To protect the senior high school (SHS) students who will be undergoing hands-on experience or work simulation, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has constituted a Technical Working Group for K to 12 Work Immersion Program (TWG for K12-WIP).
The creation of the DOLE-TWG for K12-WIP is pursuant to Section 6 of Republic Act No. 10533, which is also known as the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, and Section 11, Rule II of its Implementing Rules and Regulations. It is also in consonance with Republic Act No. 9231, otherwise known as the Special Protection of Children against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.
The work immersion is part of the SHS Curriculum that consists of 80 hours of hands-on experience which the Grade 11 and 12 students will have to undergo to expose them to the actual workplace setting and enrich the competencies provided by the school.
The TWG is chaired by Assistant Secretary Alex V. Avila of the Employment and Policy Support Cluster, with Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR), Bureau of Local Employment (BLE), Bureau of Workers with Special Concern (BWSC), Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC), and Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC) as members.
The TWG for K12-WIP will coordinate with the Department of Education (DepEd) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in developing a policy that ensures skill acquisition without compromising the protection and safety of SHS students in implementing the K to 12 Work Immersion Program.
DOLE, DepEd, and TESDA will jointly promulgate the policy, subject to consultation with relevant stakeholders. Moreover, the DOLE-TWG for K12-WIP shall continuously ensure the soundness and effectiveness of the Joint Guidelines in relation to K to 12 Work Immersion Program.
In addition, the Technical-Vocational institutions offering SHS shall also be governed by the DepEd guidelines on the 80-hour work immersion. All applicable safety guidelines of TESDA and DOLE relevant to the basic education shall apply.
Furthermore, work immersion shall not be considered as employment arrangement but only to serve the K-12 Program purpose of exposing the students to actual workplace setting and augment the competencies provided by the schools.
As provided for in the labor advisory, the work immersion of SHS students shall be allowed only between 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
The work immersion of students below 15 years old and with permission from their parent or guardian, shall not be longer than four hours in any given day.
SHS students, regardless of age, shall not be allowed for work immersion in industries and activities considered as hazardous in accordance with DOLE Department Order No. 149, Series of 2016, or the Guidelines in Assessing and Determining Hazardous Work in the Employment of Person below 18 Years of Age.
It is also provided that the work immersion shall in no case result in the replacement of or diminution of benefits of the workers in the partner enterprise or company.
Meanwhile, the BLE shall be the overall Secretariat of the DOLE-TWG for K12-WIP and shall provide reports as the need arises. To ensure a thorough and extensive policy issuance, other DOLE agencies are directed to provide assistance as necessary.