A blog that tackles issues on basic education (in the Philippines and the United States) including early childhood education, the teaching profession, math and science education, medium of instruction, poverty, and the role of research and higher education.
SUNDAY, 03 JUNE 2012 20:28 THE BUSINESSMIRROR EDITORIAL
THE government’s new “K+12” program, which begins with kindergarten, six years of elementary education, four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school, is supposed to make Filipino students more competitive with the rest of the world by extending our school system to match theirs.
The Philippines has an education cycle of 10 years preparatory to university while most other countries have 12 years.
The government believes we need two more years to catch up with other countries’ 12-year curriculum, to make our graduates just as competitive, productive and employable as their foreign counterparts—and a lot of academics and even most in the business community agree.
But that is granting that those additional two years would be quality years added to a vastly improved education system.
If this week’s opening of public-school classes could be used as a barometer, then it doesn’t inspire much confidence in the K+12 program at all. Indeed, it even bolsters its critics’ argument that the government needs to take care of basic needs first before any tinkering with the curriculum could be successful. Two more years of the same poor system simply won’t cut it.
Citing information provided by the Department of Education (DepEd), ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio said public schools face a shortage of 132,483 teachers, 97,685 classrooms and 153,709 water and sanitation facilities in the school year 2012-2013.
Tinio disputed the lower figures cited by the DepEd for teacher and classroom shortages.
“The DepEd claims that it will have the teacher shortage down to 11,620 by the end of the school year. But that’s only because they included 49,000 contractual teachers funded by local government units and around 20,000 volunteer kindergarten teachers employed by the DepEd in their accounting. In truth, these teachers are generally grossly underpaid and deprived of basic workers’ benefits because of the contractual nature of their employment. The DepEd has a legal obligation to regularize them,” Tinio said.
The DepEd also said it would be able to construct 30,000 to 40,000 new classrooms this school year through a public-private partnership scheme. But Tinio noted that these classrooms will not be ready by June and it still remains to be seen whether the PPP scheme will deliver.
“The alarming shortage in water and sanitation facilities, meaning clean toilets, faucets, sinks and running water, will mean that our 21.5 million schoolchildren will continue to suffer unsanitary conditions in our public schools, exposing them to health risks and outbreaks of disease,” Tinio said.
Should the government be adding two more years when even now it doesn’t have enough money to fill basic deficiencies like the shortages of teachers, classrooms and water and sanitation facilities?
The argument is largely moot as the Education department had started the phased implementation of K+12 in 2011, with the institutionalized public kindergarten program for five year olds, and it is now implementing the new curriculum for Grade 1 and first-year high school this June.
Still, these questions need to be asked. For instance, if we don’t have enough classrooms or teachers or toilets, how much more can we provide for the expensive tools and equipment needed for the additional two years in senior high school, which is supposed to serve as a specialization period for high-school students, whether in vocational-technical or other employable skills, so that they could pursue jobs even with just a basic education diploma? The tools needed for vocational-technical education are by no means cheap.
Malacañang said it understands the opposition to the new curriculum because there’s always a bit of resistance and reluctance when change is involved. But present conditions of the country’s existing educational facilities show on the contrary that not much change has occurred after all. Two more years of public education with its poor facilities, overcrowded classrooms and overworked, underpaid and underqualified teachers is actually two more years of the same ills that has plagued our education system for the longest time.
And we can’t blame parents, students and even teachers if they tell themselves in exasperation that an additional two years of schooling like this is the last thing they need.
Congestion means overcrowding. In simple terms, there is too much in too little space or time. To avoid congestion one can either increase space or time, or reduce whatever is taking space or time. In introducing K to 12 to the Philippines, the Department of Education made the claim, "...the sad state of basic education can be partly attributed to the congested basic education curriculum." A closer examination of DepEd's K to 12, however, reveals not a decongestion, but a reduction of instructional hours across the first ten years of education.
Here are the changes for elementary school:
There is a reduction in both languages and mathematics of about 10 percent in instructional time. Below are the changes in secondary school:
Here, the decrease in instructional hours is even greater. Science, for instance suffers a 33 percent reduction. Adding two years to basic education may indeed look good on paper as a way of decongesting the curriculum. However, if the first ten yea…
TANONG: ANO ANG KTO12 PROGRAM? SAGOT: Ang Kto12 Program ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas ay tumutukoy sa pagkakaroon ng mandatory o required na kindergarten at karagdagang 2 taon sa dating 10-year Basic Education Cycle. Kung noon, pagkatapos ng anim na taon sa elementarya at apat na taon sa hayskul (kabuuang 10 taon) ay maaari nang makapagkolehiyo ang mga estudyante. Sa ilalim ng Kto12, bago makapagkolehiyo, kailangan pa nilang dumaan sa karagdagang 2 taon pagkatapos ng apat na taong hayskul. Sa bagong sistema, tinatawag na senior high school o junior college ang karagdagang 2 tao…
With the new K to 12 curriculum in the Philippines, various tracks are now offered in the last two years of basic education. The various options available obviously make it possible for students to find themselves later unprepared for the courses they decide to take in college. A student, for instance, who finishes the accounting business management (ABM) strand in the senior high school academic track, is now required to take additional courses if the student chooses to enroll in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) major in college. These additional courses which are now called "bridging programs" are either taken during the first year of college or over several weeks in the summer before college starts.
There are bridging programs in the United States, but these are different from the ones that are now appearing in colleges in the Philippines. In Coldwater High School in Michigan, for example, the "bridging program" is an option for students…