Progressive youth organizations have called for the junking of the K-12 program in a protest in front of the Department of Education (DepEd) main office in Pasig City on February 6, saying that the senior high school program is a grand modus meant to burden the Filipino youth with exorbitant fees for the profit of capitalist-educators.

“The K-12 program has only worsened the plight of the Filipino youth. Two years into its implementation, it turns out to be nothing but just another deceptive scheme to wring profit from students under the commercialized and privatized system of education in the country,” said Einstein Recedes, Anakbayan Secretary General.

Privatization of basic education

Recedes underscored that the program has ensured the profit of schools through the voucher system, with schools such as the STI Education System and AMA Education System getting a guaranteed collection of P726 million and P377 million, respectively, from the government during the initial implementation of the K-12 program for academic year 2016-17.

On top of this, students are still made to pay exorbitant and dubious fees and shoulder the cost of modules, uniforms, and other required school materials and projects. At the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), for example, graduating Grade 12 students are required to pay P2,000 as graduation fee, while they were also required to purchase uniforms worth P600-800 per set in line with the mandatory uniform policy.

“The government is lining the pockets of capitalist-educators while burdening students and their parents with the high cost of attending senior high school. This is clear privatization of basic education which ultimately discourages the youth from continuing their education,” Recedes said.

He added that the recent statement from the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries (PCCI) claiming that the first batch of K-12 students due to graduate this year is not “employable” adds insult to the injury.

Cheap laborers for export

However, Recedes emphasized that the K-12 program is ultimately designed to produce cheap and enclave- and export-ready laborers in line with the government’s neoliberal policy of labor export.

“If not unemployed, K-12 graduates are destined to be contractual employees with low wages and minimal to none occupational and safety guarantees or benefits, or be overseas Filipino workers vulnerable to foreign exploitation and abuse. Clearly, the future is bleak for the Filipino youth,” he noted.

“As an all-out imperialist lapdog, Duterte has willingly continued the implementation of the oppressive K-12 program spearheaded by the previous administration. He has jeopardized the welfare of the Filipino youth and exposed them to wholesale capitalist exploitation,” Recedes said.

As such, he called on the Filipino youth to strongly call for the abolishment of the K-12 program and muster for a nationalist, scientific, and mass-oriented education system that caters to the needs of our country.

“We will not let Duterte ruin the youth’s future. More than junking of K-12 program, we must stand up and fight for our right to education free from the whims of capitalist-educators and corrupt bureaucrats like Duterte. On February 23, we shall fill the streets to hold the US-Duterte regime accountable for his atrocities against the Filipino youth and people,” Recedes ended. #


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