The holidays revelry is about to end and it’s back to the classrooms once again, dear children. It’s time to dust away the cobwebs from our backpacks and open the ancient tome of knowledge left untouched since last year. I know it pains you to return but there is no replacement for learning and education, as you will realize later on. Meanwhile, just do your math homework!
Don’t worry, when you’ve reached college just like me, those kill-joy paperworks would leave you alone bit by bit. You don’t have to look another textbook, workbook or intermediate pad ever again unless you have a little brother which I have.
My brother, Miggy is a preschooler in some private Catholic school because of the scholarship he got. He’s a bright kid, likes to argue and curious about most things, but after seeing how thoroughly advanced all their lessons, homeworks, quizzes and tests are, you know that even the smartest of kids will need some time to adjust under it.
Miggy, just like the rest of preschoolers, gradeschoolers and highschoolers are already under the newly-implemented K-12 program of Department of Education. It’s deliberately similar with the educational curriculum in US, Canada, Australia and big-shot countries out there. It adds two additional learning years in the curriculum, with 6 years of primary education, 4 years of junior highschool and two years of senior highschool.
I just realized how serious K-12 really is when I discovered that they are already teaching kids as young as 5 to read and write down their full names. Introducing reading to 5-year-olds is actually fine, since their brain is in the peak of development around this age, but boy, the words in their reading lists are the things you usually find on novels. While we remembered reading “a”, “an”, “dog”, “cat” on our first year in school, the toddlers now have words like “through”, “because”, “although”, and “laugh” to deal with. (I didn’t encounter those words until I’m seven years old!)
Not only that, Kinder math already has basic arithmetic like Addition and Subtraction. Man, when I was around that age, I remembered only having to count the watermelons in the basket, not adding them up with the watermelons from another basket!
As far as I can tell, Miggy is adjusting fairly well. I heard their teacher is great. And since Miggy’s a part of the first batch to start from Kinder-1, he might had less trouble on succeeding years. K-12 is actually very good program. It’s comprehensive, continuous and constant on its goals to invest on long-term solution for what the administration perceived to be the problems on the country’s quality of education.
Under K-12, each regional school or university will have to teach the students about the means of livelihood on that area, so that even if they can’t go to college, they can get a job and have the right skills for it. It also builds proficiency on mother-tongue based education. Apparently, research indicates that students learned best using their mother-tongue and in this linguistically diverse country like the Philippines, K-12 will focus first on the methods of teaching technical subjects like science and math through a familiar language before formally introducing them to Filipino and English later on. Of course, with the additional years of education, you can also get a chance to study abroad which prefers at least 16 years of education compared to Basic Curriculum’s 14-year curriculum.
All in reality, K-12 is a good program, but let’s be realistic here, people. In a developing country like the Philippines, there’s a small chance that the K-12 may fall short on its ambitious goals.
First let’s look at the situation of the students who started on Basic Education but were suddenly thrust into K-12. I took pity on these students, because their background started out from the traditional curriculum. Although they will adjust, it will take some time for them to grasp the reins yet before they get used to it, they’re put it into another higher level with more challenging subjects. I’ve talked to some kids’ mothers and they all said the same thing: Their kids are struggling. Some are even losing confidence to themselves and self-esteem. Some who haven’t hire home tutors before are now looking for one. A middle-class family can afford some help, but what of the larger masses? With the additional years came the possibility of additional expenses and they need to keep both ends meet. Tutoring lessons and supplementary materials are completely out of the question.
DepEd should have initiated K-12 on the fresh batch of students last year, or this year, but in eagerness to solve the problems on education, or meet the demands of the administration, they deemed it important to include the Basic Education batch under K-12 experimental group.
Philippines is reported to have the only Asian nation with ten-year-basic education program, but you see, unlike our Malay and Thai neighbors, our teachers aren’t forced to seek greener pastures abroad. Not only that, the ones who go are our best teachers, specializing in a certain discipline of education and the ones who decided to remain are left to struggle different levels of education instead of focusing on teaching one. In Indonesia, teacher-training programs are varied and gradually being updated. Malaysia is under British-designed K-12 but tertiary education is heavily subsidized by the government, resulting to less expenditures for the families.
Education is a country’s asset for prosperity and development, but more than anything, it is the investing to the country’s future without having to compromise the financial situation of the majority. Lessening the burden of the people should be the first priority before introducing something as big as K-12. Large projects such as the addition of rooms, facilities, books, supplies and proper funding of good teachers should be the first step forward. Or the least the government can do is to provide more local jobs for the poor to send their kids to school.
Right now, K-12 sits unfavorably on the social situation of the Philippines, but we can do no more but watch and see how it will go. As we Filipinos are prone to say, Make the best out of the situation. Whatever the results, the least we can do is to learn from it, because learning does not stop in 10, 12 or 16 years of education. It’s gradually in process and forever continuing, even if you’re an elementary student or already the secretary of Department of Education himself.