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Manila Science faculty, pupils file 'most urgent' plea vs. K-to-12

Teachers and students of the Manila Science High School (MSHS) have once again asked the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of the controversial "Kindergarten to Grade 12" or K to 12 program.

In their fourth and "most extremely urgent motion" filed on Monday, the petitioners asked the SC to resolve their plea for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the K to 12 program, which they filed on June 23 last year.

The petitioners said they are "completely baffled by the continued inaction" of the high tribunal despite their motion for a TRO being "most ripe for resolution and long overdue."

Grade 10 students to suffer

They said their Grade 10 students will suffer grave injustice and irreparable injury of not being admitted to college next school year if the high court will not act on their petition.

Aside from their latest motion, the teachers, students and their parents have filed three other urgent motions for resolution of the TRO plea since filing their petition in June 2015: first on July 28, 2015, the second on September 17, 2015, the third on December 2, 2015.

"They implore and beseech the Honorable Supreme Court to forthwith and without further delay, immediately issue the Temporary Restraining Order they have long been praying for, so that the implementation of the K to 12 law be stopped, thus allowing the current Grade Ten students to take College Entrance Tests and eventually enter College next school year," the group said in a statement.

"They cannot understand why it takes so long [some as long as two (2) months] for very simple Resolutions to reach them," they added as they asked the SC to include their latest motion in the en banc session's agenda on Tuesday.

MSHS doesn't need K to 12

The petitioners insisted that their school no longer needs the K-12 Program because their current curriculum are already "heavier and more advanced" compared to those of other schools.

MSHS students likewise were "gifted and talented learners" who can "master" their secondary studies in four years, the petitioners added..

The petitioners also wanted their school's special science curriculum, in which some subjects had been discarded due to the K to 12 Program, be restored.

The petitioners said forcing the students to take two additional years in senior high school would "frustrate the very purpose why the School was established in the very first place, putting to great waste their special talents and capabilities."

They said implementing the K to 12 program in MSHS would become a "huge step backwards insofar as the development of science and technology mandated by the Philippine Constitution."

The petitioners said the controversial law should not be applied retroactively to Grade 10 students of MSHS. "[The] new methodology - the spiral progression approach - where knowledge and skills are mastered after each level... most evidently, cannot start at the end with senior high school but must start at kindergarden."

No consultation

In their plea in June last year, the petitioners said Congress violated the students’ rights to due process, to equal protection, and to select a course of study when they crafted RA 10533, “by unfairly and unreasonably requiring them to attend two additional years of senior high school as a pre-condition to entry to college."

They also said Education Secretary Armin Luistro and the other respondents committed grave abuse of discretion when they implemented the K to 12 program without prior consultation with parents and teachers.

They said the assailed curriculum under the K to 12 program, implemented at the MSHS in 2012, should not have been put in force yet that year because the law on the matter was still being deliberated by Congress that time.

The petitioners added that RA 10533 should be applied prospectively and should only cover students who started kindergarten in 2013.

The petitioners asked the high tribunal to stop the implementation of the current curriculum under the K to 12 program, and restore the special science curriculum by coming up with “remedial measures” to ensure the math and science subjects discarded under K-12 will be taught to the students.

Likewise, they insisted before the SC that the Grade 10 students affected by the K to 12 program should still be allowed to apply and take college entrance exams.

Among the petitioners were officers of the MSHS Faculty and Employees Club. The petition will also be filed on behalf of all other students, parents, and teachers of the school who share their cause. —KBK, GMA News