What is the Future of K+12?
“We need to add two years to our basic education. Those who can afford, pay up to fourteen years of schooling before university. Thus, their children are getting into the best universities and the best jobs after graduation. I want at least 12 years for our public school children to give them an even chance at succeeding.” – President Benigno S. Aquino III
For the last few years, the K+12 program has been heatedly talked about; particularly now during the administration of President Benigno Aquino III and his appointed Secretary for the Department of Education, Bro. Armin Luistro, FSC. It is a natural reaction that such a debate would occur as education is held as a highly important aspect of a Filipino’s life and development.
Now more than ever, our supposedly “employable graduates” are seen as insufficient unemployables by other countries who adhere to international agreements like the Bologna Process (European Union) and Washington Accord (US), that regard our 10 year basic education as lacking. Though according to The Department of Education, the current 10 year curriculum is a congested form of the standard 12 year
program. In order to be able to get employed, one has to go through tertiary education when “not everyone is suppose to go to college” according to Bro. Romualdo Abulad SVD, Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies in the University.
In this third world country, it is understandable that not everyone is able to proceed to college. Explanations, feasibilities and all sorts of presentations have been given for a very lengthy period of time. Affirmative and negative sides to the implementation have been shown but the future is a little more certain that it leans to the K +12 educational system to be implemented in this Republic. The time for the discussion of its implementation is over. Now is the time to ask the questions that affect the very society, culture and the very land we tread. What is the future of the K-12?
Strengthening and Streamlining
The Philippines is the last in Asia to have a 10-year pre- university education. There is a need to align our education system with the rest of the world to be globally competitive. There is also a need to strengthen education for the benefit of the students. The DepEd considers the status quo as “congested” – or trying to fit 12 years in 10 years by force. In the words of the University President Fr. Dionisio Miranda “the agenda of K+12 is straightforward. It is to rationalize our education program in line with global standards”.
“The globally accepted basic education is 12 years.” says Bro. Abulad when asked about details concerning K+12. It was already mentioned that other countries like members of the European Union and the United States do not recognize the country’s basic education as sufficient. “The goal, which is the goal of many of our students, is to have a job. K+12 must be preparing a person to take up a job, to be already employable” He adds. This means that students who graduate from basic education are hirable and employable, unlike our current situation. Basic education from mandatory Kindergarten, the six years of primary education, the four years of what is now called junior high school and the added two years called senior high school would be enough to start a career, be employed and need not go to tertiary education.
“The texture and the culture of the future will be different” states Bro. Abulad when asked about the future of the country post K+12 full implementation. One can see the beginnings of the K+12 with the passing of mandatory Kindergarten in the current Congress. When asked about certain changes he sees for improvement Bro. Abulad responds “Rote learning will be removed, changed”. “The emphasis of K+12 is on basic education” he adds. DepEd has expressed the need for changes and enhancing curriculum with the steady implementation of the new system. Change will occur and will slowly trickle down to the country’s culture and development. Brother Abulad compares the situation as that of the age old “chicken and egg” problem. One has to change the foundations before the results are made evident. “Education’s influence is lasting. We cannot rely on violent upheavals for change” he states. “The kind of education you give to your young is going to lead down to changes in the country” he adds. When asked about naysayers of the new educational program, Bro. Abulad ends with “Everybody has to sacrifice a little or much. This is something that we should all do together. We are left behind. I think our people deserve something better. We have a very intelligent people. We all have to share in this moving forward”.