K12’s toll on teachers

By JOHN REY DAVE AQUINO
www.nordis.net

BAGUIO CITY — “Bakit ka magke-K12 kung nagwo-work naman yung dati nating system?” said Molly (not her real name), a professor in the University of the Philippines Baguio.

Even if she has been teaching in the state university since she graduated with a bachelor’s degree, Molly will not be teaching again come August. Because of a technicality, her re-appointment is compromised and she will be laid-off for the next academic year.

The implementation of the K12 program does not only take its toll on the students but also on teachers, including those teaching in college. With a low number of enrollment in the first two years in college this coming academic year, many college instructors, especially those teaching general education courses, will not be able to teach. Even before the implementation of the program, teachers’ groups had already expressed their fear of mass layoffs of faculty members of higher education institutions (HEIs).

In UPB, Molly said the administration is doing what it can to address the K-12. She said faculty members had been advised to take their graduate degrees. “They are telling yung mga wala pang master’s, ‘This is time for you to go out and earn your degrees,’ kasi mala-lighten daw ang load ng mga faculty, so we can afford to send these young people to earn their degrees,” [They are telling those who still don’t have their master’s, ‘this is the time for you to go out and earn your degrees,’ they said that this will lighten the load of the faculty, so we can afford to send these young people to earn their degrees,] she said.

According to her, a bachelor’s degree holder must earn a master’s degree in five years. Should s/he is not able to earn it, s/he will not be re-appointed. “Kaya nga sabi ko, hindi ba pwedeng maging flexible for unusual cases?… Dito pahirapan ang pagkuha ng faculty,” [And so I said, can it be flexible for unusual cases? It is in these cases that having faculty members gets hard,] she lamented.

There are also other moves the UPB administration is going to focus on research and faculty development during the two-year gap with no freshmen. She mentioned that she had wondered if the administration could only be urging its faculty members to take their graduate degrees as an excuse to lay them off.

When asked about her plans, Molly said she didn’t have any. “But they are convincing me to make an appeal,” she said. “Ano irarason ko doon sa appeal… na mawawalan ako ng trabaho?” [What will my reason be? That I’ll lose my job?]

In an earlier report, 415 contractual workers will inevitably lose their jobs along with 184 regular workers in Saint Louis University, according to Ronald Taggaoa. He said that aside from the two-year gap, college teachers will also lose their job because of the new general education program of Commision on Higher Education which compliments the K12 program and thus removed many subjects.

Aside from its effects on students, the K12 program also affects other sectors in the education sector, especially college professors and instructors. The mass lay off of teachers only proves that the flagship program of the Aquino III administration is problematic. It is therefore a challenge to now President Rodrigo Duterte to abolish the said program and revert to the old system which, Molly had said, works.# nordis.net

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