[Two days before classes resume Workers hold protest vs. K+12, contractualization
Two days before the resumption of classes, workers led by labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno held a protest action in Plaza Miranda against the K+12 education program due for implementation this school year and against contractual employment, which they say are bane to workers and the poor.
The labor center said that K+12, by adding two more years to the primary education curriculum, will add a burden to contractual workers already struggling to send their children to school.
“Contractuals’ wages do not even suffice to meet the daily needs of their families and enrolment season often means being buried in more debt. K+12 will increase the financial burden being borne by contractuals and all workers,” said Nenita “Nitz” Gonzaga, KMU vice-chairperson for women affairs.
“K+12, coupled with increasing fees in tertiary education, will most likely discourage workers from sending their children to college. And that is what the Aquino government’s wants to do with this curriculum change,” she added.
The protest action was attended by wives of janitors of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines and wives of workers of Co Ban Kiat Hardware, Inc. The workers of PUP and Co Ban Kiat are on strike against massive retrenchment stemming from workers’ contractual employment status.
“We are calling on the public to support the workers of PUP and Co Ban Kiat who are on strike. They need the public’s support to be able to send their children to school and continue fighting for their legitimate calls,” Gonzaga said.
“At the same time, we are calling for the junking of contractual employment, currently being legitimized by the Aquino government’s Department Order 18-A Series of 2011,” she added.
KMU said the government wants the youth to be ready for employment after graduating from senior high school.
“K+12 is education for future contractual workers. It is education for producing unskilled or semi-skilled workers ready to be exploited by big foreign capitalists,” Gonzaga said.
“With K+12, the government is hitting two birds with one stone: it will be able to offer even cheaper labor to big capitalists and it will be able to reduce subsidies for tertiary education. It has been reducing subsidies for tertiary education for years now,” Gonzaga said.
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