TAGUM CITY – As Philippine education prepares to apply the senior high school in basic education – the Grades 11 and 12 – by school year 2016-2017, the association of private schools expressed concern over the fate of about 30,000 college teachers when private schools are expected to have no enrollees for two school years in the freshmen level.
The Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (Cocopea) also warned that member schools stand to lose P150 billion in the succeeding five years, due to displaced workers and a vacuum in enrolment in the first two years of the application of the additional two years of the K-12 basic education.
The Cocopea aid that “there will be no first year enrolees for school years 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 because of the mandatory implementation of the senior high school program.”
In a text message to DavaoToday on Wednesday, Cocopea legal counsel, Atty. Joseph Noel Estrada, said there would be 30,000 college teachers and staff that would be affected in the vacuum and added that “30 percent of the affected college professors are from Cocopea member schools.”
College professor Alvin Macalintag, 42, described the government’s implementation of the K-12 program as “raw” and said that “to retrench a faculty is something that school officials must analyze and review carefully to avoid negative labor implications.”
“On its third year of implementation [K-12], perennial problems exist such as shortages of classrooms and textbooks, lack of facilities and qualified teachers to teach in SHS,” he said.
Macalintag said that even the curriculum for Grades 3 and 9 are still being developed. “All is raw both in substance and form. The government is pushing for something that they aren’t prepared for. The implication could be equated as a failure of the program.”
Estrada also disclosed a report that private schools stand to lose up P150 billion in a period of five years as the effect of the K-12 program. “There will be a total of eight school years commencing 2016-2017 until 2020-2021 that will be lost in the private education sector.”
“While labor has to be protected, management has legal rights too. Primary to these rights is the right of survival.Kto12 should not operate to pit the rights of labor and management against each other. Their interests are not in conflict,” Estrada said.
Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio, said he wanted government to give proper compensation to all college faculty and staff that would be displaced.
“It is grossly unjust if these affected college faculty and staff will suffer because of the government’s failure to foresee the labor implications of the K-12 program. The government must be held accountable for this fiasco. The government must provide compensation to all those affected,” Tinio said in a television interview.
On Tuesday, the Commission on Higher Education approved P29-billion to the so-called “stabilization fund”, as a compensation fund to all college faculty and staff that will be laid off by 2016.
The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (Ceap), the Cocopea and other private schools organizations have welcomed the said stabilization fund, saying “it will tide over affected college faculty and staff for five years during the transition period and avoid displacements, if possible.”
“The financial impact is certain and inevitable and private schools should not be left by the govt alone in dealing with labor problems on K to 12. Congress must pass stabilization fund law,” Estrada said.
Meanwhile, CBCP president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas has urged private Catholic schools not to retrench college faculty and staff, citing the “law of charity.”
“Charity is a law for Catholic schools that takes precedence over all human law, for its origin is the very reason that our Catholic schools exist – the Lord Jesus. Turning away many of the faithful co-workers we have had who have been loyal to our schools and to the local Church for all these years is a most unwelcome prospect, and we dissuade our Catholic school administrators from finding recourse in these provisions of law all too easily,” Villegas said in a statement Thursday.
Villegas added that “our Catholic school teachers and instructors should not be left to their own devices. Our priests who serve on positions of school directorship, must, in all charity and solicitude, aid them so that they may continue as our partners in the apostolate of Catholic education.”
In his CBCP statement, Villegas exhorted that despite the change of curriculum, Catholic schools should not abandon their call for a sense of mission which are “formation and evangelization.”
“Since most of our diocesan colleges also offer secondary school education, this should not be a problem. And in the design of the curriculum for the additional years of high school, we direct that Catholic schools keep ever in mind the raison d’etre of our Catholic schools: evangelization and formation,” Villegas said. (Mart D. Sambalud/davaotoday.com)