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MANILA, Philippines – The country only has 14 months left before the nationwide rollout of senior high school under the K to 12 program, but many education institutions have yet to begin training its teachers.
This worries Senator Pia Cayetano, chairperson of the Senate committee on education, arts, and culture.
“The principle of how [schools] want to train, and the acknowledgement that there has to be training, is there, but I’m worried about the time. People need to see these things happening now,” Cayetano said after a committee hearing on Tuesday, April 14.
With the signing of the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, two years have been added to the basic education system of the Philippines. The first batch of students under the program will enter senior high school’s grade 11 in 2016, and grade 12 in 2017.
Because of this, higher education institutions (HEIs) expect a drop in enrollment during these two years all the way to school year 2021-2022, when things are expected to normalize. (READ: INFOGRAPHIC: 10 things about K to 12)
This will affect workers in HEIs, as worst-case scenario estimates on displacements are as high as 38,071 teaching staff and 14,351 non-teaching staff.
But the Department of Education will hire 30,000 to 41,000 senior high school teachers every year for 2016 and 2017, and the department will prioritize the displaced college workers in its hiring.
Universities extend help
Cayetano said there will be two types of trainings for senior high school educators: content training for high school teachers, and pedagogy training for college professors.
At present, at least two HEIs already have plans not only to train their own faculty, but also to equip teachers in smaller schools that will offer senior high school.
The University of the Philippines will tap faculty members who teach general education courses to train public senior high school teachers for 3 weeks. These teachers can cascade the training in their respective schools.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Normal University – designated by law as the country’s national center for teacher education – have short- and long-term plans.
The university will adopt nearby schools for teacher training, and will develop a plan so that their future graduates will be equipped enough to teach in senior high school.
‘Golden age’ of teachers
But Roger Bartholomew from the International Education Specialists said it worries him that the schools are, at this point, still developing teacher training that hasn’t been tried and tested.
His suggestion is to look at trainings that has already been proven effective in other countries and universities.
“If we want to raise the bar, we’ve got to go to places with a high bar, grab some of their best ideas, and shamelessly borrow them. Of course, they need to be contextualized,” he added.
Patricio Dionio from the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) hopes the transition period to senior high school will be an opportunity to produce the “golden age of teachers,” since many will be given the opportunity to pursue their masteral and doctorate studies.
Cayetano said the next Senate hearing on May 5 will tackle funding needed to support those who will teach the new K to 12 curriculum. (READ: Congress considers fund to help workers affected by K to 12)
Other senators are expected to bring up other issues, such as the country’s physical capacity and readiness to implement K to 12. (READ: Expect higher dropout rates due to K to 12 – Trillanes) – Rappler.com