Labor Rights should be included in the K-12 curriculum — the SPARK

By Nelson Flores, Ll.B., MSCK

A PROGRESSIVE student group calls on the Department of Education to include “Labor Rights” in the K-12 curriculum so that graduates of the program will truly be “job ready” as the education department proudly claims.

This was learned shortly after the Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (SPARK), in a statement, welcomed the plan of DepEd Secretary Leonor “Liling” Briones to hold a “thorough” review of the K-12 curriculum after the pilot batch of the Senior High School graduated a few months back.

We, at the SPARK, fully agree with Sec. Briones when she said that the world is evolving as we speak.

Indeed the recent advancements in technology have altered the global landscape of industry and employment, making it equally challenging for educators to upgrade their tools of instruction and for the youth to compete for scarce, decent jobs as millions graduate from universities and vocational-technological institutions yearly, the SPARK noted.

“This, on top of the menace of contractual employment sweeping all industries, even among the ranks of state workers.”

The timely review sought by Briones intends to bring more life skills to the youth so they could adapt with the changing times. She wishes to arm them with analytical and problem solving skills, the SPARK added.

The SPARK observed that as the competition in the job market intensifies, state agencies as well as the captains of industries are now more concerned with the quality of work the graduates of the K to 12 program will offer.

But, the SPARK said, we would also like to bring to the attention of not only the DepEd, but the general public as well the other side of the coin as no one seems to bother to ask about the quality of life the K to 12 graduates will have after finishing the program. That concern seems to be off the radar.

The SPARK claimed that many are of the belief that the quality of life is commensurate to the education attained and employment landed after graduation. However, the SPARK argued, that the quality of life is not measured by one’s salary or employment perks. This shallow belief is the reason why the youth need to be critical minded.

This is why we challenged the DepEd to include Labor Rights in the K-12 curriculum if it really stands by it’s mantra that senior high school graduates are “job ready,” the SPARK said.

The SPARK said the graduates should not only be trained how to work efficiently but also be taught of their Labor Rights in preparation for their employment. The inclusion of a special subject on labor rights, which cover topics such as salaries and wages, employment policies, state-sanctioned benefits, grievances procedures and other political rights in the workplace, is necessary to make the newly graduates of the program truly “job ready.”

Labor Rights must be included as a core curriculum subject of the senior high schools since wage employment is an option every graduate may choose upon graduation, not only those in the tech-voc track. This will also ensure that graduates will not fall victim to abusive employers, or worse, parasitic manpower agencies for both domestic and foreign deployment.

By educating the youth about their Labor rights, Secretary Briones is now in the position to correct the errors and the historical injustice generated in the past.

To exclude Labor Rights in the curriculum is to chaining future workers to a life of ignorance, apathy, poverty and undignified lives.


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Nelson Flores, J.D., MSCK
A former reporter of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Standard Today, and a regular columnist of the Metro Manila based daily tabloid newspaper Hataw; Nelson Flores is also the former Senior Associate Editor of the Houston based Fil-Am Press and former anchor of dzXL and dzRJ's weekend talk show Usaping Bayan. Mr. Flores has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Law degrees from the University of Santo Tomas and Adamson University and a holder of a study certificate from the Diocesan House of Studies, Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI). He is a Freemason and member of Reagan Lodge 1037 in Houston Heights under the jurisdiction of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas and a member of the Missionary Society of Christ the King (MSCK).

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