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ROUGH CUTS | Sara’s DepEd priorities hit nail on head

THE other day we read on a social media post incoming Vice President and Department of Education Secretary Sara Duterte-Carpio’s priorities when she assumes the helm of the Education Department.
According to the post the VP and DepEd incoming top honcho will immediately look into the possibility of making upward adjustment in the teachers’ salaries and benefits.

Then she was also quoted as saying that she already got the President-elect’s go-signal to review the government’s K to 12 basic education program.
We feel deeply elated because if our readers will remember, it was only a few columns back that we offered unsolicited suggestions on incoming VP and DepEd Secretary Sara’s top “to do” list if she wants her jobs in both offices in relation to her final political objective done the earliest.

In that column we recommended that she must immediately look into the salaries and wages of the teachers and non-teaching employees of the Department and if possible make it a living level. In the process those teachers using their supposed activism to air their demands for wage hike and improvement in the various aspects of the Department’s operation will no longer find enough reasons for their existence.

In the incoming DepEd secretary Sara’s prioritization she even brings it to another step higher. Her plan to review the K to 12 program implementation will certainly be addressing the complaints of many parents that the additional 2 school years that the students will have to bear before graduating high school is too much of a financial burden for them.

We too, are personally in favor of reassessing the K to 12 program, and if the review will surface that producing quality secondary graduates even without the additional two senior high school years, then it is time to scrap it. May be what the Department must do is to evaluate the present elementary and secondary curriculum and methods of instructions being made to follow by both the public and private schools.

This we believe is where improvements should be focused and not on adding more years in classes.
Why are not our present-day politicians, leaders in business and industry not products of the 4-year secondary curriculum? Do they feel they are still wanting in qualifications to do their job that they need to have the present day learners to endure two more years in high school?

As we said here earlier all the DepEd may have to do is to retrace the history of the country’s educational system to as far back as more than half a century ago. It was when we were in our elementary and high school years. Back then we were taught various vocational skills when we were in grades 5 and 6. We were into some kind of small-scale farming techniques, automotive and machining technology and even carpentry. We have a separate building devoted to purely vocational subjects that we willingly learned the trades. We even have to do actual emersion then.

We also seem to be converting our then plentiful schools of arts and trades into something else and in the process abandoning the more skills-producing courses such as mechanical technology, refrigeration and air-conditioning, electrical technology and even farming technology. Probably this is mainly due to the desire of our education leaders to capitulate to the demands of many learners to acquire skills that will lead them to jobs closer to or almost in the white collar jobs level like those in hotels and restaurants, in cruise ships and in tourist resorts.

All these changes in the so-called blue-collar work preferences among our people are the ones that actually lead the flight of Filipino workers to other countries instead of remaining in the Philippines. Thus, the Filipinos working abroad are now enjoying the reputation of “the most-sought-after” overseas workers.
Naturally, the ones left in the Philippines are the less-skilled or those whose skills accompanying their educational background do not match with existing job vacancies in the country.

Hence, we feel that incoming DepEd Secretary Sara could not be wrong in reviewing the current K to 12 program and where the result of the review merits its scrapping quash it. Instead enhance further the existing elementary and secondary curriculum, then she should not hesitate to recommend to Congress the abandonment of the program and for Congress to legislate new enhancements to the existing elementary and secondary methods of instructions including provision of school facilities and equipment to ensure the students get what is or are desired for their education and demanded of the work in the country..

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