Aquino says job mismatch hounds K to 12 program


MANILA, Philippines – Reelecitonist Senator Bam Aquino said job mismatch for students remains a perennial problem in the K to 12 curriculum.

Aquino was asked during Rappler’s #TheLeaderIWant forum on Monday, March 4, what were the “hard lessons” he learned from the implementation of the Kindergarten to Grade 12 program in the country. 

“Ang mahirap po sa K-12, even if I’m fully supporting K-12 – palagay ko naging mahalaga 'yong reporma na 'yon para makipagsabayan tayo sa buong mundo in terms of years of instruction – currently nakikita natin na marami talagang mismatch na nangyayari,” said Aquino, who is known for his pro-education platform.

(What’s problematic about K-12, even if I’m fully supporting K-12 – I think it is an important reform so we can keep up with the rest of the world in terms of years of instruction – currently we are seeing there are a lot of mismatch happening.) 

The Otso Diretso senatorial candidate said the promise of K to 12 was to ensure Grade 12 students are ready to enter the work force even if they no longer enter college. 

But this does not happen, as the courses being offered to students do not necessarily match the available jobs in the industry. 

“Kasi po kapag ang mga kurso ay napakalayo doon sa mga pangangailan na trabaho doon sa lugar, hindi na mama-match yong ating Grade 12 students. Magiging unemployed pa rin po sila,” said Aquino. 

(Because when the courses are far from the available jobs, the Grade 12 students will not match. they will become unemployed.) 

He explained teachers are also not able to properly prepare Grades 11 and 12 students to enter the workforce, adding to the problem of job mismatch

“‘Yong mga guro ho natin, kailangan handa rin sila na magturo ng mga kurso na bagay doon sa lugar kung saan kinalalagyan ng 'yong mga senior high schools natin. So there’s a lot of integration that needs to happen and unfortunately, hindi pa po natin nakikita ‘yan,” said Aquino.

(Our teachers must also be ready to teach the courses that would match our senior high school students to their target areas. So there’s a lot of integration that needs to happen and unfortunately, we have not yet seen this.)

The principal author of the free tuition law then said that if he is reelected to the Senate, he would push for a bill that would establish “trabaho centers” or placement offices for the Grade 12 students so students will be linked to the jobs readily available outside school. –  

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.