Statement of the Commission on Human Rights lauding the Batang Magaling Act to improve employability of K-12 graduates

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights lauding the Batang Magaling Act to improve employability of K-12 graduates

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) welcomes the Batang Magaling Act bill filed in the House of Representatives, which ensures that Senior High School (SHS) students are equipped with proper skills upon graduation as they enter the labour market.

In the separate bills filed by representatives Camille A. Villar, Stella Luz A. Quimbo, and Gus S. Tambunting, both national and local councils are envisioned to be created in order to set the periodical study of the labour market demand in order to serve as the roadmap for the work immersion-related recommendations in the K-12 curriculum. House Bills (HB) No. 9808, 9770, and 8960 also target to garner more support from relevant industries to welcome SHS students in Work Immersion Programs to further amplify their knowledge in their chosen tracks or specialisation.

Given the growing demand for a more expansive labor market in the Philippines, the Commission fully supports these proposed bills to accommodate and adapt seamlessly according to the need to offer sustainable opportunities to SHS graduates while ensuring that they are able to enhance their employability and competitiveness in the workforce. After all, it is the responsibility of the State to take positive measures which enable its citizens to enjoy their right to education. If passed into a law, this will also be in accordance with Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which underscores the right of all to technical and professional education, which “shall be made generally available […] [and] be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.”

Within the Philippine setting, it is important to recognise that senior high school graduates should carry with them the competencies and skills which equip them not just for their journey towards college, but also in terms of being employment-ready. In fact, the Commission has also set forth its own Human Rights Situational Report on the School to Work Transition [https://bit.ly/SchoolToWorkTransition] within the context of the K-12 Program. We underscore that consistent monitoring and evaluation of the K-12 program is necessary to consistently assess the developments needed in the curriculum to respond to the growing needs of Filipino students.

Also mentioned in the Situational Report of the CHR is the call for forging stronger partnerships between the government and the labour industry to ensure that all K-12 graduates are able to equally access all job opportunities aligned to their respective fields and interests. It is also important that we always include the marginalised and vulnerable groups in the picture of educational development such as indigenous peoples, persons with disability, and those who need financial support to move forward in their studies and career.

The CHR lauds the efforts of our lawmakers for their unwavering drive to improve the Philippines’ education system. To genuinely look forward to a more productive workforce and a responsive labour market, it is incumbent upon us to prioritise the holistic development of every Filipino student by bridging the gap between education and employment. We are hopeful that the Batang Magaling Act, if passed, will help all K-12 graduates secure a better future according to each of their chosen paths.###