Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr: DepEd to focus on improving employability of K-12 grads

2024 July 5

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said Friday the Department of Education (DepEd), under the helm of incoming Secretary Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, would focus on improving the employability of Kinder to Grade 12 (K to 12) program graduates.

In an interview on the sidelines of the distribution of financial assistance in Sulu, Marcos said with Angara’s appointment as the new education chief, changes will be made to the K to 12 curricula to make Filipino students more employable after graduation, such as the introduction of “mini-courses” or short-term courses for students who will be taking specialty courses.

The President emphasized the need for closer coordination between the government and the private sector to ensure a steady supply of skilled workers coming into an industry.

“So, tinitiyak namin na paglabas na may magandang pag-asa magkatrabaho (we guarantee that after [the students] graduate, they would have greater chances of finding employment), if not directly already to an industry employer,” he said.

He noted that the K to 12 program failed to deliver its promise of increased employability for Filipino graduates.

“If you remember, ginawa natin ‘yung K to 12 dahil hinahanap ang years of training sa ating mga nag-a-apply. At sinasabi dito sa Pilipinas, kulang dahil 10 years lang, kailangang 12 years. Okay. So that was the reason we did it, para employable ‘yung mga graduate natin (If you remember, we implemented the K to 12 because we are looking for more years of training from our [job] applicants. In the Philippines, the years were insufficient because there were only 10, instead of the required, 12 years. Okay. So that was the reason we did it so that our graduates will be more employable),” Marcos said.

“Pero kung titingnan natin ang naging resulta, hindi naging – hindi tumaas, hindi gumaganda ang employability nila (But if we look at the results, their employability did not improve). So, we have to do something else.”

Marcos said DepEd also needs to work on improving Filipino students’ global learning assessments, especially on Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) subjects where most Filipino students are falling behind.

Angara earlier said he would wait for the result of the ongoing K to 12 curriculum review to identify the needed revisions and address the skills mismatch and employability challenges.

Angara also called for a holistic approach in terms of improving the education system, including a more flexible option, such as ladderized education.

Take care of the teachers

Marcos said his marching order to Angara as the new DepEd secretary is to “take care of the teachers” and ensure that they can sufficiently feed their families.

“We see them just as teachers. They have families and they have to take care of their families. And they cannot teach properly kung inaalala nila ‘yung lagay ng pamilya nila (if they have to worry about their families) so we have to make sure that they are in a good place so that the teachers can concentrate on actual teaching,” he added.

The President also ordered the retraining of teachers so they could adapt to the recent developments and technological advancements.

He said the government would beef up feeding programs in schools to address stunting problems in the country.

During the 17th Cabinet Meeting at Malacañan Palace on Tuesday, Marcos said Angara accepted the DepEd Secretary position, which will be vacated by Vice President Sara Duterte on July 19, after her resignation.

Filane Mikee Cervantes (PNA)