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IN MY EYES: After K to 12 graduation, what?

The DepEd has implemented the K to 12 curriculum.

Last March and April witnessed the first batch of K to 12 graduates.

One of the purposes of K to 12 is to produce graduates who are ready to join the job mainstream if they no longer opt to go to college. In high school, they are taught the basics of ICT, cookery, fishery and other vocational skills which they can use in finding a job.

In the first quarter of 2018, graduating high school students were sent on internship or OJT (On-Job-Training). Some were assigned in the different government agencies; some in hotels and some in ICT companies.

“It’s very different out there than what we were taught in school,” says an intern of her OJT in a government agency.

“We felt like students anew at the OJT office. We were not taught to do this and that,” says another.

The 1st batch of students under the K to 12 program graduated last March or April 2018 with the promise that they are already employable should they decide to look for a job instead of pursuing higher education.

The big question is: Are companies ready to accept K to 12 graduates as new workers?

“It’s important that in the long run, people do realize and accept the reality that the graduates of K to 12 are ready for some of the kinds of work that are available in our economy. There’s a conscious effort, I guess, to sell the idea that you really don’t need college degrees for many jobs. So I guess that’s the way industry is trying to participate, because it’s very important that in the long run, people do realize and accept the reality that the graduates of K to 12 are in fact ready for some of the kinds of work that are available in our economy,” says Philippine Business for Education chair Ramon del Rosario Jr.

“Unfortunately, while a large number of entry-level jobs are capable of being filled with K to 12 graduates, many companies are still hesitant,” PBEd president Chito Salazar explained.

Why?

According to Del Rosario, who is also the president and chief executive officer of PHINMA Corporation, since the country has many college graduates who are not “fully employed,” it doesn’t cost companies anything to require their employees to be college degree holders.

Salazar agreed.

“One of our partner companies said, kasi sa dami ng college graduates na nandiyan na walang trabaho, e di mas gusto mo na lang na college graduate kaysa hindi,” he said.

How many graduates do we expect this March or April, fellas?

An estimated 1.4 million students enrolled in senior high school’s Grade 12 for school year 2017 to 2018. Give or take, more or less than 1.2 million will graduate. Will all they go to college?

“Majority will go to college,” says a school analyst.

He says that with the government’s program allocating funds for free tuition fees, most likely Filipino parents will send their kids to college.

In that case, the colleges and universities will increase in population, hence the need for more school buildings, teachers and employees.

How about those who won’t grab the opportunity?

Education Undersecretary Jesus Mateo said that the Department of Education’s focus for this last leg of the K to 12 implementation is to make sure that students graduate and that graduates who want to be employed will find jobs.

Kumbaga sana, by next year, ‘yung mga nagsabi na ‘Kaya ko kinuha ‘to kasi gusto kong magtrabaho,’ makakuha sila (We hope that by next year, those who said ‘I took this track because I want to work’ will be able to find work.”

But what kind of training did they receive in school?

One parent observer said he won’t allow his child to look for a job yet.

“It is still more convenient for my child to find a degree because way out there, there is stiff competition in applying for a job,” he said.

He also said that most schools who offered Grade 12 are not yet fully equipped.

“There are no welding machines, no laboratory rooms, no adequate computers, no internet connections, no gas stoves and kitchen labs for cookery students… practically nothing! Many teachers there are also greenhorns who do not possess the experience of readying these students for the more serious life ahead. So what kind of readiness is that?” he said with a scorn.

Many parents share this sentiment.

“We should understand that we are still in a transition period and in due time, we will be able to adjust everything. If we won’t do it now, we will be forever left behind by other countries,” a DepEd official said.

He said that this is one of the reasons why the DepEd is pushing hard its working force so that they will come out with quality graduates.

“I just hope that the business community understands this predicament and help us implement the real purpose of K to 12. Just like in other countries, they are more keen in hiring people who have the skill and not necessarily the college diploma,” he added.

Hope these statements will bear positive effects, fellas.

Let’s wait and see what happens next. #