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RATIONALIZING PHILIPPINE HIGHER EDUCATION FOR GLOBAL CAPITALISM:

HOW K+12 AS A SOLUTION BECAME THE PROBLLEM



Statement of Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy, UP Diliman on
the Impact of K+12 and Reform of Higher Education on National Language and Educational
Workers

Parroting the same mantra of the Aquino Administration, of blaming the past
Administration for its inherited problems and boasting its commitment to change everything,
according to CHED, The Aquino Administration inherited a chaotic higher education system
characterized by too many higher education institutions and programs, job-skills
mismatch, oversubscribed and undersubscribed programs, deteriorating quality, and
limited access to quality higher education. CHED Strategic Plan for 2011 to 2016 lays down
the basic problem of higher education: lack of overall vision, framework and plan;
deteriorating quality of higher education; and limited access to quality higher education. It did
not cross the mind of CHED that the lack of overall vision, framework, and pan is a chimera of
the underlying neoliberal agenda that already informs the existing mission and vision of
Philippine higher education. The neoliberal thrust of CHED to reform higher education is
betrayed in stating one its goals: to contribute to human capital formation that will serve as
the backbone of business process outsourcing (BPO). Its claim to produce well-rounded
college graduates and K+12 graduates is nothing but mantle to make K+12 appear as
humanistic and nationalist against the backdrop of the technicist goal to serve the BPOs and
foreign business interests.
Citing the unemployability of most college graduates and high school drop outs, its
ambitious solution in reforming basic education through K+12, does not solve the chronic
problem of access to basic education. Faced with dwindling budget for basic education that
results to perennial shortages of teachers, classrooms, and other pedagogical facilities and
equipment, CHEDs solution simply aims at providing skills to K+12 students who are lucky
enough to afford and hurdle another 2 years, so they can work for vocational courses and take
on semi-skilled job without generating decent jobs and investing in education that will create
and hone skills of students to produce new technologies and innovations for national
industrialization. The pragmatic ladderized education program (LEP) system equips students
with skills so that they can be absorbed anytime within the educational system and leave
anytime for employment. NSO figures show that on the average, there are 1.4 million Filipinos
under 15-24 years old who did not have jobs in 2012. Year on year, youth unemployment rate
was higher in January 2013 at 16.6% compared to the same period in 2012. To address this
terrible problem, CHEDs program is directed at closing and merging SUCs, closing non-
compliant programs and degrees, non-viable and substandard programs phased-out or closed
to rationalize the system. Accessing higher education is through: LEP, Expanded Tertiary
Education Equivalency and Accreditation Program (ETEEAP), and Student Financial and
Assistance Programs (STUFAP). And while the program responds to the need for developing
hard to fill up courses like agriculture, mining and meteorology, it does not jibe with the current
policy of the Aquino government that forces many of our scientists, weather forecasters and
engineers to migrate aboard for better compensation and professional growth.

Any reform of HLIs therefore is bound to fail if the government itself has no clear-cut
vision of how to push for a self-reliant science and research development. All the government
and CHED can offer are pragmatic and just-in time solutions to respond to the demands of
global capitalist division of labor by creating multi-skilled and entrepreneurial graduates.
The K to 12 law crafted by Congress calls for a two-year transition period where college
teachers who teach GE subjects can teach in Grade 11 and 12. Yet until now CHED Director
Licuanan said they have not finalized any arrangement with higher education institutions on the
fate of displaced GE teachers. Theres no solution yet. Obviously we accept it as a problem. But
K to 12 was necessary and therefore there will be some sacrifices entailed. What were trying to
do now is to make sure those sacrifices arent too big, she said. DepEd Undersecretary Mateo
said that CHED claims that there will be about 86,000 faculty members of private higher
education institutions (HEIs) [not to mention SUCs) who may be displaced. The DepEd and
CHED are also working out with the Congress the proposed P10-billion stabilization fund, a
package that would provide financial assistance to those teachers who will not be absorbed,
Mateo said. In its bid to speed up the rationalization of higher education, CHED and DepEd are
now sacrificing college teachers in the name of a vision that would benefit more the interests of
foreign businesses rather than our national interests. Tertiary teachers and other educational
workers are now saddled with the problems of the re-hiring, re-applications, screening, and re-
tooling to teach K+11 and 12. Until now, the DepEd and CHED are not very clear how they will
proceed with these fancy solutions that define the life of college teachers, notwithstanding
resourcing more funds for K+12 students.
But the irrationality of CHEDs neoliberal-calibrated reform of HLIs does not stop in the
massive displacement of college teachers. In the guise of developing a new General Education
Curriculum (GEC), CHED brags about developing K+12 and college graduates who possess
intellectual competencies and civic capacities. In short, the new GEC is supposed to produce
college graduates who are well-rounded. Yet CHED vitiates its own vision by reducing college
education by two years and squeezing in GE in the additional 2 years of K+12. How do we
expect the two years in K+12 to produce well-rounded graduates, with barely 9 subjects that
address ethics, philosophy, and humanities, especially those who will not be able to afford
college and will immediately work? How about those who will choose the vocation tract,
business and arts, and engineering? The GE curriculum for K+12 is really geared towards
vocational and technical training. The inclusion of philosophy, humanities, and ethics is just a
mantle to package the new GEC as humanistic.
By squeezing in GE subjects in K+12, many college GEs will become redundant. Initially,
many college teachers thought Filipino subjects will be drastically affected as Filipino college
GEs will be demoted to K+12. Now, CHED Dir. Licuanan admits the bigger problem. It will also
affect other GEs from Math, Science, Social Sciences and Humanities. And the rational solution
being floated by CHED and DepEd are re-tooling (through TESDA) to either teach in high school
or become a new entrepreneur, research grant, and early retirement. These measures together
with additional Php10 billion for carrying out this massive streamlining of K+12 and HLIs to the
demands of the global labour market are afterthoughts of CHED and DepEd who were
supposed to have planned the rationalization of Philippine education from its inception and
conceptualization! The rationalization of HLIs is now showing its irrationalities!
In the midst of this irrational backlash of K+12 and the reforms of HLIs, we, the members
of UP-CONTEND, therefore, express our sympathy and solidarity with all the educational
workers who will be displaced and affected by the neoliberal restructuring of our educational
system. We convey our strong opposition to CHED vision of reforming Philippine HLIs that is
informed by neo-colonial subservience to foreign business interests. We refuse to be coaxed
into fine-looking packaging of this reform through the mantle of developing humanistic and
well-rounded learner who, after all, will just serve the BPOs and exercise their humanistic and
well-rounded education abroad.
We also refuse to buy CHEDs patronising attitude towards Filipino language. The issue
is not just about using Filipino language by mandating 9 units of GE subjects to be taught in
Filipino. The question is developing a national language that will sustain our sense of
nationhood in the era of cultural and linguistic homogenization. We echo Prof. San Juans sharp
analysis that without a national language, Filipinos have nothing distinctive to share with other
nations and peoples. Without national self-determination and a historically defined identity,
there is no way Filipinos can contribute their distinctive share in global culture.
We strongly denounce the pretention of CHED to democratize access to higher
education through Financial and Assistance Programs (STUFAPs). The newly reformed Socialized
Tuition System (STS) of UP, formerly STPAF, is a testament that such program is a disguised
income generating scheme that is consistent with Pres. Aquinos RPHER (Roadmap to Reform of
Higher Education) that mandates all SUCs to be self-sustaining. We strongly clamour for greater
state subsidies for SUCs as the only answer to democratizing access to higher education.
Moreover, we believe that reforming HLIs cannot succeed if it not integrated with the overall
vision of nation to be economically self-reliant, politically independent from foreign
impositions, and with strong science and technology program.
Together with patriotic and progressive educators and other sectors of our society, we
will continue to fight and struggle for a nationalist, scientific, and democratic education for all!
We will join the struggle of all college teachers and educational workers, private HLIs and SUCs,
who are in the middle of this irrational neoliberal maelstrom created by CHED and DepEd under
the Aquino Regime.
We demand:

Support the struggle of thousands of educational workers against the impact of K+12 on job
tenure and security!
No to Pres. Aquino and CHEDs RPHER (Roadmap to Higher Education Reform)!
No to neoliberal reform of HLIs and basic education!
Down with colonial, commercialized, and repressive education!
Fight for greater state subsidy for basic education and SUCs!
Re-channel funds from PDAF and DAP to education and basic social services!
Fight a nationalist, scientific, and mass-oriented education for all!
Uphold the development of Filipino as a national language!