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Private, Catholic colleges bracing for enrollment drop due to K-12

MANILA, June 22, 2012—Private colleges and universities will be financially challenged to maintain their operation and compensate their teaching staff with the expected decrease of enrollees starting 2017.

Administrators of private schools offering tertiary education, including those under the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), said they are bracing for the expected drop in freshman admissions as a result of the implementation of Kindergarten to 12 (K to 12) basic education program this school year.

Under the government-enforced K to 12 system, students can already forego going to college after undergoing two more years in senior high school. Technical and vocational skills will already be taught to students to help them land a job or engage in entrepreneurial endeavors after graduating high school.

Since pursuing a college degree will remain an option for selected students who still want specialized education and training, freshmen enrollment is expected to generally decrease—with the drop more felt by private schools than state universities because of the difference in tuition costs.

In fact, college enrollment in private Catholic schools is expected to decline by as much as 50 percent, according to CEAP president and Adamson University president Fr. Gregg Bañaga Jr., CM.

“All of us are threatened because for years, there will be less students to enroll in college because of the K to 12 program,” he said.

With the decrease in enrollment, Bañaga said private colleges and universities stand to lose revenue and be forced to layoff professors just to maintain their operations.

But all of CEAP’s 1,345 member-schools nationwide are still supporting the shift from the previous 10-year basic education program to the new 12-year curriculum.

“Even if it is bad for Catholic private schools like ours, we support the K to 12 because it will be good for our country in the long run,” Bañaga added.

The priest said the K to 12 program will help address the rising number of unemployed graduates since students will be equipped with basic skills that can already help them earn a living or go into business, without necessarily obtaining a college degree.

“It will also diminish the number of graduates with jobs that are not matched with their educational training,” he added.

Bañaga said private schools especially those being run by parishes and congregations still support the K to 12 basic education program despite its ill effects on their operations because it will make the quality of Filipino graduates at par with the global standards.

The priest claimed that the previous 10-year basic education program downgrades Filipino graduates when compared to graduates of other countries.

“Filipino graduates may get employed overseas but they are given lower compensation compared to others who underwent 12 years of basic education. With K to 12, our graduates will be at par with global educational standards,” he added.

To counter the effects of K to 12 in the enrollment, officials of private schools, particularly those offering tertiary education only, will be asking government to allow them to offer Grades 11 to 12. Bañaga said the proposal would be formally made to the Department of Education soon. (YouthPinoy)