PASIG CITY, November 12, 2018 – The Department of Education (DepEd) is confident that the Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of Republic Act (RA) No. 10533, otherwise known as the “Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013,” shall pave the way not only to the achievement of basic education objectives, but also of social development goals.
DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones expressed her high hopes for the future of the country’s biggest education reform to date, as well as for the future of the country: “The Supreme Court (SC) ruling empowers us to better deliver quality, accessible, relevant, and liberating basic education to the Filipino learners whom we are sworn to serve.”
“We shall continue amplifying our efforts to produce 21st century graduates equipped with the core values and lifelong competencies they need to contribute to societal development and nation-building – the very goal of the K to 12 program,” she added.
Signed by Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, the decision dated October 9, 2018 ruled that the K to 12 law was “duly enacted,” as “it adequately provides the legislative policy that it seeks to implement.” It likewise declared that its related issuances including RA No. 10157 or the Kindergarten Education Act, and DepEd Order (DO) No. 31, s. 2012 entitled, “Policy Guidelines on the Implementation of Grades 1 to 10 of the K to 12 Basic Education Curriculum,” are all constitutional.
The thrust for K to 12 and ALS
The Education chief further acknowledged the preliminary work carried out by her predecessor, Bro. Armin Luistro, who was at the helm of the Department when the K to 12 was enacted into law in 2013.
“His administration’s determination and unwavering commitment built a strong foundation for the full implementation of this reform, especially the two additional years of Senior High School (SHS) which provide graduates with four exits and life options,” Briones added, referring to employment, entrepreneurship, higher education, and middle-level skills development.
With its full implementation of the K to 12 Program, the Duterte administration completes education reforms as it committed to and continues to expand and intensify the Alternative Learning System (ALS). Considered as a priority education program of the administration, ALS is a step in the direction of the Philippines’ commitment to the Philippine Education for All Plan of Action for out-of-school youth and adults.
The 94-page SC decision also stated that “more than a year prior to the adoption of DO No. 31, and contrary to petitioners’ assertions, DepEd conducted regional consultations and focus group discussions, participated by students, parents, teachers and administrators, government representatives, and representatives from private schools and private sector to elicit opinions, thoughts and suggestions about the K to 12 basic education.”
Milestones and challenges
With the graduation of the first 1.2 million SHS learners in 2018, the Department affirms that the reform is on the right track.
“As with any journey, there will always be pitfalls and gaps that need to be filled, especially given the continuously shifting socio-political and economic conditions of the country,” Briones cited. “But the challenges do not discredit our milestones,” she added, citing DepEd’s successful efforts to fine-tune the program, and continuous identification of ways forward together with its many stakeholders.
“While we acknowledge the reactions and advice of various groups and individuals, we continuously call on all members of society to support our goal of being at par with the rest of the world through the K to 12 Program.”
“Even more important, our educational system must continuously respond to the increasing development requirements of our country,” Briones concluded.