The Supreme Court (SC) announced at a media briefing on Tuesday (April 5) that it will decide on the constitutionality of the K-12 Program, a banner education program of the Aquino administration, without holding oral arguments on the said matter.
SC Spokesperson Theodore Te said: “the Court denied the request for the conduct of oral argument.” He added that parties were required by the tribunal to submit their respective memoranda or summaries of their arguments “within a non-extendible period of 20 days from notice, with an instruction on the Clerk of Court to serve notice personally.”
The pending case in the Supreme Court is a consolidation of different petitions challenging the constitutionality of the Republic Act (RA) 10533, also known as the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013. The law is meant to enhance the Philippine Basic Education system by strengthening its curriculum and increasing the number of years for basic education.
The additional two years, now forming the Senior High School department, was met with resistance from different sectors. Six petitions were filed challenging the law’s constitutionality, and these include the separate groups of Sen. Antonio Trillanes III, Congressman Antonio Tinio, Manila Science High School and other groups mainly from the academe and the labor sector. The respondents include the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Department of Labor and Employment, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
It is contested whether the respondents committed grave abuse of discretion when they implemented the K-12 program without prior consultation with education stakeholders, particularly parents and teachers.
The petitioners said that prior to the passage of RA 10533, the government should not have required students to attend two more years of high school before they can go to college. As such, the law should be applied prospectively and should only cover students who started Kindergarten in 2013.
Apart from the legal questions, some sectors doubt the readiness of the government for the nationwide implementation of the K-12 program in June.