MANILA, Philippines – With almost two months left before another school year opens, Malacañang officially launched on Tuesday, April 24, the K to 12 Basic Education Program of the Department of Education (DepEd).
President Benigno Aquino III said that the program, which will add two years in the country’s 10-year basic education system, will help the Filipino youth become more knowledgable and competitive worldwide.
“How can Filipinos compete if we are at a disadvantage in terms of years of learning and depth of training? We are at a disadvantage from the start. We want our education system to have a strong foundation for the next generation of Filipinos,” Aquino said in Filipino.
Under this program, students have to undergo 12 years of elementary and secondary education before going to college. It will follow the K-6-4-2 Model, wherein students are required to undergo kindergarten, six years in elementary (grades 1 to 6), four years in junior high school (grades 7 to 10), and two years in senior high school (grades 11 to 12).
Stages and changes
The implementation of the program will be held in stages. It will start this school year with the introduction of a revitalized curriculum to incoming grade 1 and 7 students in public schools.
Under the revitalized curriculum, incoming grade 1 students will encounter the following changes in the usual school subject line-up:
- The native dialect of students will be taught via the Mother Tongue-Based Multi-Lingual Education subject.
- English will be taught only on the second half of the school year.
- Incoming grade 1 students will be taking up 6 subjects for an entire school year, each for a maximum of 40 minutes per day
Last school year, DepEd has already begun requiring all 6-year old children to enroll in kindergarten.
The program breaks the country’s long tradition of providing 10 years of basic education to students. Until this school year, the Philippines was the only Asian country with a 10-year basic education cycle.
Aquino compared the current 10-year basic education program to “force-feeding,” as students are not given enough time to absorb the knowledge fed to them, leading to improperly processed information.
“Through the K to 12 program, I believe a Juan de la Cruz would improve not just himself but his family or even the whole country as well,” Aquino said.
No textbooks and classroom backlog
Along with the implementation of the K to 12 program this year, Mr Aquino said that the government is also addressing the need for more classrooms and textbooks in public schools.
But Education Secretary Armin Luistro said that public school students can already look forward to having their own textbooks and chairs this coming school year, as there would be a “zero backlog” in textbooks and school furniture.
“We have enough textbooks and desks for all our students by the opening of classes. This means we have zero backlog in textbooks and school furniture,” Luistro said.
The government provided DepEd a P238.8-B budget to help implement the program and address other concerns in the education sector. This amount is P30-B higher than the department’s budget last year. – Rappler.com