THE Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) expressed support for a measure that would make senior high school optional.

“We in the MAP support the bill introduced that seeks to examine the K-12 (Kindergarten to Grade 12) system and replace it with a K+10+2 act,” MAP CEO Conference Committee Chairperson Alma Rita R. Jimenez told the House basic education and culture committee.

“The private sector (has a) continuing preference for hiring college or university graduates over those who finish K-12 primarily because those who finished Grades 11 and 12 still lack the competencies or skills at the level required for employment,” she said.

Ms. Jimenez cited the need to streamline the K-12 curriculum “so that it can fully integrate technical and vocational education and training program to increase enterprise-based learning where the senior high school student will have more immersive experiences through certification training and exposure to actual work settings.”

The committee was considering proposed amendments to Republic Act No. 10533 or the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, which added two more years to basic education with the intent of making graduates employable and globally competitive. 

Committee chairman and Pasig Rep. Roman T. Romulo said House Bill 7893 will propose “multiple education pathways,” which will involve enhancing programs run by the Technical Education and Skills Development (TESDA), making these courses a more viable option for students after Grade 10.

“Meaning, when you reach Grades 10, 11 and 12, if you want to go to college, you’ll be under DepEd (Department of Education). If you want to go to techvoc (technical and vocational education), then enroll in TESDA,” he said.

“We will require TESDA to upgrade itself,” Mr. Romulo added, noting that the agency mostly issues certifications for graduates of Customer Services NC II, a short course to train staff for department stores, supermarkets, fast food outlets, and specialty stores.

He added that only a few students receive the Bookkeeping NC III certification.

Ms. Jimenez added that TESDA should revamp its programs to make them “future-oriented” and to usher in digital transformation. Teachers and instructors should also undergo training, she noted. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz