Senator Win Gatchalian wants the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to work more closely in reviewing the senior high school program and ensuring the smooth transition of K to 12 graduates. Gatchalian is eyeing to include a review mechanism involving the three agencies in his Batang Magaling Act (Senate Bill No. 2022).
The proposed measure seeks to strengthen collaboration among the DepEd, local government units, academic communities, and industry partners to address the mismatch of K to 12 graduates and the demands of the labor market. “We can embed into the bill a mechanism for the three agencies to review the senior high school curriculum.
We can make the review more cohesive and make meetings more frequent, so there is some output that will guide and educate us policymakers,” said Gatchalian. He pointed to the difficulties encountered by senior high school graduates who pursue higher education but whose transition to college are not seamless.
According to a tracer study by DepEd, top issues encountered by senior high school graduates who pursue higher education include difficulty and non-crediting of subjects, among others. To address these difficulties, some higher education institutions implement bridging programs, which entails more cost for the students and their families.
Gatchalian also flagged that the implementation of bridging programs is uneven because not all universities and colleges offer them.
For the lawmaker, these findings reveal that while around 80% of senior high school students pursue higher education, they are still not college ready. Gatchalian said that this outcome is the opposite of what the K to 12 promised to make its graduates employable and college ready. The Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Basic Education also raised that not all courses offered by the DepEd have accreditation from TESDA. Gatchalian reiterated that this is a dead end for learners who took the Technical-Vocational-Livelihood (TVL) track but do not have certification, which could have boosted their chances of being employed.