MANILA – The Department of Education (DepEd) on Friday expressed support for the bill seeking to revise the eligibility requirements for government employment in consideration of Senior High School (SHS) graduates.

The DepEd issued the statement after Senator Sherwin Gatchalian highlighted anew Senate Bill No. 2367, or the Batang Magaling Act, which seeks to ensure the employability and college readiness of SHS graduates.

In an ambush interview, Education Undersecretary Michael Poa said the government should be an example in accepting SHS completers.

"That is another avenue for us to boost employability, kasi tayo pong nasa government, dapat tayo (we in the government, we must) also hire our Senior High School [graduates]," he said.

“There's a need to, kailangan nating makipag-usap sa Civil Service Commission (CSC) para po matingnan natin iyong mga qualification standards natin sa ngayon. Kasi hindi pa po nasasama doon iyong ating K-12 (Kinder to Grade 12) graduates. (We need to talk with the CSC to look at the current qualification standards. Because the K-12 graduates are not included there yet,) So, we support that," he said.

Meanwhile, Gatchalian said it is crucial for the government to trust the competitiveness of SHS graduates.

"Ang game-changer kapag government ang nagha-hire, pinapakita ng gobyerno na may kumpyansa tayo sa kakayahan at galing ng (The game changer is when the government do the hiring, the government is showing confidence in the ability and knowledge of our) Senior High School,” he said.

He, however, said this only suggests a limited number of positions, in compliance with whatever qualification standards the CSC will specify.

"Limited positions, but from local government, from barangay to local government, all the way to national government, mayroon nang specific na trabaho para sa (there’s already a specific work for) Senior High Student," Gatchalian said.

In terms of promotion, he said hired SHS graduates may consider technical upskilling, or secure college diplomas.

Gatchalian earlier said his proposal is timely considering the target pilot implementation of the revised SHS curriculum for the academic year 2025-2026.

The curriculum review came amid rising challenges in SHS, with more Filipinos being dissatisfied with the program.

In the Pulse Asia Survey commissioned by Gatchalian published in September 2023, 4 out of 10 of the 1,200 respondents nationwide expressed dissatisfaction with the SHS program.

This included the 53 percent dissatisfaction rating among respondents in Metro Manila, with only 31 percent satisfied.

In 2020, the think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies said only more than 20 percent of SHS graduates secure positions in the country’s labor force. 

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