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K to 12: Solution Towards 21st Century Quality Education

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K-to-12: Solution towards 21st Century Quality Education

        Diogenes once said, “Education is a controlling race to the young, consolation to the old, wealth to the poor, and ornament to the rich.” (Phil. Star, 2012) Education was born with the human race, grows with the human race, and will continue to grow as the human race.

        Our society is known as one of the countries around the world that gives high regard and importance to education. Evidence in this is the thrusts of the Department of Education to produce competent graduates who can follow the trends of globalization and modernization of the 21st century. Department of Education is focusing on how our country can achieve this. As we all know, DepEd is the one who holds the key responsibilities to achieve this mission if having quality education as long term solution to poverty, President Aquino signed Republic Act (RA) No. 10533or the K to 12 Act on May 5 2013. Under the K to 12 law, basic education now covers Kindergarten and 12 years of basic education, (six years of primary education), four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school. (Nomit, 2013)

        The program has the following twin objectives: (Danganan, 2012)

  1. To give every student an opportunity to receive quality education based on enhanced and decongested curriculum that is internationally recognized and comparable.
  • Develop a curriculum that is rational and focused on excellence the research based practices, uses quality materials and textbooks.
  • Produce a pool of qualified and adequately trained teachers.
  • Achieve high academic standards especially in Math, Science and English at all levels.
  • Produce graduates who are globally competitive and where credentials are recognized internationally.
  1. To change public perception that high school education is just a preparation for college; rather should allow one to take advantage of opportunities for gainful career/employment and self-employment in a rapidly changing and increasingly globalized environment; also to produce graduates who possess skills and competencies that will allow them to be productive member of the society.

With the program of the administration of enhancing the basic education academe, the congested curriculum will be solved. The teachers and students will have much time to attain the target competencies and that student will have the mastery for the lessons taught. Teachers will not be hurry to finish all the lessons and the students will not be burdened of too many projects and assignments, there will be a better and friendly environment in this situation. Therefore, they will learn better.

        A new term has become a by-word these past months in the academic and in the society --- K + 12 program of the Department of Education.

        K + 12 means kindergarten and the 12 years of elementary and secondary education --- one year in kindergarten, four years for grades 1 to 6, four years of junior high school referred to as grades 7 to 10 and two years of senior high school referred to as grades 11 to 12.

        The students will get elementary diploma, a junior high school diploma and a senior high school diploma. The two years in senior high school provide time for student to consolidate acquired skills and competencies which they can choose by specializing in science, technology, music, arts, agriculture, sports and business entrepreneurship. The 12 years of basic education is a requirement entry into the tertiary level.

        According to Plato, “the state is essentially an educational community, it is created by education and can survive only in the condition that all citizens receive an education that will enable them to make rational political decision”. (de Guzman, 2014).

        Filipinos may appear to be a society divided in so many issues but have remained to be united in the belief that investing in the education of our children can lead to the success of our country.

The government program of K to 12 has an issue. The main argument of the proponents of the program is that adding two years to the basic education curriculum will vastly improve the performance and competency of Filipino students and make Philippine basic education at par with international standards.

        This argument was never proven by quantitative research as shown in a study authored by UP Professor Abraham Felipe and FAPE Director Carolina Porio entitled “Length of School Cycle and the Quality Education.” (Tucay, 2015) It was shown that there was no basis to expect that lengthening the education cycle calendar will improve the quality of education.

        Another issue that the government should address is the implementation of K to 12 program is the shortage of classrooms. The 2-year program for the senior high school would mean additional classrooms. In its latest report to Congress, every additional year in the basic education system requires 20,000 to 28,000 classrooms. (Phil. Daily Inq., 2015)

        Further, K to 12 program also requires printing of a minimum of 60 million textbooks, since textbooks designed for the previous 10 years curriculum will be obsolete.

        The quality of institution under K to 12 program is also far from being assured. With the severe lack of facilities and teachers, the practice of shorter of instruction is set to continue.

        In a research by IBM Formulation (Phil. Daily Inq., 2015) the country deployed 4,500 workers abroad per day in 2014, for out pacing its 2,800 average daily job creation domestically. This situation will undoubtedly worsen under K to 12 program as it clearly aims to produce graduate that are readily employable by foreign companies that seek cheap labor.

        K to 12 program is designed to push students leave formal education early and not pursue college. (Tucay, 2015) In this effect the government is bringing down the age of the employment pool.

                The burden of K to 12 program on students does not stop because adding two years to basic education would mean additional costs for them and to their families. Now, more students will enrol in public school voucher system in which student who will be pushed out of public school can opt for a tuition subsidy ranging from 8,750 to 22,000php. The problem is that the voucher, even at its highest range is not enough to cover the matriculation of private schools.

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