Though quite a number of the populace are already amenable with the K to 12 Program of the Department of Education, still quite a larger chunk are not still convinced about its relevance even when it is already starting this school year 2012-2013. They still contend that it will be problematic. It is not surprising however because of the popular media.
Education practitioners particularly school leaders believe otherwise. Contrary to popular beliefs, the program intends to benefits families and individuals and most importantly the economy for the following reasons:
- Enhanced and Decongest the Curriculum. This set up will give students more time to master competencies and time for extra-curricular activities, thus allowing for a more holistic development. Teachers will also be able to ensure that every competencies are taught and mastered and all the necessary skills are transferred and developed. Usually teachers are not able to teach all the content of the curriculum due to time constraint particularly the competencies of the fourth quarter which are all essential and prerequisites for the next level. It is further complicated by calamities both natural and man made plus a lot of holidays and celebrations which are usually extended shortening the number that pupils and students should spent in school. What is most surprising is the fact that, we are teaching a curriculum which requires at least 12 years to finish for 10 years only!
- Acquisition and possession of skills relevant to the job market. At present, most of our graduates are either too young or lacking the necessary skills and competencies most of the companies requires. Most believe that only college education is the best way to be gainfully employed. However, even having college education is not enough and actually is not the job market needs thus many ends up factory workers, call center agents, service industry crews, repairman. For both the struggling and middle income families, it is a great waste of time of money. The K to 12 basic education curriculum will be sufficient to prepare students for work. So most parents are freed from the burden of having to spend for college just to make their children employable. It will also slowly erase the common weak thinking that college is only the best route for success and gainful employment.
- Higher opportunity for gainful employment or becoming an entrepreneur. Currently, high school graduates are not only too young but are actually ill equipped for work so if their families can't afford to send them to at least two-year technical courses end up idle. Hence they have nothing to do, they end up joining their peers or barkada and usually learn vices or worst end-up into serious trouble. If they would have been in school, it would likely be no happening. On the other hand, those who are able to finish at least two-year technical and vocational courses of commercially oriented institutions are hardly fit for work particularly those in Marine Transportation and IT because the industry commonly demands at least four years of education. With K to 12, students are given opportunity to acquire Certificates of Competency (COC’s) and National Certifications (NC’s) in accordance with TESDA training regulations thus allowing graduates to have a middle level skills which will offer them better opportunities to be gainfully employed. There will be school-industry partnership for technological and vocational (techvoc) tracks to allow students gain work experience while studying and offer opportunity to be absorbed by the companies.
- Better prepared for college. Due to enhanced curriculum that will provide relevant content and attuned with the changing needs of the times, basic education will ensure sufficient mastery of the core subjects to its graduates such that graduates may opt to pursue higher education if they choose to. Those who don’t could immediately start earning for their livelihood thus contributing already to the improvement of their families and of the economy.
- College Graduates recognized anywhere in the world. Our graduates, particularly engineers, doctors, architects, etc., could now be recognized as professionals anywhere in the world. Those who intend to study abroad will meet the entrance requirements of foreign schools. Currently, except for the middle east, our professionals are not regarded as equal in countries in America and Europe. The Washington Accord prescribes 12-year basic education as an entry to recognition of engineering professionals. On the other hand, the Bologna Accord requires 12 years of education for university admission and practice of profession in European countries.
- Economic Growth. The economy is expected to experience accelerated growth in the long run. Several studies have shown that the improvements in the quality of education increases GDP growth by as much as 2%. Studies in the UK, India and US show that additional years of schooling also have positive overall impact on society..
- Sound foundation for long-term economic development. A better educated society provides a sound foundation for long- term development for the new system will contribute to the development of emotionally and intellectually mature individuals capable of pursuing productive employment or entrepreneurship or higher education disciplines.
Not only that, the Department is only making sure that it is delivering quality education which every Filipino is entitled to. This is in consistent with Article XIV, Section 2(1) of the 1987 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.”
We Filipinos love changes. It is evident in the way we embrace almost anything that is new. Therefore, why not changes in education which after all is intended to make it relevant to the need of the times.
Of course, it would be difficult for some but it is only for the start. Once we got adapted and used to, it will be just as natural and as easy as before.
We got to remember this, “The illiterate of the new millennium is not the one who will not be able to read or write, but one who will not be able to learn, unlearn and relearn.”- 1998 Delor’s Education Report
(The writer has been working in the Department of Education as a public school teacher and school principal for sixteen and a half years. Currently, he works as Elementary School Principal II of a central elementary school in the division of Quezon. He holds Bachelor Degree and MA in Educational Management (CAR) from the Philippine Normal University, Manila)
Cue Cards Prepared by Gilbert M. Forbes as part of the Practicum on Basic Training Management and Oral Presentation Skills conducted by the National Educators Academy of the Philippines in partnership with DepEd Region IV-A (CALABARZON), April 21- 24, 2012.
Primer on the Enhanced K+12 Basic Education Program
K to 12 Basic Education Program Frequently Asked Questions as of November 25, 2011
Discussion Paper on the Enhanced K+12 Basic Education Program, October 25, 2010
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