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Support for SHS ends — CHED

Joyce Pangco Pañares, Charles Dantes & Maricel Cruz

DepEd: 17.7k Grade 12 pupils need to transfer from state schools

Some 17,700 incoming Grade 12 students will have to transfer from state and local universities and colleges (SUCs and LUCs) to private or public schools under the Department of Education for School Year 2024-25, DepEd spokesman Michael Poa said.

This is after the Commission on Higher Education confirmed its decision to discontinue its Senior High School (SHS) program in SUCs and local universities and colleges as the transition period under the K-to-12 program has ended.

“Based on the reports of our regional directors, our public schools will be able to accommodate those that will have to transfer,” Poa told Manila Standard in an interview.

“But of course, students have the option to transfer to private schools and they will be allowed to avail of the Senior High School Voucher Program,” he said.

The 17,700 Grade 11 students currently enrolled in SUCs and LUCs for School Year 2023-24 are all non-voucher recipients, Poa said.

The voucher program is a form of financial assistance that allows students to claim as much as a 100-percent discount on their private school fees.

“The plan really was for the voucher program to end by School Year 2020 to 2021. This is also the reason why DepEd stopped issuing vouchers for Grade 11 students enrolled in SUCs and LUCs for the School Year 2023-24,” he said.

“In fact, there are regions now that have no senior high learners in SUCs and LUCs so no one will have to transfer in the incoming school year in these regions,” the DepEd official added.

He said the bulk of the incoming Grade 12 students from SUCs and LUCs are from Metro Manila and the Cordillera Administrative Region.

For his part, CHED chairperson Prospero de Vera III said: “The transition period is over and the SUCs are full. They need to use the rooms and teachers. There’s no basis for SUCs and LUCs to offer SHS anymore,” he said.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers is worried if public high schools can accommodate all the senior high school students transferring to them.

Vladimer Quetua, ACT National Chairperson, said this could lead to regular Saturday classes, a third shift in schools already running morning and afternoon shifts or worse, “double congestion” in classrooms.

“That is part of our fears that our educational system will deteriorate even more,” he told ABS-CBN News.

Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas also said the move was “a testament to the systemic failures embedded within the government’s K-12 program.”

“Students and parents have opposed the K-12 program because it costs more. It is also not true that SHS graduates will be hired immediately because companies still hire college graduates,” Brosas said.

“It’s alarming that despite the substantial backlogs in classroom constructions, with only a meager 2,000 built in 2023 against a 159,000 backlog, private institutions seem to be favored, depriving countless youths of accessible education,” she added.

She also appealed to the administration to conduct a comprehensive K-12 review.

Asked what would happen to the currently enrolled students, De Vera said that they would be allowed to finish their SHS program in their respective SUCs and LUCs.

In a memo released by CHED on Dec. 18, the commission stated that SUCs and LUCs can only be involved in basic education through SHS during the K-12 transition period from SY 2016-2017 to SY 2020-2021.

SUCs with laboratory schools, meanwhile, were instructed to report to the Board the financial impact of the notice from DepEd regarding the lack of issuance of vouchers for SHS enrollees in SUCs.

De Vera also reminded that following the transition period, laboratory schools are only allowed to enroll a maximum of 750 students.

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