Rep. Terry Ridon Urges Students to Campaign Against K-12 and Other School Fees
Kabataan partylist representative Terry Ridon addressed the current educational situation in the Philippines, with emphasis on the K-12 Program and increase in tuition and other fees, in a round table discussion held at the University of San Carlos – Talamban Campus on June 20.
Rep. Ridon said that K-12 must be abolished because the country is not yet ready for the implementation of the program. Since 2010, various activist groups have been campaigning and staging protests against K-12, stressing schools’ apparent lack of facilities and preparedness.
According to Ridon, some teachers underwent only six-day training sessions in preparation for K-12. “Six days is not enough to build competency to teach college courses,” he said. In addition to that, the congressman stated that teachers also lose their security of tenure with the implementation of K-12. He added that around 25,000 professors will be displaced and forced to teach basic education resulting in a lower salary as they transfer to other schools.
Considering the additional financial burden that public school students face as a consequence of K-12, DepEd has implemented the voucher system wherein the government will give qualified students subsidies as high as PHP22,000 to be able to enroll in private or non-DepEd schools. Rep. Ridon, however, argues that this subsidy will not be enough to accommodate all the students who need financial assistance.
In regards to the new curriculum, Ridon stated that Philippine K-12 is not the same K-12 that has been envisioned and implemented in other countries. “It is geared toward semi-skilled work and labor export,” he said. According to him, instead of advocating national industrialization, K-12 aims to produce workers who are employable abroad with skills that are not equivalent to what a college education can offer.
In line with the struggle of students against the increase in tuition and other fees, Ridon explained that other school fees existed to provide ways by which schools can earn more. “These are things that students should not pay for because they are not going to use it.”
Pamelle Gallardo, a student and representative from Student Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy, further elaborated in the rationale of the discussion that the other school or ghost fees of the university are of no use to students since they have not been utilizing the specified laboratory fees and additional room charges.
Moreover, she said that CHED’s memorandum on tuition and other fee increase was anti-student, referring to the fact that to raise the salary of teaching and non-teaching personnel, there should be an increase in tuition fees instead of using excess revenue or savings.
As a conclusion, Ridon stated that there must be government intervention irrespective of consultation and it should not only be in the form of subsidy, and that having a consultation does not mean that TOFI should proceed.