Thursday, March 12, 2015


K to 12, or K+12 or K-12 program is a new scheme in Philippines education system.  It is a year in kindergarten, six years in elementary, four years in junior high school which will call Grade 7 – 10 and two years in senior high school which is Grade 11 and 12 making 13 years to be able to go to college.  Previously it was 11 years or 10 if the child did not take kindergarten.  K-12 program was aimed to uplift the quality of Philippines education for the Filipino students by giving enough time to hone their different skills and efficiency by means of adding two more years in secondary years from previous four years.  It is designed to fully prepare the senior high school students in their choice course before entering in colleges and universities.  Accordingly, wrong choice of course or mismatch of graduates against available job is attributed to unemployment and causes the downfall of education.  With K-12, it will help the student to determine his potential during grade 11 and 12 before entering tertiary education.  The good thing, it is like a technical course that if ever the student assessed his line and decided not to pursue the degree but work instead, the student can be qualified in educational requirement.

From the start, I am not really affirmative in K-12 program.  My sympathy goes to the majority poor who are not in favor to this program that drew negative reactions from these people.  It is not only additional year, burden and expense but it’s a waste of precious time for students and teachers and valued money from the paying parents.  In my points of view, concluding into K-12 as the choice resort is harsh and unnecessary.  Never mind if Philippines is the only country that doesn’t implement this scheme, it doesn’t fit to us at least for now.  There are still so many things in the education system that need to iron out first instead of this another load and weight from student, parents and teachers.  What should put in plan and application is the enhancement of quality of education system rather than the quantity of years that a student must spend in the school.  If the government can offer a free education which is obligation of the state, then there should be no objection and regret from the parents in this additional three years in school just to make the students into better and learned individuals.

Every year, there is deficiency in classrooms to welcome the growing number of students.  For many years, there are young students in public schools who are doing class under the tree, on the stage, or in any open space which is so backward.  It needs focus in order to prepare the students to successfully shape into competitive and erudite graduates.  In an open area that serves as classrooms, there are so many obstructions that distract the focus and attention of these vulnerable young minds.  Apparently, there is already shortage of classrooms in public schools and adding more years will surely not solve this deficit.  In some schools, it has to split the schedules of the students who are in the same level into two sessions to accommodate their unrelenting raise of number.  K-12 doesn’t resolve the deficiency but even increases the populace of the squeezing students instead of dropping.  The same thing with insufficient textbooks wherein in every one book is shared by 3 or 4 students and the desks good for two becomes for three. Then there is lack of effective facilities like library, sports equipment and computers.  And to add even more are the deficiency in teachers who preferred to leave their job and land in overseas work as caregivers for better pay.  These teachers are supposedly the responsible in storing the lessons in students’ mind and instrument in implementing this program but they are looking for the greener pasture.  Upgrading the salary of the underpaid teachers who are doing the noblest and hardest profession will deter their loss that means for every one teacher lost doubles the ratio of one teacher is to 60 students.  Instead of allocating budget to additional school year, it can rightfully use for the construction of additional schools and improve the salary of public school teachers?

There are other better things to do than adopting K to 12 curriculum.  True, the quality of our education has lessened but that was not because of inadequate years to go to school but because of the pending needs of the increasing students.  There were years Philippines was best in Asia where our graduates and schools are top in our region.  Looking back the 1930s – 1960s eras, an elementary graduate then can fluently speak English and calculate numbers without the aid of calculator.  Schools then were strict that if you need to repeat the school year for you to learn will really mean to repeat.  Unlike then it is quite relaxed today mainly because of the existing poverty. Teachers are hesitated to fail the students and rather give passing grade just to console the hardship of their parents and to inspire the students in achieving their dream a year closer.  It is unlike fifty years ago that repeating a class doesn’t hinder much on the slower pace of life.  In today’s fast-pace world, going back to the same year is wasting of opportunity that would rather use the times in a temporary useful work to survive, thus it risks the chance of stopping the children to go to school.  And it increases the out of school youth and impacting the literacy rate.When it comes in additional period where the senior high school has to decide the choice of career, determining the potentials of student can be identified during their 3rd and 4th year in high school.  The reasons of prompting them to enroll in “wrong” course in college are either economical practicality in matriculation, promise of lucrative courses in the market, and the impression of easy job landing.  Putting these altogether is falling back to poverty which shows the sensitivity of children to give back and help their families. In summary, the government should address the needs of additional classrooms, enough teachers, modern facilities, useful textbooks and materials.   As long as the schools are equipped, there is no need to add more years of curriculum.

By Alex V. Villamayor
March 12, 2015

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