June 18, 2012
Pauline Gidget Estella
Campus journalists slam K+12, Aquino’s education policies
To denounce the implementation of K+12 and a new set of tuition hikes for the Academic Year 2012-2013, campus journalists and other youth groups staged a protest action on June 18 as the “opening salvo” for the schoolyear.
The protesters gathered in front of University of Santo Tomas and marched to Mendiola to condemn the current administration for implementing the K+12 program even without basis and allowing 267 schools to increase tuition for this year.
“If the Aquino administration is really intent on resolving the education crisis, then it should first address the problem of classroom and textbook shortage, decrepit facilities and provide sufficient budget for education,” said Pauline Gidget Estella, national president of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, an alliance of student publications in the country.
The K+12 curriculum adds two more years of schooling and puts emphasis on technical-vocational subjects in “senior high school.” After high school, the students can readily work in companies here and abroad. Hence, K+12 will help create “globally competitive” youth, claimed the government.
“For the administration, molding students into ‘globally competitive’ youth means creating a curriculum geared to produce cheap labor for foreign corporations and private individuals. The K+12 implementation shows that the government regards tertiary education as optional and non-essential,” explained Estella.
“Based on the objective condition of the country where the majority’s economy could not afford the cost of living, an additional year equates to an additional burden,” said Estella. “It has been noted that out of 100 Grade 1 pupils, only 66 finished Grade 6. Only 58 of the 66 enroll in first year high school and only 43 finish the secondary education. Of the 43, only 23 make it in college, and only 14 students graduate in tertiary.”
“We firmly denounce the K+12 education curriculum. What this country needs is a nationalist, scientific and mass-oriented education –not this half-baked solution and additional burden for the Filipino families,” Estella said.
“In less than a month, Aquino will mark his second year in power. However, there is no significant improvement not only in the education sector, but also in delivering justice to human rights victims, providing stable jobs for Filipinos and reducing landlessness and poverty. In fact, Aquino praised Aung San Suu Kyi, a political prisoner, but tolerates the militarization in Quezon province and the political incarceration of more than 300 individuals,” she added, calling for youth to register their dismay in the next State of the Nation Address on July 25.