K+12 better called K9

by Pet Melliza/ the Beekeeper

One need not look far to conclude that DepED’s “K+12” be better renamed “K-9” if only to remind us of dogs. Youth and students, teachers and parents are up in arms against it. And for reasons. K+12 is useless. 

Take the primary school at Brgy. Tubang, Maasin, Iloilo: it has a three-room building for all grades one to four. Only two are classrooms; the third serves as administrative office and stockroom. There are two teachers, each handling two grades.Tubang Primary School, two kilometers from the poblacion of Maasin, has 50 plus students. One teacher handles grades one and two, the other grades three and four. The two grades learn simultaneously in one sitting, not alternately. Each has its own chalkboard; pupils of one sit face back of counterparts in the other grade.The teachers, both females, say they are “used” to it anyway. “I juggle my time; I give seatwork to one grade while lecturing to the other,” one explains.

We passed by Tubang Primary School a week ago as of this writing; we were with a team of provincial employees holding “pulong-pulong” (forum) with land reform beneficiaries urging them to pay real property taxes. I took the opportunity to take pictures and talk with the teachers. The DepEd invented K+12 to improve public education, kunu. It adds a mandatory grade, kindergarten, for 4-5-year olds as requisite for first grade when they are 6. The schooling runs through grade 12 to qualify students for college.Brgy. Tubang Primary School still has no kindergarten today; it can’t comply with K+12 for an obvious reason, what with government even unable to provide for two more classrooms and at least two more instructors to accommodate all four grades.

Shortage of classrooms and teachers is a worse headache of parents and students in the Philippines yet government skirts it still slings another millstone on their necks, the K+12.It looks like it is the top apparatchiks of government who should be at the top list of persons to go through K+12 if only to teach them common sense.Instead of K+12, we can, for one, inculcate knowledge and public awareness among public school teachers and students by enlisting them in the fight against dengue and leptospirosis sweeping Iloilo province and city. The problem is serious: from January through June 2, dengue downed 377 persons in Iloilo Province killing 11 of them. That figure, says provincial health officer Ma. Socorro Quinon, is 165% higher than that of the same period last year which has 131 cases with one death.This year’s affliction is also worse than that in 2010 in the first half though dengue cases in the second semester of 2010 escalated making it to 6,448 cases with 32 deaths from January 1 through December 4.

Meanwhile, in Iloilo City dengue afflicted 529 persons killing six from January through May, the city health office reported.Leptospirosis, a disease carried by rats, infected 229 persons in Iloilo Province, 10 of them died as of June 2 this year. The provincial health office reports that the record is 222.5% higher over the same period last year.Dengue is not just a health issue but an environmental one as well, according to columnist-friend Larry Locara. It is also an agricultural concern. Gone are the days when spiders and other predators abound. Even Iloilo City had them once in abundance, too. The rainy season multiplies the population of dengue mosquitoes and other pests; but neither hunger, dengue nor lepstospirosis were problem in those yonder years when farms, rice paddies, creeks and ditches abound with frogs, fish, dragon flies, bats and other predators that prey on pests from the egg, larva, pupa and adult stages. In those years, rainy season was not “tigkiriwi” (hunger) because the land teemed with tilapia, puyu, pantat, haru-an, bull frog that kept hunger (and pests) away. However, mis-education with the Department of Agriculture and public schools being marketeers of transnational corporations, propagated harmful farm practices particularly chemicals that wiped out predators and inland fishery. It’s not yet late: we can mobilize public schools to “de-educate” people from chemical dependence and spur them to re-practice organic farming. With predators, dengue is controlled.