DepEd's K to 12, What Must Be Done
|Lack of classrooms has always been a major problem. (Cynthia Sumagaysay- DelRosario)|
|This lone bookshelf, containing very old and dilapidated books, is supposed to serve the 2,000 plus students of Santa Monica Elementary School. (Cynthia Sumagaysay- DelRosario)|
|Some ongoing construction to add more rooms, yet despite that, the number of students every year grows faster than the number of available rooms for them. (Cynthia Sumagaysay- DelRosario)|
|Room under construction.. (Cynthia Sumagaysay- DelRosario)|
|This room was intended for the library, but due to the lack of rooms and the growing number of students every year (the school has 2,000+ enrolled students this year), the library took a back seat (can you spot the lone shelf on the wall?). (Cynthia Sumagaysay- DelRosario)|
|The class now occupying the space intended for the library. (Cynthia Sumagaysay- DelRosario)|
|Excited students on their second day of school... (Cynthia Sumagaysay- DelRosario)|
|The Barangay Hall of Quinale, Paete, Laguna|
|For the past ten years, the Sangguniang Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan have been providing aid (school supplies) to more than 200 students in the area|
|The school supplies include a bag, notebooks, crayons, etc.|
|Barangay Quinale OIC Josie with members of the Sangguniang Kabataan of Quinale|
These photos speak for themselves. DepEd has claimed that shortages are confined to schools within the National Capital Region. This is simply not true. There are news coming from as far as Abra and Ilocos saying that volunteers have been utilized to answer shortages in teachers last year and this coming school year and some of these volunteers have not even received their honoraria for the past year that they have served.
|In the meantime, DepEd is stretching its resources to implement its K to 12 curriculum. Photo downloaded from http://guroako.blogspot.com/2012/04/training-of-traners-day-0.html|
Community involvement as seen in Quinale and as illustrated by the Book Bridge helps greatly. The shortages could be met more satisfactorily if DepEd prioritizes and accepts the reality of "First things first". While individuals and non government organizations are doing as much as they could to help Philippine basic education, DepEd should not be wasting its limited and much-needed resources on a new curriculum that will fail without addressing the shortages first.
Kindergarten is here so DepEd must focus on this new year in elementary schooling. The other items should wait simply because there are not enough funds to do all things at once. One week of teacher training does not address the problems Philippine teachers are facing. Teachers are at the heart of education and their needs must be met first. One of the things one of my colleagues here at Georgetown could not understand is how DepEd is able to push this K to 12 curriculum without consultation. Reforms in education that will work can only come from the teachers, teachers who have the time and resources to reflect and contemplate on their teaching. Innovation in teaching comes with a commitment, which I do not doubt Philippine teachers have. These teachers have been working for so long for a very low salary. It is evident that these teachers chose to teach not because of financial rewards, but because of a genuine commitment to the education of the young. What is necessary is to equip these teachers with what they need so that they could do a better job. And it must begin with just compensation.
Education reforms, the one that worked in Finland, took a great deal of time. This appears to be necessary for a reform to succeed. The Philippines cannot afford to launch one reform after another, as it has done in the past thirty years, each one being very ambitious and very big in scope. The two characteristics, resourcefulness and conservatism, are very important. Finland succeeded by first planting the seeds required for a ground-to-top transformation of its educational system. Finland focused first on its teachers, equipping them with what they need to succeed. Finland's society first recognized not just in words, but clearly in action, the importance of the teaching profession.
To characterize opposition to DepEd's K to 12 as mere "resistance to change" is grossly misleading. Those who oppose DepEd's K to 12 are equally committed to improving the quality of basic education in the Philippines.
The Philippines may not be able to answer the 6% GDP (This is the true international standard that the Philippine must aspire to achieve, not the number of years of education) required for funding basic education. This is acceptable in the current economic situation. What seems to be unreasonable is for DepEd to spend on things other than addressing these shortages first. I end this article with a press release from the Alliance of Concerned Teachers:
by Act Phils on Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 6:08am ·
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said it is normal for any plan of reform to be met with resistance. “However, we need to overcome this resistance in order to put our education system at par with international standards to ensure that our graduate will have the necessary skills and qualifications,” she said.
“How can our students gain skills when even the kindergarten program and the rest of our education system are already bursting with problems?” Ms. France Castro, Secretary-general of Alliance of Concerned Teachers said.
The photos and videos from all over the country highlighted the shortages in basic inputs in our educational system. School administrators and teachers were also disoriented on how to go about the K-12 because of half-baked trainings done last summer.
”President Aquino and the Department of Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro, what more proof do you need to stop implementing Phase 2 of K-12? Stubborn students like President Aquino and his minions need special assessment sessions with teachers. We think that we must call on their masters too to stop deceiving the Filipino youth and the people in general," Ms. France Castro lamented.
Instead of listening well and investigating properly the situation on the ground, PNoy and his minions are fixated to implement K-12. Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda admitted that at present, there is a shortage of 50,000 classrooms “but we cannot wait for the classrooms to be built before we implement the K to12 program”.
“This is sheer madness because they consciously are putting at risk our children’s future aptitude for learning inside overcrowded classrooms, in the corridors, in tents, makeshift rooms under the stairways among others,” Ms France Castro commented.
“A noble intention to improve the quality of education requires a thorough assessment and planning thereof. Our education system as it is now is not ready for the K to12 education program. An ill-conceived plan and program such as President Aquino’s K to12 education program must be aborted,” Ms. France Castro ended.
References: Mr. Benjie Valbuena, Vice-Chairperson, Cellphone No. 09182399222; 09162294515
Ms. France Castro, Secretary General, Cellphone No. 09178502124
Media Liaison – Zenie Lao, Cellphone No. 0919819890; 09174998608