By Jun Cinco
Published: November 20, 2012
A labor group hit the House of Representatives today for passing the K+12 education program on third reading last Monday, saying the country’s congressmen are dooming the country’s youth to cheap labor.
Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno said K+12, which adds two years to secondary education and injects these with technical-vocational subjects, aims to enable high school graduates to be employed immediately after graduation – in low paying and contractual jobs.
According to the section on “Social Development” in Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016, K+12 aims to ensure that “the structure and program of formal basic education… are adequate and sufficiently responsive to: meet legal and other formal requirements of employment…”
“What types of jobs will be available to high school graduates? Low-paying, contractual ones for sure,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
“K+12 is not aimed at improving the country’s educational system. It is aimed at increasing the profits amassed by big capitalists from the cheap labor of our youth and people,” he added.
KMU also condemned the Aquino government for promoting the illusion that the K+12 program will help solve widespread unemployment in the country.
“Successive governments have been promoting technical-vocational education yet unemployment in the country remains high. It is foolish to think that the country’s employment situation will improve because of changes in the education system,” Labog said.
“The Aquino government has been rabid in promoting cheap labor through various means yet unemployment in the country is still very high. This government’s Cheap Labor Policy is a failure in reducing unemployment but is successful in further impoverishing workers and their families,” he added.
The labor center called on the country’s congressmen to stop wasting the remaining sessions of the 15th Congress and prioritize bills that will give immediate relief to the country’s workers and poor people who are suffering from increasing prices of basic goods and services.
“The House of Representatives should prioritize the P125 Wage Hike Bill or the Regular Employment Bills, instead of the K+12. The first two bills will improve the situation of the country’s workers while the last one will only worsen the future of the country’s youth,” Labog said.
KMU has been calling for the passage of House Bill 375, which seeks to legislate a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide, and House Bill 5110, which seeks to end contractual employment in the country. Both bills were filed by Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Rafael V. Mariano.