"Issues in Philippine Basic Education"

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) from the Bicol Region in the Philippines shares a list of current concerns regarding education in the country. The list apparently came to the attention of the teacher group as a Facebook message. It is quite different from the one shared a couple of years ago by James Paglinawan from Central Mindanao University.

Above copied from James Paglinawan
The first item on the list criticizes the lack of emphasis on reading, writing and arithmetic, and fails to see the importance of other subjects such as music and health. Based on this, the list sounds as if it does not come from an actual classroom teacher. Most teachers now recognize the significance of these subjects in elementary school. It demonstrates a lack of awareness of what we now know about how music education facilitates "language development, literacy, numeracy, measures of intelligence, general attainment, creativity, fine motor co-ordination, concentration, self-confidence, emotional sensitivity, social skills, team work, self-discipline, and relaxation", as Hallam pointed out in "The power of music: Its impact on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people".

The list mentions comic books as well. This, unlike the first one, is a good point. In fact, comic books are now often called "graphic novels". The rest of the list talks about resources that are generally lacking as well as the other numerous tasks added to the job of a teacher on top of teaching in the classroom. The list cites the lack of basic items such as blackboards and roofs but then digresses into preferring flat screen televisions over projectors. And at the end of the list, a full acceptance of DepEd's K to 12 would have been possible if everyone is prepared. DepEd's K to 12 is indeed ill-prepared, but its flaws go beyond preparation and resources. The K to 12 curriculum is bad for Philippine basic education even if it came with all the necessary resources.

Anyway, here is the list:

This is a message from inbox.

Dear ACT Bicol:

Greetings of peace and goodwill!


1. The primary grades from Kindergarten to Grade 3 is in need the full attention to learn the 3R’s namely, reading, writing and arithmetic. Our pupils are suffocated nowadays with so many subjects that are not yet needed like music, health etc. Music (simple songs) and Health (simple parts of the body) before are integrated in any lessons in Grade 1 and 2 even Kinder. The simple learning of how to read, write and count are now taken for granted because of lack of number of minutes.

2. In terms of reading, pupils are interested in colored drawings like the comics that we used to. The pupils of 70’s and 80’s are fond of reading comics with adventures, funny, actions that gave us more opportunity to learn more how to read because the dialogue are illustrated as well.

3. Government must produce more interesting reading materials that is suited to the learners. Pupils are instead go to their gadgets because it is more colorful and more interactive. DepEd must print also more and more charts in reading especially for elementary. Some of this are commercialized but how if the teacher cannot afford to buy those instructional materials that supposed to be free from the government. The simple picture of the parts of the body for grade 1 and a picture of a hammer for grade 6 must be bought by the teachers in a store.

4. Teachers have so many added activities and paperworks that most of the time are not included anymore in their duties and functions as teacher. Teachers in primary have 8-10 subjects to prepare, lesson plans, DLL and make an improvised teaching aids daily, if the teacher will make all of these in a half day instead of teaching, do we think we can give our pupils the quality of education we are expecting?

5. Most of the time newly hired teachers are given bare classrooms, don’t even have blackboards and roofing etc. The school will advise him to approach the homeroom PTA, that some also cannot afford to contribute. The teachers therefore will take a loan in some loan sharks just to augment the needs of his classroom so to make it conducive and inviting to learners.

6. I suggest that if the budget for a classroom must include the necessary amenities needed both by the teacher and the learner.

7. The 21st Century teachers must be equipped with an audio visual room to deliver all the new instructions and curriculum required by the K to 12 Program. They need Laptop and Printer, Internet connectivity, a Flat TV with USB connected in a sound system will do instead of expensive projectors that lasts only for 3 yrs the most. Many lesson presentations can be shown in a flat tv than in projectors. Less training is needed than in any complicated softwares.

8. The “Laptop for Teacher Program” will help, it was just opposed by one of the director in DepEd IT. We have the DCP in every school but the sustainability is hanged due to some Procurement Policies of the School MOOE.

9. The meager salary of teachers is trending nowadays knowing the fact that most the time, teachers only have their net take home pay of 3,500 monthly. It is because of so many loans that they are attending.

10. I also suggest the 15/30 salary system, this will help augment the very long span of salary arrival that tempts the teacher to loan just to sustain the family needs.

11. We are not against the Kto12 BEP, only that we should be prepared in terms of everything, the first batch of this program are the sacrificial lamb because their materials are distributed midyear and in most cases last quarter and none any. Teachers are just advised to download them from the internet, print and produce at cost. Some grade levels don’t have yet their learning materials.

Thank you very much.
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