MANILA As the school year formally opened on Monday, two partylist lawmakers urged the government to address the increasing dropout rate of students amid the implementation of the K to 12 program.
ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio, citing the latest Philippine Statistics Authority survey on poverty indicators, said 3.8 million or one in ten children, aged 6 to 24, are not in school.
"Most of them, or almost 3.3 Million are aged 16 to 24 years old who are supposed to be in senior high school or college level already. More than half or about 53% of them belong to the poorest families," Tinio said.
Tinio added that almost 8 percent of Grade 6 students do not graduate and reach Grade 7, while 18 percent of junior high school students do not reach senior high school.
Another ACT Teachers lawmaker, France Castro, said the perennial problems hounding the public education system and the haphazard implementation of the K to 12 program led to a huge dropout rate.
"With these alarming statistics and the perennial problems of shortages of teachers and classrooms, it is appalling that the government is so keen on adding two more years to basic education, without careful planning and preparation of the curricula, learning materials and personnel," Castro said.
Castro also highlighted the trend of underfunding in public schools as maintenance and operating expenses remain insufficient.
"The shortage of classrooms and schools, especially high schools, forces children coming out of four to five elementary schools to be crammed into a single high school. This means classrooms bursting to capacity, deteriorating learning and teaching conditions, eventually, dropping out of the student," she said.
The partylist lawmakers, along with other solons from the House Makabayan bloc, have filed a resolution calling for a congressional inquiry into the status of implementation of the K to 12 program.
Citing data from the Department of Education, the resolution said 4.8 million were out of school in school year 2015-2016, which is an 11 percent increase in 5 years.
Of this number, out-of-school children in elementary more than tripled from around 431,000 in 2011 to 1.4 million and out-of-school youth in high school remained high with 3.4 million. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency