3 things the private sector can do for basic education

Jee Y. Geronimo
After passing the K to 12 bill into law, the easy part is over. Both government and private sector are now gearing up for the tougher part: the road to 2016.

PAINFUL OR NOT. Now that the K to 12 has been institutionalized, the easy part is over. Photo by Jee Geronimo/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – “We’re facing a lot of problems on implementation. We need to remind ourselves about reasons why we’re inflicting ourselves with this pain.”

Former Education Secretary Edilberto de Jesus said this during the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) forum, “Continuing the Philippine Education Revolution: From K-12 to 2016 and Beyond” on Friday, October 18, in Makati.

Representatives from the private sector and the government were present to tackle different issues concerning the K to 12 program, but de Jesus was quick to remind everyone why the program is worth the pain.

He said the country will face a disadvantage once the ASEAN Community gets going in 2015, or a year before the full implementation of the K to 12 program. (INFOGRAPHIC: 10 things about K to 12)

The K-10, he said, also defied principles of quality management. “We’re trying to cure the ills of basic education in higher education. [But we have to] address it early on – in basic education – and not in the later stages.”

It resulted in higher education institutions extending their cycle to complete their programs.

De Jesus said it was a long march to the K to 12, even back in his time as secretary. But now that the K to 12 has been passed into law, the easy part is over.

How the private sector can help

Education Secretary Br Armin Luistro enumerated three ways the private sector can help during the tougher part of K to 12: its implementation.

1. Identify early, and proactively join the department in providing senior high school programs.

It’s not a competition, Luistro said, as he urged the sector to work closely with the regional and divisional offices of DepEd. “[Work closely] so effort is [towards] convergence, complementarity, and coordination – not competition or we don’t even talk to each other.”

He said it is crucial for the public and private sector to work on the selection of programs needed in a certain locality.

2. Help the department push for good governance.

The bigger institutional reforms in education tend to get little support from the private sector, Luistro said. Add to that the culture of competition, and great initiatives lose their effect.

“We cannot do reforms by just coming up with new memos and guidelines. Help us police the private sector,” he said.

3. Step up in terms of Adopt-a-School program.

He said the program is the “best and most institutionalized program in the department.” As such, the next phase goes beyond building classrooms; DepEd is looking at transforming campuses to become ideal learning spaces.

When asked what his own big ideas for education reforms are, Luistro talked about the need for technology in schools, the lack of a study on how local government units use the Special Education Fund, and how PBEd should tap into more members of the private sector “who have a heart for education.”

But the bottomline is this: the country can expect more education reforms – painful or not – in the coming years.

“[The] roll-out of the final K to 12 curriculum by next month should provide all stakeholders [a] basic reference on how the others can adjust in the next few years,” Luistro said. – Rappler.com

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Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.