepEd) emphasized that the Kindergarten to Grade 12 (K-12) program of the Department will make high school graduates ready for employment.
Hence, under the K-12 curriculum, children who finish high school will not be anymore idled as they are prepared for employment.
Furthermore, the program will provide them the best possible education that meets international standards. This will reduce unemployment rate in the country.
To support the program, around P364.9 billion of the proposed P2.606 trillion 2015 budget was allocated for the DepEd. The funds are allocated to the hiring of around 39,000 more teachers; the construction of 31,728 more classrooms; the acquisition of quality textbooks, laboratory and classroom equipment; and internet connectivity for schools.
The K-12 program of DepEd is the change in the current educational system to improve the basic education in the country. The K-12 envisions that our high school graduates should possess sufficient mastery of basic competencies, adequately prepared for the world of work or entrepreneurship or higher education, legally employable and globally competitive.
K-12 enables high school graduates, at the age of 18 and above at the time of graduation, to possess competencies and skills relevant to the job market. K-12 graduates will have higher learning potential since they will be more competent and skilled compared to graduates of the traditional 10-year system.
K-12 graduates will have national certification from TESDA which will enable them to have higher employment opportunities if they cannot go to college.
K-12 helps free the parents of the burden of spending for college just to make their children employable. This is because Grades 11 and 12, or senior high school, will be offered for free in public schools. This is contrary to the belief that K-12 is a financial burden on the part of the parents.
As the ILO report showed, almost 202 million people were unemployed in 2013 around the world, or an increase of almost 5 million. Hence, one of the objectives of the government now is to catch-up with the economic development of our ASEAN neighbors.
We have to compete with other ASEAN countries in terms of locally based and overseas jobs. We need to develop a large pool of quality workers.
To move Filipinos out of poverty, we have to ensure the employability of students and graduates not only in the higher education, but in the basic education.