Party-list group says K to 12 grads will likely work cheap for foreign firms

January 22, 2018 - 4:47 PM
Marikina City students join an earthquake drill in June 2017. Photo by Walter Bollozos, Philippine Star.

MANILA, Philippines — A party-list group representing teachers on Monday said it was no longer surprised by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI)’s recent pronouncement that the first batch of Grade 12 graduates might still not be “work-ready.”

ACT Teachers party-list representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro said the government’s K to 12 program “does not solve the rising number of unemployment in our country” but “will instead worsen the problem with having a pool of laborers with no jobs or opportunities available to hire them.”

“We have said it before and we will say it again, the K to 12 program will not solve the rising unemployment rate in our country. It only pushes the youth to become skilled laborers working cheap for foreign companies instead of educating them to become professionals that would help build national industries,” the two lawmakers said in a statement issued Monday.

The lawmakers argued that the government’s “cure-all” for the country’s unemployment problem via K to 12 would “not address job scarcity.”

“Today, even college graduates have a hard time looking for jobs with decent wages, how much more do we expect from Grade 12 graduates?” Castro said.

“Government has to put up a nationalist, scientific and mass-oriented curriculum and system of education, and at the same time, create more decent jobs with decent wages through national industrialization which would make available millions of jobs for Filipinos.”

ACT party-list said that what would probably happen is the country would have a “pool of skilled laborers with a government that does not provide enough opportunities for its people for decent jobs with decent salaries.”

And because the government will not be able to provide decent domestic jobs for K to 12 graduates, the latter would be “forced to risk their lives away from their families and serve in foreign countries as cheap laborers and are susceptible to discrimination” according to Tinio.

“Those who choose to stay in the country are also still vulnerable to contractualization, work for depressed wages, and unemployment,” he said.

Also, the party-list lawmakers scored the PCCI’s proposal to increase the pupils’ training hours to give them enough time to train and improve their skills. The current curriculum only gives the pupils 80 hours of training.

“This is a dangerous proposal. This will pave the way for companies using the labor of students for free or way below the minimum wage, which we observe as currently practiced in some establishments,” Castro stated. “We call on Congress to use its oversight function to investigate and conduct an inquiry on this matter,” said Tinio.

“We must continue to oppose and to call for the junking of the neoliberal K to 12 system of education as it does not serve the interest of the Filipino youth and the people for decent jobs with decent wages and national industrialization,” the lawmaker added.