The opposition against the K to 12 program continues to mount, as another group of parents and teachers has filed a petition for temporary restraining order at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, June 23.
Parents and teachers from the Manila Science High School, the first science high school in the Philippines said the K to 12 program, the flagship program of President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s administration, has diluted the school’s special science curriculum.
“It has discarded a number of its math and science subjects, thus denying the students the education they are entitled to as gifted and talented learners,” the petition read.
Isaac Ali Tapar, president of the Manila Science High School Teachers Association (MSHSTA) said their petition has three points, “First is to let the students take the college entrance test, second is for the restoration of the special science curriculum, and third is to junk another two years of senior high school.”
The Manila Science’s petition is the sixth petition against the K to 12 program.
Restoration of special science curriculum
Tapar said that while the thrust of the K to 12 program is for the enhancement of the basic education, it does not apply to science schools like Manila Science.
He said that when they studied the curriculum, there are subjects that were removed from the first four years of high school, to be taught later in senior high school (SHS).
“Manila Science High School is really intended for heavier and advanced subjects than the regular school. If we would follow the Department of Education’s decongested curriculum, Manila Science will no longer be different from other schools,” Tapar told Bulatlat.com.
According to the petition, the special science curriculum has been in place since 1963, which is more advanced than the curriculum of the science and technology-oriented high schools.
For school year 2012-2013, the Grade 7 students were still taught the special science curriculum. However, in school year 2013-2014, the petition said, a number of subjects which used to form part of the school’s special science curriculum were discarded, up to the present school year, 2015-2016.
The parents did not take it sitting down, said Tapar. They have conducted several dialogues from the school principal to the School Division Superintendent up to the DepEd Central Office. The parents also joined the June 1 rally protesting the K to 12 program.
“We really thanked the parents for standing up for their children’s future,” said Tapar who also said that it is the parents who initiated the filing of petition in the SC.
The subjects that were removed from the curriculum were:
Grade 8: Biology, Theoretic Research, Physical Sciences (Chemistry and Physics), Geometry and Intermediate Algebra;
Grade 9: General Chemistry, Biotechnology & Research, Physics and Advanced Algebra;
Grade 10, Introductory College Physics, Analytic Geometry and Introductory Calculus as well as Advanced Chemistry and Research.
These subjects, said Tapar, used to be taught in Manila Science High School’s old curriculum. While some subjects such as Pre-Calculus, Basic Calculus, General Biology, General Physics and General Chemistry, were just transferred to senior high school.
“By diluting/weakening the school’s special science curriculum by deleting from its list of subjects many which form part of it (which has been admitted by the school’s teachers themselves, who described it as ‘anemic’), the K to 12 Basic Education Curriculum in effect has denied to students the education that they are entitled to. It has denied to them the education commensurate with their abilities and the opportunity and encouragement to develop their special talents,” the petition read.
K to 12 ready?
While the high court has yet to decide on the petitions against K to 12, the senior high school is due to be implemented in less than a year.
“DepEd’s claim that they are K to 12 ready is really questionable. Here, in Manila Science there are still no teachers hired for senior high school and there are no facilities for it,” Tapar said.
“We are mere employees; we will follow what the law says even
if we oppose it,” he said.
Now that the issue has been elevated to the high court. “The SC’s role is very crucial because this is the children and the youth’s future that is at stake here,” said Tapar.
The petition said K to 12’s additional two years is already part of Manila Science’s four year special curriculum, and it is “a most unnecessary superfluity” to students.
“These students are ready for college; there is no need for additional two years,” Tapar told Bulatlat.com.
The petitioners called the DepEd’s decision to implement the K to 12 program as a “huge step backward” in the development of science and technology, “putting to great waste the special talents and capabilities of petitioner students, who could very well become the mathematicians, scientists and engineers which the country greatly needs for its development and progress.”
The petition also said the new curriculum “defeats” the constitutional mandate for the state to give priority to science and technology education to push national development.