Despite the lack of classrooms, teachers and textbooks, the Department of Education is determined to implement the K+12 basic education curriculum starting School Year 2012-2013. Thus, grade six graduates this year will be Grade 7 next year. The full implementation of the program is expected in SY 2018.
The K+12 or K-6-4-2 basic education program stretches the country’s current 10 – year education program to involve Kindergarten, six years of elementary, four years of junior high school (Grades 7-10) and two years of senior high school (Grads 11-12). At present, the Philippines is the sole country in Asia having a 10-year basic education program.
Department of Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro said that the K+12 education program aims to address the deficiencies of the Philippine Basic Education Curriculum as well as enhance the competitiveness of the high school curriculum. Education officials and curriculum experts earlier noticed that Filipino pupils and students have deficiencies in competencies in the core subjects of English, Math and Science as shown in their performance in achievement tests, either national or international, as a result of the congested curriculum.
Secretary Luistro further said that the additional two years in the basic education program should not be viewed as an added financial burden rather a chance for the Filipino youths to find works easier and get more stable jobs not only in the country but internationally as well.
What is K-12. The K+12 basic education program aims to give every student an opportunity to receive quality education based on an enhanced and decongested curriculum that is internationally recognized and comparable. It seeks to change public perception that high school education is just a preparation for college, rather, it should allow one to take advantage of opportunities for gainful career or employment and/or self employment in a rapidly changing environment and increasingly globalized environment.
The K-12 curriculum decongests academic workload by giving the students more time to master competencies and skills and more time for other learning opportunities outside the classroom, allowing the students for a more holistic development. The enhanced curriculum will further equipped the students with necessary competencies and prepare them better for higher education.
How will it be done? The program revises the country’s current education program having ten years only. The implementation of the program starts by the compulsory Kindergarten education. According to Luistro, all children aged five year old should be enrolled in Kindergarten classes before they enter Grade 1. He further added that Kindergarten is needed before they enter Grade 1 so that they will have no difficulties adjusting to the formal school set up. “Children who directly proceed to Grade 1 have a hard time adjusting to their new environments and lessons compared to children who have Kindergarten experiences”, Bro. Luistro noted. The Universal Kindergarten Program kicked off in SY 2011-2012.
The Senior Year, which is the two years added, will focus on skills development. In a statement, Dr. Isagani Cruz, former DepEd Secretary and K-12 Consultant explained in a conference, that the Senior Year is two years of in depth specialization for students depending on what career path they would like to pursue in the future. “This will allow specializations in different fields such as Business, Entrepreneurship, Sports, Music, Arts and Science and Technology, and more”, he added. The additional two years is free in public schools.
Minus 2 plus 2. Presently, parents should send their children to four years of college before they become “employable”. The Senior Year operates based on the Minus two plus two principle. Because students are technically and technologically equipped after they finish the Senior High School, they could already find good paying jobs. This is good news for parents who could not afford to send their children to college. In effect, parents can save two years of expenses. Minus 2 plus 2 thus mean that parents can save two years of expenses before their children can be considered employable by adding two years in high school.
Students who go through the 12-year education program will get an elementary diploma (6 years), a junior high school diploma (4 years) and a senior high school diploma (2 years).
By SY 2018-2019, a full 12 years of basic education will be required of students who will enter college.
Reservations and Apprehensions. “There is no additional workload that will be assigned to public school teachers in the implementation of the K-12”, DepEd says. The statutory teaching hours will still be followed. The Magna Carta for Public School Teachers state that public school teachers use only six hours for actual classroom teaching. This will enable them to have more time to prepare their lessons. Thus, the enhanced curriculum will give teachers more time devoted to lessons preparation and participate in related trainings.
When asked whether private schools are required to implement Grade 7 by June 2012, Bro. Luistro said that private schools are supportive of the program but there has been no final commitment yet whether they will already impose Grade 7 by June 2012.
(With reference from K+12 Briefer of DepEd and reports from www.deped.gov.ph)