Education Secretary Leonor Briones admitted that the department faces challenges in the full implementation of the senior high school program.
The Department of Education will fully implement the Grade 12 program next school year. Having a senior high school is part of the K-to-12 [Kindergarten to Grade 12] basic education program.
“Right now, we are facing the challenge of finishing of school buildings intended for Grade 12 [students], and also the furniture because these are the most basic needs,” Briones said over the weekend.
She expressed confidence that these problems will be addressed before the start of classes in June.
“We are getting ready for Grade 12 [implementation]. We expect higher level of enrolment,” Briones said as she expressed optimism that all Grade 11 students will proceed to Grade 12.
“We are preparing for Grade 12, but at the same time, we have to consider the short course for the other grades, and the feared factor, which is very important is the impact also of a natural disaster,” she added.
Briones recently visited some schools in the provinces that were devastated by typhoons to ensure the rehabilitation of damaged classrooms before the next school year.
“I’ve had the opportunity to visit, for example, the cities of Tuguegarao and Isabela, particularly Isabela areas, and then the Bicol region with Catanduanes, Naga City, and Camarines Sur. We have a lot of catching up to do with some repairs, clean up, and we hope to do that in much time,” Briones said.
The DepEd chief said her agency is also fasttracking the downloading of the budget for the repair of school buildings damaged by typhoons late last year.
“We downloaded over P61 million to repair damaged school buildings,” she said.
Briones added that the curriculum for Grade 12 is ready.
Dina Ocampo, DepEd undersecretary for curriculum and instruction, said the curriculum for Grade 12 was finished in 2013.
“What we’re doing for curriculum now is enhancement. The curriculum is the basis for choosing what programs to offer,” she said.
“When we started working on the preparations for senior high school we already planned for both grades (Grades 11 and 12), so as a matter of fact the planning processes now are already for 2018. So we’ve already identified how many teachers, how many classrooms, and so on, and these are being implemented. Buildings are being constructed, learning materials are being procured, and so on,” the DepEd official added.
Briones affirmed that the K-to-12 program is primarily geared to benefit Filipino students and the country.
“I always insist that K-to-12 is not only for our regional friends or for our international neighbor or for the global community, we are doing this for ourselves,” she said during the 2nd National K-to-12 Conference held at the Philippine International Convention Center on Saturday.
Briones maintained that the implementation of K-to-12 is not prompted only by the practices of other countries or by the need to abide by the exigencies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
She explained that the new curriculum will help foster more productive and competitive youths.
“We are doing K-to-12 for ourselves and for the Philippine education. We are doing this to be able to compete in our own country so that we can equip our learners with appropriate skills, creativity, and intelligence to cope with the changing world,” Briones said.
The K-to-12 program aims to provide sufficient time for mastery of concepts and skills, develop life-long learners and prepare graduates for tertiary education, middle-level skills development, employment, and entrepreneurship. NEIL A. ALCOBER