Business and K to 12

 (The Philippine Star) |  

In October 2010, several business groups signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Department of Education (DepEd).

The business groups were: Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP), Chamber of Commerce of the Philippine Islands (CCPI), Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), Makati Business Club (MBC), Philippine Business for Education (PBEd), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Semiconductor and Electronics Industries of the Philippines (SEIPI), and the Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines, consisting of American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines, Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, and Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters.

The business groups promised to employ graduates of Grade 12 (provided, of course, that these graduates met the hiring qualifications of individual companies).

In May 2015, another MOA was signed by the same groups.

This MOA reiterated the commitment of the business groups “to implement programs to encourage and influence their members to accept for employment applicants who have completed the new 12-year Basic Education Program from any private or public school in the Philippines.”

On Tuesday, Feb. 16, business groups will again sign another MOA with DepEd.

Joining the earlier groups are German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI), Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), and People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP). The BPAP has since changed its name to IT and Business Processing Association of the Philippines (IBPAP).

The new MOA adds three crucial elements to the success of the K to 12 program.


The business groups now will encourage their members “(1) to support DepEd in jobs profiling and skills mapping in areas where the members operate; (2) to partner with the local DepEd offices or specific schools by providing support and opportunities for work immersion for students, training of teachers, and use of facilities; and (3) whenever possible, to help the local DepEd and the schools in addressing resource gaps through donations.”

There is no need to explain the third one, because the government cannot completely implement the K to 12 program (or any other program, for that matter) without substantial financial or other types of help from the private sector.

The first one needs some explanation.

The promise of DepEd that Grade 12 graduates will be employable assumes that these learners would have been given employable skills. Employable skills, by definition, are the skills that employers want.

DepEd by itself cannot determine what these skills are. Only employers can identify these skills. That is why companies have to tell DepEd what skills they want.

Republic Act 10533 (the K to 12 Law) has provided for this crucial element of the education reform. In Section 6, the law commands DepEd to consult business groups in forming the curriculum.

Section 6 reads: “There shall be created a curriculum consultative committee chaired by the DepEd Secretary or his/her duly authorized representative and with members composed of, but not limited to, a representative each from the CHED, the TESDA, the DOLE, the PRC, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and a representative from the business chambers such as the Information Technology Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry association. The consultative committee shall oversee the review and evaluation of the implementation of the basic education curriculum and may recommend to the DepEd the formulation of necessary refinements in the curriculum.”

As of this writing, that committee has not yet been created. DepEd has formulated its Curriculum Guides without the active input of the business community. (Secretary Armin Luistro FSC has promised to create the committee before he leaves office.)

The new MOA gives DepEd the network through which it can finally implement this section of the K to 12 law. It will be industry that will now do the listing of employable skills that DepEd can then incorporate in the curriculum.

The second one commits the groups to dual training. Dual training means that students will spend only part of their time on campus and most of their time in enterprises or companies.

The Philippine government, in a Joint Declaration of Intent with the Federal Republic of Germany (signed in Berlin on Sept. 19, 2014), committed “to support the promotion of dual, enterprise-based, practice-oriented education and training (known as dual training) as a key element of educational reform.” That document specified that dual training would be integrated by DepEd into the K to 12 program.

Dual training can succeed only if companies accept high school students and systematically train them to gain employable skills. The teachers themselves also need to do immersion, if they are to guide their students properly. (The Commission on Higher Education recently used the same principle in their campaign to fund college teachers undergoing internship or externship in companies.)

The new MOA ensures that companies will help DepEd in teaching students. Education is too important a task to be left to educators. It is now a cliché to say that it takes a whole village to educate a child. To educate the next generation of Filipino adults, DepEd needs everyone’s help, especially that of business and industry.

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