Calls to discontinue the implementation of the Senior High School (SHS) resurfaced as its graduates struggled with employment opportunities the program offered when it was institutionalized.
Senior High School graduates (DepEd file photo)
While the Senior High School (SHS) under K to 12 program needed “fixing,” an advocacy group maintained that its implementation remains crucial, especially in aiding national growth and development.
“The SHS curriculum, if done right, there is an opportunity for young people to learn in the workplace because it has an immersion component,” said Philippine for Business Education (PBEd) Executive Director Justine Raagas in an interview.
Since its implementation in 2016, SHS has been met with mixed reactions especially coming from parents who were worried about the additional expenses due to the additional two years in basic education.
Raagas pointed out that one of the biggest challenges and the battle cry of parents why they were calling to discontinue Grades 11 and 12 is because many of them were having difficulties making both ends meet.
While the two years of education is free for SHS students who come from public schools, Raagas recognized the additional expenses incurred such as allowances and even the “opportunity that was lost” because some students could already be working.
Despite this, Raagas stressed the importance of getting additional two years of education because it will give the youth more knowledge and competencies.
“If done right and if they are taught well, they’ll end up getting better jobs than if they were not to take the two years,” Raagas said.
“It is a bit of a sacrifice but the yields, if we our education system right, will really be greater,” she added.
Private sector and education
As the additional years of schooling are considered a “necessary” sacrifice, PBEd underscored the importance of a multi-sectoral and localized approach.
One of the things that PBEd has been pushing for, Raagas said, is to make sure that the private sector is involved in education.
“Private sector is involved in looking at the curriculum, particularly SHS because it is supposed to provide an entry to employment,” she explained. “There has to be a connect what is being taught and what’s needed in the workplace,” she added.
Raagas noted that the private sector needs to look at the curriculum and help think about what elective subjects should be there.
“Private sector should be more involved in training the youth through work-based training,” she added.
While some companies do not see the value in investing because it requires resources, Raagas noted that “investing early on in education really results to better outcomes and that also means they are able to hire better.”
“If you have a system that graduates people with better skills, they get to hire a competent workforce,” she explained, noting that it is a matter of “realigning” the budget.
Raagas also underscored the importance of a sectoral approach. “If they come together and they address the curriculum as a sector, fix it, help train teachers, there will be a concerted effort and this would use up lesser resources but will have a wider reach,” she said in a mix of English and Filipino. — Merlina Hernando-Malipot
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