Education execs seek higher intervention for K-12 bill passage

09 October 2011

Education officials are now turning to higher power to press for the passage of the K-12 (Kindergarten to 12 years) program into the basic education cycle.

Gathered recently to celebrate World Teachers’ Day, Education Secretary Armin Luistro, Commission on Higher Education Chairperson Patricia Licuanan and Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Joel Villanueva vowed to work closely together to improve the country’s education system with the K-12 program.

In his speech during the event, Villanueva conceived of a scenario where he said he dreamt that he, Luistro and Licuanan went to a superstore and saw God.  He told the audience that God said they could ask for anything that their heart desires.

“Brother Armin went in first and asked Father God if he could buy something that would make Congress pass the K-12 program so we could produce quality graduates. Secretary Licuanan asked for something that would make tertiary education an avenue to produce quality leaders, quality entrepreneurs and workers of the nation.  I asked for something that would produce more TESDA Specialistas, more skilled workers, more TESDA Specialistas,” said Villanueva.

“The bottom line is that three of us told the Lord: ‘We want peace, we want prosperity, we want to buy something that will provide economic breakthroughs for the nation, good health and most of all happiness for all of us.”

At the end of the speech, Villanueva told the delighted crowd that God told them that He does not sell fruits, but gives seeds.

“And perhaps, that’s the story of how the three of us came distributing seeds for our teachers, for our trainers and professors all over the country.  We hope that we will not just plant these seeds on our teachers and trainers, but will continue to nurture and take good care of them so they will bear fruits,” he said.

The K-12 plan aims to add two years of senior high school to the current 10-year cycle to comply with international standards.

The bills filed pushing the K-12 program is still being deliberated by the members of the committee on basic education in the House of Representatives.

Villanueva explained that under the K-12 plan, technical vocational education will be one of the tracks to be included during the latter years of the secondary level, particularly the 11th and 12th years, allowing students to explore hands-on skills training and develop their potentials in various qualifications.

“It’s an idea whose time has not only come, but well past it’s due.  I hope it becomes a law soon,” the TESDA chief said.

During the event, the three education officials recognized the role of teachers as pillars of learning of the next generation.

“We give honors to our teachers. They are our heroes, let’s give due honor to them. In TESDA, we recognize the importance of our teachers, our trainers in delivering quality technical vocational education and training,” he said.

Villanueva said he wishes that more technical-vocational trainers would get into the profession, saying quality trainers produce the best graduates.

To date, there are 27,500 technical vocational education and training (TVET) trainers, who have been certified by the agency and are therefore qualified to train various qualifications in TESDA’s network of technical and vocational training institutions, partner schools and in its community-based trainings nationwide.

“Good trainers make quality graduates. They play a very vital role as they provide the  link between the real world and the educational system.   The best honor we can give our teachers and trainers  is to provide  decent working conditions for them  to accomplish their mission of preparing the younger generation to  become equipped, with the  necessary  skills  and  to become responsible citizens,” Villanueva said.

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