We need to add two years to our basic education. Those who can afford pay up to fourteen years of schooling before university. Thus, their children are getting into the best universities and the best jobs after graduation. I want at least 12 years for our public school children to give them an even chance at succeeding.”– President Benigno S. Aquino III
The first time I heard about the K+12 Basic Education Program, perhaps I was one of those millions who disagreed in this project. It’s not because I hate changes but like others, I considered financial reasons. For my almost 20 years in this field, I saw different walks of life. How the parents tried their best to send their children to school with the hope of bringing diploma after 4 years. That within these years there were times that these children need to be absent because they don’t have money to buy food nor to pay their bus fare. That’s why adding another 2 years of education is quite negative to me, until I was able to read the discussion paper of the K+12 Basic Education Program, which enlightened my negative acceptance of the said project. And this is exactly I would like to share to everyone, Its….
1. Enhancing the quality of basic education in the Philippines is urgent and critical. Thus, we have to come up with a proposal to enhance our basic education program in a manner that is least disruptive to the current curriculum, most affordable to government and families, and aligned with international practice. 2. The poor quality of basic education is reflected in the low achievementscores of Filipino students. Many students who finish basic education do not possess sufficient mastery of basic competencies. One reason is that students do not get adequate instructional time or time on task. The National Achievement Test (NAT) for grade 6 in SY 2009-2010 passing rate is only 69.21%. Although this is already a 24% improvement over the SY 2005-2006 passing rate, further reforms are needed to achieve substantial improvement. The NAT for high school is 46.38% in SY 2009-2010, a slight decrease from 47.40% in SY 2008-2009. 3. International tests results like 2003 TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) rank the Philippines 34th out of 38 countries in HS II Math and 43rd out of 46 countries in HS II Science; for grade 4, the Philippines ranked 23rd out of 25 participating countries in both Math and Science In 2008, even with only the science high schools participating in the Advanced Mathematics category, the Philippines were ranked lowest. 4. The congested curriculum partly explains the present state of education. The current basic education is designed to teach a 12-year curriculum, yet it is delivered in just 10 years. 5. This quality of education is reflected in the inadequate preparation of high school graduates for the world of work or entrepreneurship or higher education. High school graduates also do not possess the basic competencies or emotional maturity essential for the world of work. About 70.9% of the unemployed are at least high school graduates and 80% of the unemployed are 15-34 years old). While the availability of economic opportunities contributes to this, it also illustrates the mismatch in the labor and education markets. 6. Further, most graduates are too young to enter the labor force. This implies that those who do not pursue higher education would be unproductive or be vulnerable to exploitative labor practices. Those who may be interested to set up business cannot legally enter into contracts. 7. 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 8. 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 Washington Accord prescribes 12-years basic education as an entry to recognition of engineering professionals. The Bologna Accord requires 12 years of education for university admission and practice of profession in European countries. 9. 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 higher education disciplines. 10. Cognizant of this urgent and critical concern and in line with the priorities of the Aquino Administration, the Department of Education is taking bold steps to enhance the basic education curriculum. 11. 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.” .” 12. K+12 mean Kindergarten and the 12 years of elementary and secondary education. Under the K+12, the intention is not just to add two years of schooling but more importantly to enhance the basic education curriculum.The goal of the Enhanced K+12 Basic Education Program is “to create a functional basic education system that will produce productive and responsible citizens equipped with the essential competencies and skills for both life-long learning and employment. That is to give every student an opportunity to receive quality education based on an enhanced and decongested curriculum that is internationally recognized and comparable, to change public perception that high school education is just a preparation for college; rather, it should allow one to take advantage of opportunities for gainful career or employment and/or self-employment in a rapidly changing and increasingly globalized environment”. (Dep. Ed discussion paper 05 October 2010)
With the programs’ vision and guiding principles, expected benefits will surely comes along the way. And no matter what, no matter how, the K+12 enhanced education programs is created not to give us another 2 years of financial burden, but rather believe that it is made to prepare our children to a much brighter and promising tomorrow.
By: Ms. Josephine G. Nacar | MTII-Science | MNHS-Cabcaben