DepEd K to 12: A Second Overview

First Overview.

The articles posted in this blog in the past month covered a wide range of issues regarding DepEd's K to 12. By now, it should be obvious that criticisms against DepEd's K to 12 do not merely claim that the program is bound to fail. Instead, much of the criticism points to the fact that DepEd's K to 12 is simply wrong. These criticisms should not be regarded as mere refusal to change, but informed voices showing that DepEd's K to 12 is the wrong way for the Philippine government to take. Here are the recent posts in this blog grouped according to their main message:

1. Teachers, Teachers, TEACHERS!

DepEd's K to 12 is a case of misplaced priorities. The new curriculum assumes that both length and content of basic education are the main determinants of the quality of basic education. DepEd's K to 12 focuses on the how, when and what should be taught inside the classrooms. Teachers are therefore regarded as mere channels for K to 12, not active contributors to the education of the youth. Several articles have been posted in this blog to highlight the importance of teachers in public education. Philippine basic education can not progress if the current plight of teachers is not addressed.

DepEd's K to 12 proponents point to comparison against other countries to justify the new curriculum, yet the glaring difference is missed. Successful education programs treat teachers with respect and a decent wage. In "DepEd's K to 12 Misses the Real Difference: Teacher Salaries", a strong case is made showing how underpaid teachers in the Philippines are compared to those of other countries. In "Teachers' Salaries: Key to Quality Education", a detailed analysis made by Israel, comparing its education with that of Finland, arrives at the same important conclusion: "Teacher salaries seem to explain Finnish students’ success, Israeli mediocrity". Benjo Basas of the Teachers Dignity Coalition explains the "Simple Mathematics" that the government fails to see in its pursuit of the new curriculum. Thus, although the national budget for education has been increasing, misplaced priorities mark "DepEd's K to 12 Fuzzy Math and Logic".

Whatever we do will not matter
as long as we continue to neglect our teachers.
Such is the simple math of basic education.
Teacher groups like the Alliance of Concerned Teachers continue to rally for better salaries as school bells rang in unison to bring awareness to their current predicament. The Teachers Dignity Coalition has issued a challenge to the Aquino government to attend to the needs of the teachers first, "This is the high time to discuss the pending bills on teachers’ salaries and this is far more important than the proposed K-12 program of the government." Even Microsoft's Bill Gates recognizes that "Working with Teachers is Rule Number One".  The fact that teachers groups are unhappy with the current programs of the Aquino administration is expressed in report cards issued that relay a failing mark for President Aquino ("Teachers retain FAILED remarks on PNoy's Report Card"). The rise of "Shadow Education" when teachers are underpaid is already a cause for alarm. Teachers in the Philippines, if given the support they need, can uplift Philippine basic education as related in "A Tale of Two Teachers". The commitment is there even in the voices of two child laborers who shared with us their dreams in "Who Here Wants to Be a Teacher?" Yet, these bells and voices were either not heard or were simply ignored.

2. DepEd's K to 12 Curriculum is NOT good.

Perhaps, by cutting to the chase and being one hundred percent clear, the message may finally get through. Several articles posted in this blog demonstrate the low quality of the curriculum:

3. The Right Principles that Should Guide Education Reform

A lot of the discussion on this angle have been borrowed from Finland's successful education reform. This successful reform did not happen overnight but took more than two decades since it was founded more on values and substance, and not on superficial aspects of education. "Quality Is Not in Numbers But in Substance" begins the discussion by going to the roots of quality basic education. "Classrooms: An Environment for Learning" maintains that changing a curriculum is a much easier easy task, but this does not translate directly to the education of the youth. The classrooms and the teachers in these classrooms do. "Remedial Education: A Bridge to Nowhere?" highlights the fact that if wrong education reforms are pursued, the cost is enormous since remedies often do not work. Giving K to 12 a chance to succeed allows for critical errors to be made, which will simply haunt Philippine basic education for years to come. "A Tale of Two Education Reforms" compares the vision of President Aquino against the values that made Finland's basic education the best in the world. This blog maintains that a good education must never compromise the goal of providing education for all in "Mothers picket DepEd QC, protest 10K homeschoolers...", "Education for All versus Individualized Learning", and "On Human Rights, Linguistic Rights, and Mother-Tongue Based Multilingual Education". 

Alternative frames of mind are needed to improve basic education in the Philippines. These viewpoints are shared in the following:

Indeed, there are numerous articles to read. The Philippine Collegian has nicely provided an infographic "By the Dozen", and more than a year ago:

The fact that it will aggravate the financial burden of parents and that the Aquino proposed education budget cannot resolve the shortages even under the current 10-year system clearly explains the program's foolishness. The education budget clearly explains why the K-12 program is a stupid move. Education budgets for the past years were unable to resolve the ballooning shortages in basic education and with the current proposed budget under Aquino, the shortages will continue to balloon. Adding two years will just add salt to the already rotting wound of basic education.

—Ayla Garduce, The Daily Tribune

To expect change is indeed a faraway dream. But this blog will continue and stay, at least to keep reminding us of what we should really do for basic education.

- Manny Olalia Quemuel
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  1. For me, this program might be the solution of Philippine Education. Thanks for sharing this news and keep on posting.

    Josh of Inquirer Philippine Education


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