Who’s afraid of ‘K+12’?

Well, I am.  To me, it is not the answer to our problems in education. 

In an article by Perla Aragon-Choudhury entitled “Who’s afraid of ‘K to 12’?” she wrote about the K to 12 Basic Education National Summit that was held at Miriam College where “top educators sought to answer frequently asked questions on the new elementary and secondary curricula that would mean additional years of study.”

“Education Secretary Armin Luistro, FSC, said education was No. 1 in the President’s campaign agenda,” the article said.  “He pointed out that those who were able to pay for 14 years of schooling before university were getting into the best schools and getting the best jobs after graduation.

“On the question of whether K-12 was here to stay, Luistro said:  ‘My best answer is understandable to those with the Catholic faith.  K-12 is like the reign of God.  It is here but not yet here.  We have an opportunity and what we feel are the most critical answers at this point.  They are neither rigid nor perfect.’”

On the question of cost, the article said:  “Education Undersecretary for Finance Francis Varela assured summit participants both government and private schools could fund K-12.  Valera said the government intended to address both classroom and teacher requirements in two years.  But Varela also stressed that the benefits of the new program far outweighed costs.  Among other things, the additional years of schooling would increase the earning potential of the graduate.

Varela said:  “Students who complete senior high school and then work will have better income opportunities and higher income streams – the cost (of) delayed employment will be offset by these higher income streams.  The additional two years of high school also meant a reduction in cost of schooling for graduates who would seek employment afterwards, as the additional years would be free.  Those graduates would have to pay if they enrolled in two years of college or post-secondary education.  For those seeking college degrees, it was expected the two additional high school years would mean higher tertiary education completion rates.”

I’m confused. What again is the K+12 program? 

This news report by Tarra Quismundo entitled “K+12 program ‘absolutely essential,’ says expert” in Philippine Daily Inquirer gave me a straightforward explanation about this K+12 program (Kindergarten plus 12 years): 

“The flagship education program of the Aquino administration, the K+12 basic education reform plan aims to improve the quality of Filipino high school graduates by adding two years of senior high school to the current 10-year education curriculum. 

“The two additional years in high school are envisioned to serve as a specialization period for high school students, whether in vocational skills, music, the arts or sports.  This would give high school graduates the option to pursue jobs with a basic education diploma or proceed to college. 

“The program aims to make Philippine education at par with the rest of the world, with 12 years of basic schooling already global standard.  According to the DepEd, only the Philippines, Angola and Djibouti have a 10-year basis schooling cycle.  Officials said the two-year shortcoming had proven problematic in the accreditation of Philippine graduates when applying for postgraduate courses and employment overseas.”

I was educated in Balara Elementary School, a public elementary school in Quezon City.  During high school, I studied in one of the cheapest private schools in Quezon City, the Roosevelt Memorial High School.  I was also an “Iskolar ng Bayan” when I studied at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.   I am also a non-practicing licensed teacher and I had my practicum in two public high schools in Quezon City, in Ramon Magsaysay High School and in New Era High School. And I would like to oppose this K+12 program.

It is obvious that DepEd has remained blind to the present state of both our public and private schools today.  What was it again?  They said the government and private schools will fund the K+12 program?  Did you know that many private schools also got funding problems of their own and now here you are telling us that they will help with the funding? Are you aware that some private school teachers are now moving to public schools for financial security? 

You said once the additional two years in high school is implemented, you will address both classroom and teacher requirements within that two years.  The poor state of our educational system due to lack of classrooms and teachers has been a problem for a long, long time.  You should have solved that a long time ago before you implement anything that is grand or extraordinary.

And please lang, stop telling me about the budget process, about the increasing education budget, about the 2.2 percent increase of the GDP, because I don’t believe all those things unless I see it.  To see is to believe. 

If you say there is a budget for education, that our education has improved, bakit bulok pa din ang pasilidad ng mga public schools?  Ng mga state universities?  Di nyo ba nakikita na kadiri ang mga banyo sa public school? Eto pa, ang baba ng sahod ng mga guro.  Nagkakanda-paos sa pagtuturo, nagkakanda-kuba kagagawa ng visual aids at pagchecheck ng papers.  Kaya yung iba imbis na magturo ay nagtitinda na lang ng kung anu-ano sa estudyante.  Yung iba hindi nagtuturo, puro reporting ang ipinagagawa sa estudyante.  There are many teachers but only a few educators.   And now you wonder why we have low quality of graduates?

What did you say? 14 years of schooling and getting the best jobs after graduation?  Alam nyo ba na maraming may trabaho na gutom pa din?  Na kahit may trabaho ay gutom pa din at nagtitiis dahil hindi sapat ang sinisweldo?  Na pumapasok sa opisina nila na ang dala lang ay pamasahe?  Na kahit may trabaho ay walang ipon? Isang kahig, isang tuka.  Kaya yung iba napipilitan humalik sa pwet ng iba para maka-good shot sa boss, ma-promote.  Saka wala ka ngang makitang matinong trabaho dito eh.

Dahil gusto nyo sa abroad kami maghanap.  Syempre dagdag kita sa inyo yan.  Swerte-swertihan ang paghahanap ng trabaho dito, hindi lang nakabase sa kung ano natapos mo o kung may extra two years ka sa high school.  At dahil sa hirap ng buhay, may mga employer na sasamantalahin ang pagkakataon. Maliit ang ibibigay sa ‘yong sweldo.  So tanggapin mo na kaysa wala kang trabaho.  So walang magawa si pobre at tinanggap ang offer dahil mahirap nga maghanap ng trabaho.  At itong si abusadong employer ipagpapatuloy ang kanyang kasakiman sa mundong ibabaw, marami pang ibibiktima, uutuin, lolokohin para hindi mabawasan ang kanilang kita.  So ano itong sinasabi ninyo na mas maganda ang oportunidad ng mga taong matagal nag-aral sa high school?  Yung iba nga may masters degree na hirap makahanap ng work.  Graduate ng UP hirap makahanap ng work.   

Wala naman yan sa haba ng panahon sa eskwelahan.  Nasa kalidad ng pagtuturo yan, nasa kakayahan o motibasyon ng tao kung kaya nyang magpa-aral o mag-aral.  Libre nga ang extra two years mo sa high school, ang tanong pa rin, kamusta naman ang kalidad ng pagtuturo? At sino magtuturo sa additional two years na yan eh KULANG NGA ANG TEACHERS!  KULANG ANG CLASSROOMS, nasa kalsada na nag-aaral yung iba.  Yung iba pinagsisiksikan ang animnapu at mahigit pang estudyante sa isang classroom.  Tapos dadagdagan mo pa ng dalawang taon?

You said that the two-year shortcoming had proven problematic in the accreditation of Philippine graduates when applying for postgraduate courses and employment overseas?  I don’t think it is about the so-called “two-year shortcoming.”  It is about the different culture and policies of other countries and just because we do not have similar policies as them does not mean our 10-year education curriculum is wrong.  I really don’t think so.   Natural, you have to follow the different policy of another country and not because four years lang inilagi mo sa high school.  Maybe to a few but not all.  Our 10-year education curriculum was set up according to our needs and capacity as a nation.  Forget about global standard.    

You also said the additional two years will serve as a specialization period for high school students whether in vocational skills, music, the arts or sports.  Do you really mean it?  Eh ang baba nga ng tingin ng mga kumpanya sa mga graduate ng vocational eh.  Our musicians, our artists, and our athletes here do not get any support from the government, sariling kayod sila, minsan namamalimos pa sa isang senador to get his support so now you’re telling me that?!  Eh sinasamba nyo nga dito mga lawyers and doctors, mga negosyante, mga Chinese businessmen or the so-called business tycoons. 

And I would have to agree with the College Editors Guild of the Philippines when they said that:

“The Department of Education’s K+12 program may diminish – rather than boost – the qualifications of the graduates.  The objective of K+12 is to produce semi-skilled workers as cheap labor for the multinational corporations to exploit.  With the inequities in terms of economic status, majority of the people are most willing to enter into jobs no matter how dangerous or short-lived. K+12 is an overrated solution to the poor state of Philippine education.” 

Saka bakit ganun, pag Reproductive Health bill, or Divorce bill, you are totally against it because of so-called moral grounds.  Because you said we do not need to be just like the rest of the world. And now that you’re promoting K+12, sinasabi nyo naman ngayon na kailangan makisama tayo with the rest of the world. 

Can’t we do something first about the facilities, about the classrooms, not just in public schools in Metro Manila but also in far away provinces?  There is also a problem with the quality of our textbooks?  These basic problems in our educational system are yet to be solved and they’re already stinking, like a pile of garbage, because of long neglect.  Then here you are implementing K+12 program adding two years to high school.  Ano ba naman yan.

Please, let us  implement solutions one step a time.  Start with the basics.  Don’t just imitate other nations just because everyone is doing it.  May pera naman tayo, I mean, tingnan mo nga, ang dami-dami nating senador at congressmen na sineswelduhan.  May trabaho man o wala ang pobreng mamamayan, nagbabayad tayo ng taxes para mapaswelduhan sila.  Bakit di natin sila bawasan at yung sweldo nila idagdag sa budget ng edukasyon?  Bakit di natin i-demolish ang DepEd na may secretary na, may sangkatutak na undersecretaries pa na ating siniswelduhan pero sa matagal na panahon ay wala namang ginagawa? 

For me, K+12 is just an additional problem to our already sick educational system that only caters to the elite. K+12 is just focused on getting more taxes by our government. 


Written on February 8, 2012- The Best of “Living well is the best revenge” (theuntouchableone.multiply.com)


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