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Parents, students fear cases vs K-12 will become moot

A GROUP of parents, teachers, students and school workers has asked the Supreme Court to decide before the start of the next school year the cases they had filed in 2015 to stop the government’s new K-12 basic education program.

In a seven-page “most extremely urgent motion to expedite proceedings” filed on Monday, the petitioners, through their lawyer Severo Brillantes, said high school graduates under the old curriculum did not know if they had to enroll for one more year of senior high school or enroll in college.

The uncertainty is affecting not only students but also college teachers and workers who are unsure if they will be displaced in the next school year because there may be no incoming college freshmen.

Severo  said the parties had submitted their comments in November last year but the court only decided early this month, or more than a year after, not to issue a temporary restraining order.

The lawyer said the petitioners would surely suffer damage when K-12 starts in three months and the court has not issued a final decision.

Petition of dismissal

“[I]f it fails to render a decision before the next school year opens, it virtually would have rendered a decision amounting to the dismissal of their instant petitions, as the Grade 10 students will inevitably be forced to go through the two additional years of senior high school,” the lawyer said.

He said Grade 10 students graduating this month might be forced to drop out either because there will no longer be a senior public high school for them to go to, or they will not able to afford the cost of enrolling in a private school.

This would be in violation of the duty of the state to make education, particularly free public education, accessible to all, he said.

On the other hand, the teachers’ right to security of tenure and the duty of the state to afford full protection to labor will be violated if college teachers are “massively displaced” from their jobs by layoff or reassignment, he added.

Brillantes urged the high court to direct the government’s education agencies and tertiary school authorities to allow the Grade 10 students to take entrance tests so that they can be admitted to college for the coming school year.

The K-12 program, embodied in Republic Act No. 10533 or the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, provides for Kindergarten and 12 years of basic education, comprised of six years of primary education, four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school. Jerome Aning

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