Friday, June 03, 2011

K+12... Good thing I ended up at ten years

I studied Nursery and Kinder, 1994-1996. I entered Grade 1 at St. Gabriel Academy, Caloocan City, 1996-1997. I continued my elementary studies at Immaculate Conception Parochial School, Malabon City, 1997-2003. I proceeded at High School at ICPS, 2003-2006.

A Total of ten years, and still I'm not fully-equipped to enter BSE at City of Malabon University. 

As you readers know, I stopped for a year after High School, entered CMU at 2007, and fell very hard at 2010. As a result, I repeated subjects at the latter part of the said year, and will extend my stay at college  for another year.  

Though I am continuing my studies now and having a good reap out of it (I'll refer you later to a past blogpost), still I look at my scholastic achievements and realize that I missed a lot. Very lot. If only I treated Elementary and High School seriously and not as a child's play, then perhaps I am more ready to face the challenges of College life. Well, nasa huli nga ang pagsisisi, but the important thing is that, man! I'm still standing, and studying, and near-finishing it!

Well, why did I mention this? 

With the beginning of the School Year 2011-2012, one thing that is being put into the academic pot is this program named K+12 Program of the Department of Education. Being one of the remaining countries which has only ten years of primary study prior to college (6 years Elem, 4 years HS), authorities say that there is this noticeable decline in the quality of education and scholastic achievement, making an individual unfit to enter college, or if graduated from it, to land a fulfilling job. Also, this is to address our prevailing problems in education, especially of the Out-of-school youth.

As said in the DepEd's research paper, The goal of the Enhanced K+12 Basic Education Program is to create a functional basic education system that will produce productive and responsible citizens equipped with the essential competencies and skills for both life-long learning and employment. So, by adding two years to the common ten-year educational system, we are about to provide better quality of education to our children and youth. This would enhance their scholastic and technical abilities so that they would be responsible citizens someday. 

How does the system flow? Every student shall begin in Kindergarten. Starting this school year, Kindergarten shall be offered in all public elementary schools, to be taught by a licensed ECE teacher (much different from the old way wherein the children are sent to Daycare centers and taught by volunteers). This is one good thing, because according to reliable studies, the earlier the child enters school, the more prepared he will be for the coming years of education.  

After this, the pupil will enter the six years of Elementary School. Same thing, Grade One to Grade Six. A Diploma or certificate will be given after the stage, just like before.

Then here comes the big thing. After Elementary School, the student shall enter 4 years of Junior High School. As I know of it, the names go like Grade 7, 8, 9 and 10. It goes like your same old High School, only that it is more comprehensive, and focused on the subjects which need proper attention like Basic Math, English Grammar, etc. A Diploma is given after the four years.

So that counts ten years already. But wait, there's more! Do you want to enter College or take a Vocational Course? There enters the last two years of study, the Senior High School. In this stage, the curriculum will offer areas of specialization or electives such as science and technology, music and arts, agriculture and fisheries, sports, business and entrepreneurship, etc., and subjects for advanced placement. Now, it's up to you if you will choose between the scholastic track (known as the College Track, since after this you can already enter College) or the elective track (you may not enter College after this, but at least you'd learned technical or vocational courses.). After this, you're off to go!

It all begins this School Year, with the introduction of the Universal Kindergarten Program. It will go up until SY 2017-2018 when everything is completed. During the school years in between, the Philippine Educational System is expected to undergo the certain changes given in the schedule of implementation (see the table above).

Ok, let's analyze this system. DepEd says that this is one good solution to the Educational Systematic Problem because of the following reasons:
  1. The dire need for an enhancement in the Educational System is urgent and critical. In a society wherein we conform ourselves to the international standard and practice, the Philippine Educational System is really far behind everyone else. 
  2. K+12 is one good system to implement, since it is the considered solution to the decline of Educational Quality in the country, reflected upon by the low grades in the National Achievement Test during the past years. 
  3. Internationally, we also go way down because of our low ranking behind the other countries of the world. I can't even believe reading the result of the TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) in 2008, wherein we ranked among the lelat countries. Many numbers came out but the end-result goes the same, we're lelats!
    (What is lelat, by the way? Kung ayaw mong tawagin ang bansa mo na kulelat, hanap ka na lang ng maganda-gandang salita... lelat!)
  4. There is also the noticeable congestion in the present curriculum which only runs for ten years; Everything comes in it, thus the rushed presentation to the students and their raw acceptance and comprehension in return (like in my case, eh...). K+12  with its 12-year study duration, is expected to present the curriculum in one good shape and focus, so that students may understand better the given lessons in a gradual manner.
  5. This quality of education is reflected in the inadequate preparation of high school graduates for the world of work or entrepreneurship or higher education. We nowadays see students who enter college just to say that they entered the tertiary level of study without understanding fully everything they'd learned from the primary and secondary levels. At the end, they suffer in College because what they are supposed to already comprehend in Elementary and High School, they only come to understand in College. It comes in the statement, hindi po yan naituro sa amin, eh!
  6. With this, we also tend to realize the increasing number of College graduates who are way too young to enter the work force. Though not as young as 18, the age capability is way too low for a graduate to dwell into business contracts, nor are they able-bodied to take tedious physical activity and stress brought about by the same.
  7. Parents see Elementary and High School as a step ONLY for College. K+12 will correct that misperception. Though partially correct, this still does not form the whole cake. Whether one enters college or not, he must be equipped with the right and proper study for his future use. Also, when you are in College, you tend to have remedial classes in topics which you already came to know of in High School.
  8. Because we have only a ten-year course, Philippine professionals are not yet considered as international professionals. We are the only country in Asia, and among the three countries in the world which still adopts the ten-year curriculum. Another left-behind story again.
  9. The short basic education program affects the human development of Filipino Children. Another issue of 'raw' results. When one graduates High School at an age before 18 (and we see it commonly nowadays), we can see their behavior upon entering college, like they're still in High School. Their mental and emotional capacities seem unfit yet for the much heavier challenge of College.
However, a few good people do not consider the K+12 System as the solution to the problem, here's why:
  1. Just at the time when Filipinos go thrift with regards to transportation and food costs of their children for school, the additional two years will be an additional financial burden for them. Money talks, mahirap magpa-aral kung wala kang pera.
  2. Another money matter, this time it's for the Government. If they cannot already support the ten-year study program, what more when they implement the twelve-year study course? This is one good argument, since we're facing a grave financial scarcity nowadays. Amm, can I add corruption to that?
    (One good suggestion from me: Congressmen, please stop talking about the RH Bill and put some focus on the real thing. We're paying you, remember? Why don't you bring back the worth and consider putting some more budget for the Educational System?)
  3. We can still do it with ten years! Why follow the trend if we can still develop what's already there. Remember the good Filipinos who entered the prestigious universities in the world? They only had ten years of reliminary study. That proves that the problem is on the quality, and not the length. Hindi natin kailangang gumaya sa kanila!
  4. Talking about the curriculum, It's not on the adding of subjects; rather, it's more on the enhancement of what's already there. This calls on DepEd to work on fixing the subjects which are already given in the BEC, and not adding much graver subjects to the list of already grave ones. Remember, content, not length.
  5. High School Diploma? Saan tayo dadalhin nun? According to these good people, Business firms will never allow hire HIGH SCHOOL graduates to land a job, the post go to fresh college students. 
  6. Every Family dreams of a child graduating from College. Like my mommy who got really mad at me when she came to know that i will not graduate in 2011, but in 2012, every parent dreams that their children - all of them - can graduate in tertiary education. High School comes no match.
  7. Ok, we shall go to Senior High, but how about the Colleges and Universities? Does that mean that there will be No Freshmen for two years? Well, that's another issue, especially for the private Higher Education Institutions. No income for the coming two years? you're kidding.
  8. With the two extra years, comes the additional number of drop-outs. Eh hindi na kakayanin na dalawang taon pa, so stop na lang. Instead of continuing study, chances are because of financial and scholastic problems, students may already stop studying before they may even enter Senior High.
So, what's my stand on this?

Being a future educator, I see it necessary that the present Educational System must be enhanced. All throughout, the system is a total chaos. Not only in the way of delivering the lessons, but also in the training of teachers, and the physical environment of the classrooms and the facilities of schools. You cannot compromise this, nor can be put to rest. Year after year we can see the great decline of the quality of Education in the country. How about putting it into focus instead of talking about pills, condoms and abortifascients which have nothing to do with our student's academic achievements.

Yes, the system must be enhanced, but does that mean we need to put the twelve years program in the 'go' status ASAP? Yes, the K+12 System is one good system, it aims to develop both the system and the learners through the additional two years of focused program. But how can we implement this if we cannot even put into consideration the status of the learning environment? Look, people. Before we increase the number of years, before we put new subjects to the study syllabi, what if we look first onto the quality of the physical environment and resources of the system? By that, we can further enhance what the K+12 has in store for us.

I'm not against K+12, it is one good program, but to implement it in a school with faulty facilities and little number of classrooms, it would still not be effective. 

But because it is already running in progress, we have nothing to do but to sit down and look at what will happen six or seven years from now. We hope that the results would look and feel good, and unlike my story of scholastic achievement, the future batch of graduates would really possess the qualities of a real well-rounded individual: productive and responsible citizens equipped with the essential competencies and skills for both life-long learning and employment.

DepEd Discussion Paper on the K+12 Program:
Pros and Cons of the K+12 Program from the commentary of Isagani Cruz:
Related Blogpost: Standing Up After the Fall


  1. Anonymous6:24 AM

    Very well said,(written I mean). Thumbs up. Good job. Sana dumami pa ang katulad mo.

  2. Anonymous7:17 AM

    A good reading piece, substantial and timely! Yes, sana dumami ang Pinoy educator na katulad mo, objective and proactive. God bless.

  3. Doreen C.2:14 PM

    :D 3 thumbs up for this article and for the author :D