Priest’s K-12 fear: More school drop-outs

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MANILA, May 26, 2015 — A Catholic priest worries that there will be an increase in the number of the out-of-school youth as a result of the K to 12 program.

Fr. James Secillano of the Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro Parish (Photo: Yol Villasenor)

Fr. James Secillano of the Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro Parish in Manila’s Sampaloc district said because of the new system, many students from poor families might drop out of school.

“The possibility of having more out of school youth with the implementation of K to12 program is high. And this is more likely to happen among the poor,” Secillano said.

The program adding two more years to basic education, according to him, would mean “additional burden” to poor families “who are already struggling to make both ends meet”.

“Even with our ‘regular’ program of education, the out of school youth are plenty already and that is due mainly to lack of resources,” he said.

Compounding the problem, said Secillano, who is also the executive secretary of the CBCP’s Committee on Public Affairs, is that employment is “not guaranteed” even with K to12 program.

“The government must indeed seriously rethink this policy. Otherwise, instead of helping students and families it may even close the door of opportunities for the poor,” he opined.

The Catholic Educators Association of the Philippines (CEAP) earlier reiterated its support for K to12, saying the country cannot run from the challenges posed by the program.

CEAP president Bro. Jun Erguiza said the reform of the education system will also make Filipino children more competitive.

He also said stopping the educational reform program which has been sounded off more than four decades ago will negatively affect the quality education in the Philippines.

Critics said the program will displace thousands of tertiary schools’ faculty and staff, and may force schools to close due to revenue losses.

The CBCP has not made a categorical statement yet on the matter.

In its June 2014 statement, however, the bishops instead called on Catholic schools to “cope with the challenges that it has engendered” but in a “charitable” way.

The bishops called on school administrators not to retrench school personnel due to the implementation of a law.

The CBCP instead encouraged all Catholic schools “to provide opportunities for the re-tooling and re-training” of college instructors and professors “to be able to handle subjects in the academic track of senior high school.” (CBCPNews)

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