ONLY a third of Filipinos agree that the country needs the two additional years in high school under the K to 12 program, and a majority would prefer to defer it or scrap it altogether especially if it would mean displacing school personnel.
These are according to The Standard Poll conducted between May 8 and May 18 by this newspaper’s resident pollster Junie Laylo.
Northern and Central Luzon residents disagree the most strongly, with 73 percent of respondents disagreeing with the statement “We really need the additional two years in high school.”
In Mindanao however, K to 12 supporters outnumber those opposing it, with 49 percent saying they agree the additional years are needed, 48 percent disagreeing,and 3 percent not knowing enough to have an opinion on the issue.
The K to 12 program was enacted into law in May 2013 through Republic Act 10533, or “An Act Enhancing the Philippine Basic Education System by Strengthening Its Curriculum and Increasing the Number of Years for Basic Education, Appropriating Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes.”
The program, which covers 13 years of basic education, is being implemented by the Department of Education because it says that the Philippines is the last in Asia and only one of three countries worldwide with just a ten-year pre-university cycle, the other two being Angola and Djibouti.
“A 12-year program is found to be the best period for learning under basic education. It is also the recognized standard for students and professionals globally,”the Deped adds in a primer found on its Web site, www.deped.gov.ph.
But while the Department says it is now preparing for the implementation of the Senior High School -- Grades 11 and 12 – next year, and has made preparations in terms of classrooms, teachers (for core and specialized subjects), textbooks, and curriculum, Filipinos are not convinced that “the government is very ready to implement in full the K to 12 program next year.”
Only 32 percent nationwide believe the government is ready for the program -- the same percentage of respondents in the National Capital Region.
Southern Luzon/ Bicol, Northern and Central Luzon and the Visayas are even less convinced, with 61 percent, 74 percent and 73 percent disagreeing with the survey statement, respectively.
Mindanao, for its part, is consistent with its support for the program, with 49 percent convinced of the government’s preparedness. Only 48 percent of respondents from Mindanao disagree with the statement.
Given these positions, only a quarter of respondents nationwide believe it is better that the implementation of the program be continued, with the balance split between deferring it, scrapping it, or those not knowing enough to form an opinion.
The opposition is strongest in Metro Manila, with only 18 percent saying the K to 12 program must be continued, 30 percent saying it must be deferred and 45 percent believing it must be scrapped.
Mindanao for its part continues to be more supportive of the program than the rest of the country is, with 34 percent believing implementation must proceed. Even then, more than half of Mindanao respondents believe the program must be deferred (18 percent) or scrapped (35 percent).
When shown reports that the implementation may displace personnel, respondents became even less supportive of the program, with those believing it should be continued dropping from 25 percent to 17 percent nationwide.
Potential displacement increase the number of those who believe the program should be deferred or scrapped -- 71 percent nationwide (from 65 percent), 76 percent in NCR from 75 percent), 71 percent in Northern and Central Luzon (from 67 percent), 79 percent in Southern Luzon and Bicol (from 67 percent), 75 percent in Visayas (from 60 percent) and even 60 percent in Mindanao (from 53 percent)
The Standard Poll had error margins of +/- 3 percent for national and +/- 6 percent for regional results.
All regions were represented in the survey.
Laylo, The Standard’s in-house pollster, has 25 years of experience in political polling and strategic research.
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