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BY Jules Dalmacio Articles
The Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 was signed into law 10 years ago. This is the law that makes the K to 12 Program mandatory for all institutions that provide basic education in the Philippines to follow. With its implementation, there is now a mandatory enrollment of children at the age of 5 into kindergarten, and highschool years has been bumped up to 6 years as opposed to the previous 4 years.
The program prospectus sees students studying specialized education during Senior High School (SHS), in fields like Science, or the Arts. This specialization is supposed to accomplish 2 things: help students get into college more easily, or help them find work after high school more easily.
The first batch of senior highschoolers graduated in 2018. 5 years after that milestone, are we seeing the program make good on its projections?
The fastest way to see how positive the chances of getting hired as a SHS graduate is, we can check online. For the most popular job websites like LinkedIn, JobStreet, and Indeed, the most popular positions that hire SHS graduates include the following.
Looking closely at the listing, there’s no actual distinction in hiring preference between high school and SHS graduates. From the perspective of private organizations, hiring preference seems to not have changed even after having 5 years worth of potential SHS new hires.
The lack of change in hiring preference is also seen in Government positions. This is a sad predicament especially since the K12 program is an initiative by the Government; positions in public service should be more available to K12 graduates as follow through of the original intent of the program. The problem has been called out by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian in the senate, however no tangible plans nor action seem to have been put in place so far.
While more progressive companies or even HR individuals might be willing to hiring SHS graduates based both on specialized skills, and passion for work, it’s still no secret that in The Philippines, there is still a prevalent “diploma mentality”. Jaren David, People Relations Manager for Salarium, shares their thought on the matter; from experience, they’ve worked with high school graduates and even dropouts that excel in fields that they are passionate about. While David is willing to hire based on skill, they still acknowledge that the hiring mentality in the county might still be a long way from changing, with SHS students being just as hireable as their previous high school graduate predecessors.