MANILA, July 15, 2015— The Catholic bishops has called on education authorities not to forget the poor as the country gears up for the full implementation of the K-12 program.
In a pastoral letter, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) again voiced its concern that many students will drop out of school as a consequence of the whole program.
However, they said, “we do not yet see this issue being addressed in the program.”
Issue of dropouts
“There should be means to help out these dropouts,” the letter, signed by re-elected CBCP president Archbishop Villegas, reads in part.
The bishops also called on Catholic schools to go beyond merely preparing for the program and turn their eyes and affection to the poor.
They said the fate of the indigenous people, the children in conflict with the law, the street children, and the persons with disabilities should particularly be of utmost concern.
“Catholic schools must always have a place for them, not merely as out-reach but as part of their education ministry, and members of their learning community,” Villegas said.
They also cautioned that the K-12 should not lead to the teachers and school personnel losing their jobs, saying “no one should be make to unjustly suffer” in the program.
No to contractualized teachers
The bishops said personnel affected by the transition should be consulted and their views and suggestions “be given serious consideration.”
“Teachers are not to be considered just as expenses but as partners in the noble mission of education. May this not lead to the contractualization of the teaching personnel,” Villegas said.
The bishops also called on for “solidarity and subsidiarity” in the implementation of the K-12 program in the service of the common good.
It is not the time for “unbridled competition” among schools of who can offer the best education, they stressed.
Instead, the bishops added: “It is the time to activate communion through solidarity and subsidiarity.”
“We call everyone to enter the table of fellowship and engage in ‘appreciative conversations’ regarding the education of our youth. Let us listen to one another bare their worries, concerns and misgivings. Let us all walk towards enlightenment and allow charity to permeate our dialogue,” they said. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)