Catholic schools discuss possible enrollment drop in 2017

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MANILA, Feb. 16, 2013—After implementing the Kindergarten to 12 (K to12) basic education program this school year, administrators of Catholic schools nationwide are discussing how to temper the effect of the paradigm shift in their enrollment statistics.

Over 600 school heads, administrators and faculty of member-schools of Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) from Luzon have gathered for a conference on K to 12 Transition last January 21 and 22.

The Visayas leg of the conference was held last February 11 to 12 at the Sarabia Manor Hotel in Iloilo and the Mindanaoan leg will be held on February 21 to 22 at the Ateneo de Davao University (Jacinto Campus).

According to CEAP, the series of conferences was organized to address critical issues of the coming K to 12 transition: the labor and legal implications, and the senior high school (SHS) curriculum.

During the Luzon conference, CEAP legal counsel Atty. Ada Abad discussed the potential scenarios facing CEAP schools during the transition and possible courses of action to deal with the legal and practical questions presented by manpower displacements.

CEAP president and Adamson University president Fr. Gregorio Bañaga, C.M. said private school administrators are strategizing together on how to address the financial challenges that their school will face given the expected decrease of enrollees starting 2017. He said college enrollment in private Catholic schools is expected to decline by as much as 50 percent.

Bañaga said the conferences aimed at getting feedback and suggestions from the school administrators on how to maintain and compensate their teaching staff despite the expected drop in freshman admissions as a result of the implementation of K to 12 basic education program.

Under the government-enforced K to 12 system, students can already forego going to college after undergoing two more years in senior high school. Technical and vocational skills will already be taught to students to help them land a job or engage in entrepreneurial endeavors after graduating high school.

Since pursuing a college degree will remain an option for selected students who still want specialized education and training, freshmen enrollment is expected to generally decrease—with the drop more felt by private schools than state universities because of the difference in tuition costs.

“After the conferences, we expect to come up with a list of our suggestions to remedy the foreseen threat and present it to the Department of Education as proposal,” Bañaga said.

With the decrease in enrollment, Bañaga said private colleges and universities stand to lose revenue and be forced to layoff professors just to maintain their operations.

But all of CEAP’s 1,345 member-schools nationwide are still supporting the shift from the previous 10-year basic education program to the new 12-year curriculum. (KB/YouthPinoy)



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