June 4, 2011
The recent post in yahoo news dated June 2 about the institutionalization of K+12 program in the country has stirred more negative reactions than positive from readers due mainly to lack of significant knowledge of the rationale and importance of the program.
Many look at the programs as additional burden for the parents instead of opportunities and a misplaced priority on the part of DepEd and the national government. They pointed out that DepEd should seek first to improve the quality of education, solve the shortage of classrooms, textbooks, and teachers. They are also admonishing for more increase in the salary of teachers.
They do have a point but considering that these problems have been here for decades and that the government is not stopping to lessen if not totally eradicate these, they are misled failing to realize that reforms like K+12 or an additional years to the 10-year basic education cycle is necessary due too many circumstances that even history of education in the country as early as 1925 up to 2008 has consistently recommends.
Intensified information dissemination campaign already started since the closing of SY 2010-2011 has to be strengthened to boost public awareness and acceptance of the program or it could end up to the shelves of antiquity just like the proposed Bridged Program in 2004.
Rationale of K+12
DepEd Discussion Paper on the Enhanced K+12 Basic Education Program explains that the current basic education is designed to teach a 12-year curriculum, yet it is delivered in just 10 years. This pronouncement is loud and clear for the field could testify to this. Teachers find a hard time finishing the required curriculum content even when new approaches in teaching such as Content-Based and Thematic Approach have been introduced and encouraged—the result, lack of mastery.
The World Bank Philippines Skills Report in 2009 reveals, based on a survey of employers, serious gaps in critical skills of graduates such as problem-solving, initiative and creativity, and, to a lesser extent, gaps in job-specific technical skills.
Further, most graduates are too young to enter the labor force. This implies that those who could not go on to college would be unproductive (tambay) and unemployed and are highly at risked to vices as a result of barkada or peer influence or be vulnerable to exploitative labor practices if they chose to work for the family’s upkeep. Those who may be interested to set up their own business and be an entrepreneur cannot legally enter into contracts. Most of our youths graduate high school at the age of 15 or 16.
The current system also reinforces the misperception that basic education is just a preparatory step for higher education. For most parents, basic education is usually seen as a preparation for college education. Even this misperception falls short of expectations as most students usually have to take remedial and high school level classes in colleges and universities.
The short duration of the basic education program also puts the millions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), especially the professionals, and those who intend to study abroad at a disadvantage. Our graduates are not automatically recognized as professionals abroad. Filipinos face mutual recognition problem in other countries that view the 10-year education program as insufficient. The Philippines is the only country in Asia and among the three remaining countries in the world that has a 10-year basic education program. The other two are African countries, Djibouti and Angola. The Washington Accord prescribes 12-years basic education as an entry to recognition of engineering professionals. The Bologna Accord on the other hand requires 12 years of education for university admission and practice of profession in European countries.
Just try to imagine the flight of engineers and other professionals who opt to work to these countries which offer a much higher salary than their counterparts in Asia, Middle East and Africa. Their degrees are not recognized on equal footing with their foreign counterparts so many of them end up as assistants and will find a hard time to prove their worth.
If there could be some that we learned from TV who succeeded in their field of expertise, there are too few of them and mostly limited to the best, extremely competent, intelligent and outstanding professionals. The majority, don’t.
More importantly, the short basic education program affects the human development of the Filipino children. A Filipino is legally a child before he or she turns 18 years old. Psychologists and educators say that children under 18 are generally not emotionally prepared for entrepreneurship or employment or are generally not emotionally prepared for entrepreneurship or employment or higher education disciplines.
K+12 on Final Note
Cognizant of this urgent and critical concern, the Department of Education is taking bold steps to enhance the basic education curriculum. Hand in hand with vigorous efforts to address the input shortages such as classrooms, instructional materials and teachers, DepEd intends to raise the quality of basic education through the enhancement of the curriculum and the expansion of the basic education cycle.
The department down the different school heads and teachers are one in doing its best to raise not only quality but most importantly reaching universal participation and zero drop out rates through the help and involvement of various stakeholders.
Apart from these, the Enhanced K+12 Basic Education Program seeks to provide for a quality 12- year basic education program that each Filipino is entitled to. This is consistent with Article XIV, Section 2(1) of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which states that “The State shall establish, maintain, and support a complete, adequate, and integrated system of education relevant to the needs of the people and society.”
For the country, relevant means not only locally but globally in response to international standards being a member of the family of nations of the world.
Gorospe, Marjorie. PH Only Country in Asia with 10-year Basic Education-DepEd, Yahoo News, June 2, 2011
Department of Education. Discussion Paper on the Enhance K+12 Basic Education Program, 5 October 2010