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.
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Could the Philippines Afford a Year Without School?
Philippines president Duterte recently stated that he will not allow schools to be opened this coming school year without a vaccine against the novel corona virus. Of course, without a vaccine in sight for at least 18 months from now, this suggests that schools may be closed for the entire school year. Distance learning is likewise not feasible since a large number of students do not have access to laptops and the internet. So, perhaps, the Philippines can use this time to reboot its educational system. After all, the past years have shown that basic education in the Philippines has been failing miserably.
The COVID-19 situation in the Philippines, like in most countries in the globe, does not look promising. Testing is obviously not widely available in the Philippines so it is not known how widespread COVID-19 really is. As of today, less than 0.3 percent of the population have been tested and about 5 percent of those who have been tested turned positive. This is certainly much better than most states in the US, but with a very low testing rate and without random sampling, one cannot rely on the current data and trend. During the past 24 hours, the country just reported its highest number of cases discovered for a day, 539.
Since COVID-19 has been widespread for the past few months, it is clear that person-to-person transmission occurs readily in indoor spaces. Even without social distancing of 6 feet between pupils, classrooms in schools in the Philippines are already overcrowded. Some schools even employ multiple shifts in some urban areas. The Philippines cannot possibly open schools without dramatically increasing the COVID-19 infection rate. Thus, the Philippines president is indeed justified to keep schools closed until a vaccine is available.
This one year suspension of classes is a time that can be used to reexamine the basic educational system in the country. It is a time to look closely at the curriculum. It is an opportunity to address the technology challenges of the schools. If schools are closed, at least, someone should correct the numerous errors found in schools' textbooks. Perhaps, something could be achieved this year, something better than students spending another year in failing schools.
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…