DepEd’s K+12 Program: Solution to education problems in the country?

I don’t know if you have heard it already but starting June 2012, all incoming Grade 1 students in the country will be part of the Enhanced K+12 Basic Education Program of the Department of Education (DepEd).

What is the Enhanced K+12 Basic Education Program that I mentioned?

This is what I got from gov.ph‘s web site…

This model involves Kindergarten, six years of elementary education, four years of junior high school (Grades 7 to 10) and two years of senior high school (Grades 11 to 12). The two years of senior high school intend to provide time for students to consolidate acquired academic skills and competencies.

The two years in senior high school… The curriculum will allow specializations in Science and Technology, Music and Arts, Agriculture and Fisheries, Sports, Business and Entrepreneurship.

At some level I understand the point of the DepEd in the additional two years in high school. Some high school graduates tend to enroll in a college course that they are still unsure of. After a year, they will shift to another course and that is a waste of precious time and money. What the DepEd has in mind is for high school students to spend the additional two years thinking and making sure that they know what they really want to take up in college. DepEd is also saying that the two years will be like a course in Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), training students so that for those who cannot afford to go to college, they can begin looking for jobs after.

Now, my beef on this DepEd program…

The program claims that the two years will provide better quality education for all. Does it really guarantee a better quality education? How about improving the quality of education that we have now? I will cite an example. I came from a good private high school where we were assured of better quality education compared to public schools. But did you know that majority of my batchmates had a hard time getting into the big 4 universities in the Philippines (UST, UP, DLSU and ADMU)? Yes, that’s true! How much more my contemporaries who came from the public schools where one classroom has at least 80 students competing and sharing whatever the government gives them (and that’s not much!)? I don’t doubt the intelligence of the students. What I doubt is the quality of education they can get from a classroom full of students and a single teacher who needs to keep her patience and wit for one whole day teaching not only 80 kids but more than that number each and every day of school. And hey, until this day classroom is a problem in most public schools. We need classrooms but instead of solving that problem first, DepEd went ahead with this K+12 program! Instead of improving the skills of public school teachers and taking care of their compensation and benefits (so they opt to stay in the country than teach abroad where salaries are infinitely higher), they thought of the K+12 program first. Where’s the focus and priorities, DepEd?

The additional two years do not guarantee a better quality education, believe me! I even think the DepEd knows this!

Let’s address the TESDA-like training senior high school students will get from the additional two years…

In other countries, companies accept high school graduates to work for them. We often hear that in the US where kids 16 and above can start working already. But here in the Philippines, companies only accept job applicants who are at least second year college. So no matter how much training students can get out of those additional two years in high school, the fact remains that they can’t really get a job out of it! Maybe as part of the crew of fast food chains but this can happen even without the two additional years. Now, what jobs are they talking about? Laborers abroad? Domestic helpers? What jobs???

The additional two years will not be a problem to families who can afford it. But let’s face it, there are more middle-income and below the poverty line families here in the country. They can barely afford to send their kids to grade school and high school. And then DepEd now added two more years to their burden??? Will the additional two years really ensure that the graduating students know what they want out of life? I doubt it!

My conclusion: this DepEd’s K+12 program is more of a hassle than a convenience for all parties involved. Palibhasa those who formulated this program are well-off and not from the poor sector kaya madali sa kanila magsabi na “dagdag tayo ng 2 more years in high school!” Not minding the fact that 2 more years means 2 more years of tuition fees, allowances and wasted time spent already working on a degree for poor students who don’t have enough money to waste in more high school!

One comment

  • I totally agree with you. Additional two years? It will only mean additional expenses and would even drag the kid to stop schooling and do not pursue college anymore.