DepEd K to 12: A View from Cordillera

Teachers see chaos in K+12 program

Blog of the nordis Weekly, a people's newspaper for Northern Philippines
BAGUIO CITY — The local chapter of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) in the region issued a statement Friday, critical of the implementation of the K+12. It expressed that “Beneath the effort to universalize and reorganize the educational program, there is a profound anti-democratic intention.”
The “Universal Kindergarten is a national program and initiated by no less than PNoy as a centerpiece of his programs sa “Daang Matuwid”. It has no clear vision to a road of wider perspective, a muddy and rocky way towards failure.”
Laying out the situation ACT says, “Millions of school children were forced to enroll because of compulsory school attendance by the DepEd Order 37 in 2011, that all children at the age of 5 must undergo the ”Universal Kindergarten Program“ as a pre-requisite in the elementary level. And
The vey inhumane P3,000 per month pay for teachers without any provision for job security. The government is the biggest employer recruiting thousands of contractual teachers in the entire Philippines but continues to violate its own labor laws. It is against the law and very demeaning for the teachers and their integrity as a person.
The condition of the education sector, particularly the public school system, is such that with the opening of every school year, we are faced with many of the problems that we have come to regard as common givens to be faced by: overcrowded classrooms, shortage of books and other instructional materials, lack of teachers.
The statement also cited the, “Latest national figures from the Department of Education (DepEd) indicate an increasing backlog in certain important areas of concern: a shortage of teachers by 132,564, classroom shortage of 48,802, seats/desks for students of 106,000.”
It also illustrated that “the situation in the region is not much different: In Baguio City in the year 2011-2012 there were 33,776 elementary pupils enrolled in various districts and 19,226 students enrolled in the secondary level.
With this growing population of schoolchildren leaves 806 elementary teachers for 33,000 pupils and 612 secondary teachers for 19,000 students, classroom shortage of 92 in the elementary and 66 in the secondary, seats/desks shortage of 6,957 in the elementary and 2,126 in the secondary.
It continued to say that “in the province of Abra, volunteer teachers for “UK” program (Universal Kindergarten) received their first pay on December last year and it was only P6,000 per teacher and another partial payment of P2,200 in March 2012.
Last year, DepEd employed 19,063 volunteer Kindergarten teachers all over the country on contract of service status. The result is low pay and delayed salary, Multi-grade teachers and combination of classes in this very critical and degrading condition.”
The statement then registers an appeal, “Do not sacrifice the quality of education, PNoy and DepEd must step back by retracting the department order they issued recently. Just like ill-prepared lesson plans, ill-prepared programs will not reap gains.
For once, they should listen to our clamor and fulfill the requirements of a sound and quality pre-school education: build enough classrooms, more trained teachers hired on a regular basis with pay as mandated by our laws, finalize a progressive curriculum with consultations with experts and practitioners, develop sound instructional materials and trainings for teachers and teachers-aides and ensure budgetary requirements on a long term basis.
K +12 is not a concrete solution to quality education. Quality education must be ensured in a long term planning so that no child will be left behind as envisioned by this universal access to pre-school program/K +12.
In conclusion, in the statement the teachers group pointed out that, “More so, there are larger issues such as the chronic poverty and joblessness brought about by landlessness, spiraling cost of basic commodities, and the socio-political crisis inherent to a society like ours that PNoy must simultaneously address to genuinely propel our nation to progress and development.” #