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Gatchalian vows review of K-12 Law due to ‘congested curriculum, inadequate training’

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian vowed that he would push for an oversight review of the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 (Republic Act No. 10533), or the K to 12 Law, should he win a second term in the Senate.

In his Saturday statement, Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, claimed that the implementation of the K to 12 program was hounded by challenges, including a congested curriculum and inadequate teacher preparation and training.

"Education experts have pointed out that a congested curriculum... requires too many competencies, compromises adequate teaching time and deep understanding of lessons by learners," the senator explained.

Citing the results of the 2018 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), Gatchalian said that the Philippines scored the lowest in Reading among 79 countries.

The Philippines also had the second-lowest scores in Science and Mathematics.

"The readiness of teachers to implement policies such as the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) is another challenge," he added.

According to a 2019 study by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), among the challenges the MTB-MLE faced were inadequate school and teacher preparation, and the lack of textbooks and learning materials.

Gatchalian also said that there was a need to revisit the work readiness of senior high school (SHS) graduates, especially because the K to 12 Law sought to boost employment and entrepreneurship among them.

A 2020 PIDS discussion paper showed that, "based on eight quarters of the Labor Force Survey from July 2018 to April 2020, only a little over 20% of SHS graduates entered the labor force and more than 70% chose to pursue higher education," according to the senator.

He also pointed to a 2018 PIDS study that showed that students were not confident that they could get a job after graduating from SHS.

"Even those who passed national certification assessments for the technical-vocational-livelihood strand believe that firms still prefer college graduates," said Gatchalian.

“Patuloy nating susuriin ang mga naging kakulangan sa K to 12 program upang matiyak na naaabot natin ang mga layunin nitong makapaghatid ng dekalidad na edukasyon," emphasized the Senator.

(We will continue to study the inadequacies of the K to 12 program to ensure we are achieving the program's goal of providing quality education.)

— DVM, GMA News