Only 41 percent of Filipinos are satisfied with the senior high school program, a Pulse Asia survey commissioned by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian showed.

Of the 1,200 respondents surveyed nationwide, over four in 10 or 42% were dissatisfied with the senior high school program under the K-to-12 curriculum, the poll noted

Gatchalian said the survey reflects the Department of Education program’s failure to make graduates college-ready and work-ready.

The DepEd, however, said it has created the National Task Force to review the implementation of the SHS program, and that the Bureau of Curriculum Development has also started its review of the senior high curriculum following the revision of the K-to-10 curriculum into the recently launched Matatag system.

According to a 2020 discussion paper by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), only a little over 20% of senior high school graduates enter the labor force, while more than 70% continue with their education.

The survey revealed that senior high school graduates have no significant advantage or disadvantage compared to Grade 10 and second-year college completers in terms of basic pay per day

According to the poll, dissatisfaction is highest in the National Capital Region (NCR), with 53% of respondents dissatisfied.

In Luzon, 43% are satisfied, while 35% are dissatisfied. In the Visayas, 42% are satisfied and 42% dissatisfied, while almost half of respondents in Mindanao are dissatisfied.

Gatchalian recently filed the Batang Magaling Act to address the mismatch between senior high school graduates’ skills and labor market demands.

Earlier, the senator said he would raise the recurring issues on the hiring of teachers ahead of the Senate deliberations of the DepEd’s proposed 2024 budget.

Gatchalian has repeatedly urged the DepEd to speed up its hiring process. Data from the Department of Budget and Management reveals that as of February 17, 2023, there are 24,254 unfilled teaching positions in the DepEd. This is equivalent to almost 3% of the DepEd’s 879,789 teaching positions.

The bigger portion of these unfilled positions are entry-level positions such as Teacher I, Special Science Teacher I, Special Education Teacher I, and Master Teacher I.

The DepEd previously said that the hiring process, which also involves the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the DBM, usually takes six months.

The Commission on Audit (COA) also took note that while the DepEd was able to obligate 95% of its total adjustment allotments of P658.5 billion in its 2022 budget, the unutilized balance of P32.6 billion can be attributed to unfilled teaching positions, as well as the delayed, partial, and non-implementation of various programs, activities, and projects.

In a Senate basic education hearing, Gatchalian also pointed to the number of schools that do not have enough teachers for the school year (SY) 2022-2023 based on DepEd data and the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028.

Out of 39,186 total schools for Kindergarten to Grade 6, 9% (3,505) have insufficient teachers. Twenty-four percent (2,412) of 10,188 junior high schools, and 34% (2,522) of 7,520 senior high schools do not have enough teachers.