UNREADY | Ilonggos welcome K-to-12 opening with protest, cites lack of classroom, short-time classes, and high cost of education

ILOILO City – Parents, students and youth members of alliance Ilonggos Against K to 12 rush to different schools early Monday to witness the first day of opening of classes with the full implementation of the new education program.

Roxanne Arsaga, a parent of a highschool student, said that they are “worried that the quality education of our children will be sacrificed due to government’s forcible implementation of the K-12 program while schools still lack classrooms and other school facilities as well as teachers”.

Alliance member and women’s group Gabriela Iloilo City leads the data/clamor gathering, information drive and petition signing in La Paz National High School.

Initial findings of the alliance revealed that La Paz National High School, in which senior high is being implemented, lacks classrooms and uses four classrooms of La Paz II Elementary School and seven rooms of La Paz I Elementary School.

Under the K-12 program, children are obliged to take a year in kindergarten, six years for elementary, four years for junior high and two years for senior high, a total of 13 years.

“The Department of Education (DepEd) is not ready and is abandoning its obligation to resolve the problem while passing the burden to parents and students thru schemes of shifting classes both in elementary and high school,” added Arsaga, who also chairs the women’s group.

“There were no rooms provided for Grade 7 while Grades 1 and 2 are shifting for the same room in a day. Classes for high school are also in shifts from 7AM-1PM and from 1PM-7PM,” Arsaga added.

Low-income bracket earners also clamor the burden of the K-12 program.

“We, parents in minimum and below minimum income earning brackets, can even hardly send our children to high school in just four years. What more with the additional two years?” asked Vivian Asong, chairperson of urban poor group Kaisog.

Asong cited that though public schools are not asking for payment during enrollment, they fear of high cost of miscellaneous fees especially on projects and other school requirements.

Her group leads the silent-protest activity with placard and steamer hanging in Jalandoni Memorial High School were children of majority of their members are schooling. Groups of workers, drivers and parents in Mandurriao Elementary and high school are also doing the same activity.

“This (K-12) will surely create a huge number of drop-outs and jobless youth in our society due to high cost of education in private schools and unlikely situation in public schools,” she added.

The alliance also slam the program’s voucher system that only benefits private institutions.

In the University of San Agustin, a private Catholic university here in the city, the alliance said that Php35,000 is needed for Grade 11 students’ enrollment but only Php9,000 is being offered by the K-12’s voucher system.

On his part, Kabataan Partylist spokesperson JC Alejandro said that “instead of making solutions, the DepEd under Aquino’s administration is creating more problems as teachers and PTA officers recognize that we are not prepared with this K-to-12 program”.

“We are steadfast in our stand that K-to-12 is beneficial only for the foreign capitalist, private educational institutions and not for the Filipino people,” Alejandro added.

“Thus, this must be abolished and (DepEd must) confer graduation of Grade 10 completers,” Alejandro quipped.

The group, later in the morning, stormed the DepEd’s Regional Office and held a dialogue and picket protest./PT


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