MANILA, Philippines – Maria Cristina, a call center agent in Cubao, has a 12-year-old kid who’ll be affected by the changes brought by the newly-implemented K to 12 program of the Department of Education (DepEd).
Her kid, now grade 6 at Virgen del Pilar School in Montalban, Rizal, will be entering Grade 11 come 2017. “This is not advantageous for my daughter. Instead of graduating fast, she still has to stay longer in school,” she said.
Maria Cristina is not alone. Child welfare group Akap Bata claims to have received calls from parents with similar concerns and complaints on DepEd’s new program via the group’s Education Monitor (E-MONITOR) hotline.
Arlene Brosas, Akap Bata national secretary-general, said that since the May 9 launch of E-MONITOR, a number of concerns have been received, specicialy fears on:
- changes in the curriculum
- additional expenses for parents
- adjustment for children
Under the K to 12 program, two more years (or Grades 11 and 12) will be added to the typical 4-year high school program in the country. This, according to DepEd, will help children prepare as they enter college, or train them if ever they want to work after high school. The grade 7 students of school year 2012-2013 will be the first batch to encounter Grade 11 in 2016.
Brosas claims that they have received some 25 various concerns from parents via phone calls and online messages, with most of them dealing with the K to 12 issue. “We expect more calls this time, since classes have already started,” said Brosas. Her group, she said, will be re-launching their hotline to more communities to reach out to more parents.
Is this number significant enough to dispel the results of a recently-released Social Weather Station survey showing that most Filipinos support the K to 12 program? For Akap Bata, this figure already speaks a lot to oppose the survey.
The survey, which was conducted in March, revealed that more than half of the respondents react positively to the program, believing that students would be more equipped for work and college.
The results reveal that 65% of respondents believe that the new program will give students more sufficient knowledge and preparation, and 61% of respondents believe that it will encourage students to finish senior high school because graduates are better prepared for work, higher education and business.
It also shows that 59% of the respondents believe more will be encouraged to finish the K to 12 senior high school program because it is equivalent to two years of college at a high school rate.
The result also boasts of an increase in those who positively react to the DepEd program:
- 65% respondents in March 2012
- 57% respondents in December 2011
- 63% respondents in September 2011
- 59% respondents in June 2011
“It is important to us that many people are now beginning to appreciate the merits of K to 12, a reform program that will open more opportunities to our young people,” said Education secretary Armin Luistro.
Akap Bata, with the data they have, is not convinced with what the survey results have shown. Brosas claims that the concerns received, and expected to be received, by their hotline does not reconcile with the results of the survey.
“We will not be convinced on just survey results about the K + 12 program. DepEd is missing the point in reforming the current educational system,” Brosas added.
On its part, DepEd has also received the same concerns rasied to Akap Bata when it launched Oplan Balik-Eskwela. From May 28 to June 7, DepEd accepted calls from parents whose concerns range from fee collection and enrollment issues to school facilities. Out of the 3782 total calls, 9% are questions and concerns about the K to 12 program.
Despite the survey’s claim that most people are confident with the program, Luistro admits that there still are some things to be fixed. “While the K to 12 program still needs some finetuning, the feedback that we can generate from the public will help us understand and address the concerns of different education stakeholders,” Luistro said.
As for Anna Cristina, whose kid will brace the new curriculum 5 years from now, she has no choice but to hope that the new program will turn out well. “I hope that DepEd could come up with a course [for Grades 11 and 12] that would really make sense,” she said. – Rappler.com