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Program adding two years to high school will not lead to shorter college degree courses
The online news portal of TV5

A program that will add two years to the four-year Philippine high school curriculum will not shorten college degree courses, a government body overseeing colleges and universities said. 

This was clarified by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) after Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Armin Luistro was quoted in a report as saying that the K+12 program, colleges and universities may soon drop some subjects that are essentially “remedial high school subjects.”

However, CHED Chairperson Patricia Licuanan said that the CHED’s Technical Panel on General Education has initially proposed “a shorter General Education or GE curriculum as some GE courses will not be part of Grades 11 and 12.”

She explained further that the different CHED technical panels are now discussing the impact of K+12, which adds two years to high school, as well as a shortened GE curriculum.

“It is possible that some disciplines may decide that with one year removed from GE, their programs can be shorter. The Engineering Technical Panel for instance has decided that Engineering can now be four years instead of five. Some of the Science Technical Committees however, have categorically said their programs cannot be shortened,” the official said.

She added that “changes in higher education will be the product of long and intense discussions and that comments made or ideas floated during discussions must not be interpreted as definite plans.”

Luistro earlier explained that shortening college years will be done through “limiting” the subjects offered in the higher education curriculum by including them in Grades 11 and 12.

“In principle, kailangang mabawasan talaga ang taon sa kolehiyo. Ang ilang subjects sa kolehiyo sa kasalukuyan halimbawa yung Physical Education na kinukuha ng mga first year college students ay din a masyadong pang-kolehiyo at pwede nang ilipat sa sekundarya,” the DepEd chief was quoted as saying. 

Trillanes bucks K+12 program  

In a separate report, Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV opposed the implementation of the K+12, saying it will on aggravate the quality of education.

“The introduction of K+12 programs would only worsen the school dropout rate and make the cost of education in the country prohibitive,” Trillanes said in an issued statement Staruday.

He also said that the K+12, the government’s flagship education program, was not a practical solution to arrest the declining quality of education.

“With the severe shortage in our classrooms and teaching personnel, why is DepEd instituting a program that will further aggravate our shortage in vital resources for education?” Trillanes asked.

According to Trillanes, K+12 plan will not only entail additional costs to government but also to parents of students, who are already burdened by the escalating prices of food, utilities, gasoline, and LPG, among others.

“For every 100 who enter Grade 1, only 43 are finish high school and only 14 would actually finish college,” Trillanes said. “Considering the current economic situation, I do not think you have to be a genius to see that the dropout rate would be further exacerbated if we impose a mandatory lengthening of our school curriculum by two years.”

Trillanes also debunked DepEd’s claim that the program would improve the quality of basic education and address youth unemployment, citing a recent study by former Education Deputy Minister Abraham Felipe and Dr. Carolina Porio. The study debunked the “correlation between the number of years of basic education and the overall quality of education.”

Trillanes mentioned the case of students from Singapore who performed best in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) from among 50 countries which have the same length of high school cycle as the Philippines.

On the other hand, Trillanes said, countries that have longer high school cycles like South Africa, Chile, Palestine, Morocco and Saudi Arabia belong to the group that have low-performing high school students. (With Karl John C. Reyes,