Gatchalian: Senate's K to 12 review aims to address senior HS graduates’ employability

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Monday, October 24 said lawmakers should look into the possible strategies that the government can adopt to boost the employability of senior high school graduates when they review the country’s K to 12 program.

Gatchalian had earlier filed Senate Resolution No. 5 which seeks a Senate inquiry on the status of the implementation of the K to 12 law.

As head of the Senate basic education panel, Gatchalian will also serve as co-chairperson of the Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM II).

Gatchalian made the call following Vice President and Secretary of Education Sara Duterte-Carpio’s call urging the private sector to consider hiring more K to 12 graduates. Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual made a similar call last September.

While the Enhanced Basic Education Act (Republic Act No. 10533) or the K to 12 Law promised to make SHS graduates employable, the senator pointed out that only a small percentage of these graduates are able to enter the labor force.

A 2020 discussion paper by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) also showed that only a little over 20 percent of SHS graduates join the labor force while more than 70 percent continue with their education.

The same study by the PIDS further showed that Grade 12 completers do not show better labor outcomes compared to Grade 10 completers. Similarly, those who finished second year college do not show superior labor market outcomes compared to SHS graduates.

“Sa gagawin nating pag-aaral ng K to 12, tututukan natin kung paano natin matutupad ang pangakong trabaho para sa mga graduate ng senior high school (In our K to 12 study, we will focus on how we can fulfill the promise of employment for senior high school graduates),” Gatchalian said.

“Kailangang maramdaman ng ating mga magulang na hindi lamang dagdag gastos, kundi may totoong benepisyo ang dagdag na dalawang taon sa high school (Our parents need to feel that the extra two years in high school is not just an extra cost, but a real benefit),” the senator said.