Teachers apprehensive of 12-year plan, say shortages in buildings, teachers and books more pressing

Reacting to the proposal to add two years to the current 10-year basic education program, the Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC), a group of public school teachers, appealed to the Department of Education (DepEd) to avoid turning the implementation of the new program into a game of "trial and error," reports GMANews.tv. TDC Chairman Benjo Basas told radio dwIZ, according to GMANews.tv, "Ang amin lang, huwag sana ito magkaroon tayo ng ugali na trial and error. Hindi simple ang tina-trial dito. Kung magkaroon ng error ’di simple ang maaring maging masamang epekto sa buong bansa (Our only concern is, education officials should not turn this into a game of trial and error. This is no simple trial. And if the program turns out to be riddled with errors, it will have a big effect nationwide)."

Basas said the DepEd should focus instead on the shortage of teachers, buildings and textbooks. "Doon sa existing 10 years, kulang na (Even in the existing 10-year setup, we do not have enough teachers)." According to Basas, 120,000 teachers are needed this year but the DepEd was only able to hire 10,000 teachers.

TDC said they are willing to hold a dialogue with the DepEd and Pres. Noynoy Aquino, according to GMANews.tv. Inquirer.net reports that Aquino supports the 12-year program proposal, according to his spokesperson Edwin Lacierda. The spokesperson said, "That’s part of the platform of the President...Essentially, (the two additional years of school are) free because it is public education...If there would be spending, it would be the government that would spend."

At least four senators have backed the proposal as well, according to Inquirer.net. Sen. Edgardo Angara, chair of the Senate committee on education, said the 12-year program should only be implemented after the shortage of school facilities are addressed. Sen. Joker Arroyo said the additional two years should mean college courses would be shortened to two or three years. For Sen. Francis Escudero, the proposal is a "good plan" but only if corporations would hire high school graduates. Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said the proposed new program is "necessary in order to improve the quality of our educational system so that we can become competitive in the world market."


Saksi report: DepEd to focus on skills training in extra 2 years for basic education

For more on this story, log on to GMANews.tv and Inquirer.net.

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