An official statement by the Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday, May 20, 2019, has denied the claims there was a plan to abolish the K to 12 Basic Education Program, saying that sentiments and questions circulating on social media “are clearly based on misinformation and lack of critical discernment.”
Online news outlet Rappler reviewed nine Facebook users and pages who posted false claims that President Rodrigo Duterte has ended the K to 12 Program. Many of them used the word "officially" and "confirmed" on their posts. It has generated a combined total of 238,000 shares, 25,000 comments, and 34,000 reactions, as of writing.
Those Facebook users and pages twisted and spread false information about the news of the Commission on Education’s (CHED) plan to “review and change” the system for its K to 12 “transition program.” They made it sound like the entire K to 12 Program was affected, but the DepEd stressed the two programs are “not one and the same.”
After the false claims broke, CHED Chairperson J. Prospero De Vera IIIissued a clarification about the issue. “Nililinaw ko po na ang aking pahayag ay tungkol sa K to 12 Transition Fund. Iba po ang K-12 program na ini-implement ng DepEd at hindi ko po sinasabing dapat itigil ito,” he said to Manila Bulletin. (I wish to clarify that my statement was about the K to 12 Transition Fund. This is different from the K to 12 program implemented by the DepEd and I never said that it should be stopped.)
The K to 12 transition fund is the budget allocated to CHED, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the DepEd for faculty at higher education institutions (HEI) to be used during the “transition period” (from 2016 to 2021) after the implementation of the K to 12 Program.
When the senior high school (SHS) program was introduced in 2016, there were no freshmen students in college levels since students needed to complete Grades 11 and 12, or the SHS first before they can go to college. This displaced several faculty members in some HEIs. The transition program is the five-year effort aimed to help faculty members during this period.
But CHED officials have confirmed that this will be reviewed and changed due to a “defective system.”
On May 9, Kabataan Partylist Representative Sarah Elago filed a resolution to review and stop the K to 12 Program after de Vera supposedly admitted the defects. But de Vera clarified that what he meant as defective were the processes for scholarships and grants — not the K to 12 Program.
Since the K to 12 Program was fully implemented in 2016, the DepEd has observed “numerous gains” for the education system in the country. The initial results of the SHS program have surpassed expectations in terms of enrollment and transition rates, and it has provided free or sponsored education to more than 2.7 million students in both public and private schools.
Most importantly, the program is mandated by law, under Republic Act No. 10533, or the “Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013.” The DepEd, as an executive arm of the government, cannot just discontinue the program as it sees fit. Only the Senate and the House of Representatives can repeal it.
Before spreading information or engaging in discussions, especially those that can affect the students, the Department of Education appeals for the public to check first the official website and social media accounts of the DepEd. It is important that we become more vigilant in discerning questionable news as the truth.
Meanwhile, the DepEd has already released its official calendar for the upcoming school year 2019-2020. Classes will formally open on Monday, June 3, 2019, but private schools may opt to resume their classes until August 31, 2019. (Click here for the DepEd school calendar.)