More subjects, less time in school for 1st graders

MANILA, Philippines - Incoming grade 1 public school students will have more subjects but fewer school hours when classes begin in June 2012.

They will be the first to test the new curriculum that the Department of Education (DepEd) has developed for its K to 12 program.

The program will run on a K-6-4-2 education model, wherein a student has to study in grade school for 6 years, in junior high school for 4 years (grades 7 to 10), and in senior high school for two years (grades 11 to 12).

The incoming grade 1 students of school year 2012-2011 are the so-called "guinea pigs" of the program. DepEd started implementing its revised curriculum last school year, when these students were in kindergarten.

Starting with this batch, no public school student in the Philippines will be admitted to Grade 1 without taking up kindergarten.

Private schools are also covered by the program, but officials have yet to discuss its implementation.

Based on the curriculum guide provided by DepEd, the incoming grade 1 students will be taking up 6 subjects for an entire school year. Each subject will be taught for a maximum of 40 minutes per day:

 

When the second half of the school year comes, a 7th subject, Oral Fluency in English, will be introduced. This subject will be taught for 40 minutes.

Despite the increase in the number of subjects, the total hours to be spent by a first grader in school would still be less.

Before this, the grade 1 level used to have only 4 subjects, each lasting an hour or more daily:

 

This set of subjects, along with the schedule, was introduced when DepEd overhauled its curriculum in 2002. Among the features of this revised curriculum is the inclusion of the subject Makabayan.

Makabayan was not offered to students in grades 1 to 3, but some concepts of the subject were integrated in Sibika at Kultura.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro explained that the shortened time will "make education less stressful and more enjoyable for our young learners."

DepEd has already prepared revised curriculums for grades 2 to 6, but these will not yet be implemented until the incoming grade 1 students reach these levels.

Incoming grade 2 to 6 students in June 2012 will not be covered anymore by the new program -- at least for the duration of their stay in grade school.

Still no Science

Just like in the old curriculum, Science will still not be offered as a separate subject to grade 1 students.

In the 2002 revised curriculum, Science and Health concepts were integrated in English. But in the new program, Science will be integrated into more subjects: Mother Tongue, English, Health, and Math.

In a forum with businessmen on March 28, Luistro explained that DepEd wants to promote the idea that "science is a study of everyday life."

"These concepts and skills are integrated rather than discipline-based, stressing the connections across science topics and other disciplines as well as applications of concepts and thinking skills to real life," he said.

Just like in the old curriculum, the K to 12 program will offer Science as a separate subject starting grade 3.

High school freshmen included

The revised curriculum will also be introduced to incoming high school freshmen, or the grade 7 students.

They will have 2 years added in their high school period. The additional years will offer students subjects or electives that will offer specialization depending on the occupation or career track that students wish to pursue.

Incoming 2nd to 4th year high school students will not encounter these additional years in high school anymore.

Based on the curriculum guide by DepEd, grade 7 will have the same subjects as in  grade 1, minus the Mother Tongue subject, since this will be offered from grades 1 to 3 only. But the high school freshmen will have the Technology and Livelihood Education (TLE) subject, which will offer various skill-enhancing topics for the entire high school level.

Though incoming students in grades 2 to 6 in June 2012 will not be covered by the new program in the grade school level, they will be affected once they reach high school. - Rappler.com

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