A HOUSE committee ironed out some provisions of a bill proposing optional senior high school education in the country to include a requirement for students to undergo an assessment exam that would determine their fitness for higher learning, a lawmaker said on Monday.

Pasig Rep. Roman T. Romulo, chair of the House Committee on Basic Education, said the proposed measure would require a diagnostic exam to be given to Grades 3, 6, 10, and 12 learners to assess “age-appropriate” reading comprehension and mathematics knowledge.

Under House Bill No. 7893, the Department of Education (DepEd) would oblige a student to take “special classes” if their assessment exam performance points to a “deficiency.”

The bill seeks to amend Republic Act No. 10533 (Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013), which implemented the Kindergarten to Grade 12 or K-to-12 program.

Lawmakers and stakeholders have deemed it ineffective in producing job-ready and college-ready graduates. “All surveys show that neither was fulfilled. Most surveys of even industry players have said that still they prefer an individual who has gone to college rather than one who has finished K-to-12,” said Mr. Romulo.

The measure also mandates that Grade 10 learners must take up Grades 11 and 12 if they seek to enroll in a university course. Otherwise, they may choose a technical-vocational (techvoc) education track for a more skills-based training.

“The curriculum will be industry-driven,” Mr. Romulo said, referring to the techvoc track to be handled by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). “It will really be mostly skills training outside with the industry concerned.” — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz