Happy assembly for teachers, students, parents and the nation

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YESTERDAY morning’s K-to-12 Summit at the PICC (the Philippine International Convention Center) was a rare, happy assembly for teachers, students, parents and the nation. The only unhappy people were the demonstrators who were blocked by police when they tried to reach the entrance to the PICC to demand that implementation of the K-to-12 basic education system be stopped.

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Someone who has not been paying attention to the news and discussions abut K-to-12 would think, from hearing the new system’s foes — which are a convergence of Leftwingers and Rightwingers –that the implementation K-to-12 is just to begin when the new school year begins this Monday June 1.

No, that’s not the case.  The implementation of K-to-12, which brings Philippine universal basic education up to the level of the global standard, began five years ago, after President BS Aquino had been in office for a year.  The Department of Education, under Secretary Brother Armin Luistro, started in schoolyear 2011-2012 the “phased implementation” of the new K-to-12 basic educational system.

This system was studiously designed not just for public (government-owned) schools but also for private ones. The fact however is that most of the private schools, specially the “elite” and most expensive ones, had in fact been offering the K-to-12 basic education system all along.

The K-to-12 Summit yesterday confirmed what most education experts have been saying–that the new basic education system is immensely good for the students.

Do you realize that because of our substandard basic education system, most companies — foreign and local — now require a college degree for even the humblest jobs?

The K-to-12 system substantially upgrades the quality of the Filipino high school graduates. Most of all they (1) become immediately employable if they want to have a job right after finishing senior high school and (2) they become unquestionably qualified to be enrolled as college or university students, without having to suffer doing remedial courses in their freshman year because they did not do enough pre-college maths, science, literature, etc.

Testimonies of these happy experiences were given by young people in yesterday’s Summit.

Teachers also testified to their and their students higher sense of achievement and satisfaction in the K-to-12 system.

A parent spoke of his and his son’s experience of success and confidence in the young man’s future either as the able manager of the family automotive business or as a university scholar.

The reason many Germans, Brits and Americans who only have a high school diploma can immediately get hired in meaningful jobs they love is because early on, before they even reach the high school level of their basic education, they have chosen the learning “track” they prefer, which often is the line of studies and work they have shown an aptitude for.

The track can be in math-science-technical, business-accounting, letters-teaching, creative arts, etcetera.  The learning and practical knowledge they have amassed–and mastered–during 12 years of basic education, with vocational and technical courses in the higher grades, prepare them not only to hold jobs in their chosen tracks or to pursue university studies but also to become entrepreneurs or self-employed persons.

There is another difference, which makes the K-to-12 superior to the old 10-year basic education system. This is largely significant to those who wish to go and work abroad–and in today’s Philippines nearly everybody wants to do that.  Some Filipinos pass, even top, the strictest written and practical exams to qualify for very good jobs and they do get them.

But after a couple of years they suddenly find that despite their M.A.’s and Ph.D.’s–from even UP or La Salle or Ateneo–they can’t be promoted to the next higher level. Why?
Because a review of their records has shown the management’s HR people that these outstanding Filipinos lack two years of the total length of time they should have spent as students. To qualify for higher office, they have to go back to school!

That problem is wiped out by Bro Armin’s (and his DepEd companions’) K-to-12 accomplishment.

K-to-12 is, we have said it here before, the only solid achievement so far of the BS Aquino presidency that he can honestly claim to be his legacy.

Though some of the time yesterday, he still had his arms wrapped around himself defensively, the BS Aquino we saw at the Summit was less tense, more like a happy man. Even his speech was less tortured.

This is probably because he truly deserved the praise he heard Sec. Luistro gave him for approving and generously funding K-to12, the new basic education system that has already made a difference and will continue to improve the educational quality of Filipinos forever.

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4 Comments

  1. jason bourne on

    I disagree.
    The problem with our education system is not the length of education. It is the quality of the education. I zero in on the Elementary grade. If the child could not read, write, add and express himself then he should not graduate from Elementary school. But hundreds of thousands of kids move on to high school without having any of these basic skills. Then they gestate in high school waiting for graduation day not knowing any better.
    What we should do is get rid of a lot of these add on subjects that just muddles the kids mind.
    We should just go back to the basics. Spend more time on reading and writing and understanding.
    Now after high school emphasis should be given to the so called old “Vocational Schools”. They should follow the Singaporean/Korean/Japanese system of Polytechnic schools. Here we can create an army of techs to build, run and innovate our society.
    The 12K system to me is just an added burden to the poor Filipino family. It does not recognize the reality that 905 of Filipinos are poor who do not even have enough food to eat.
    And to top that, we do not even have enough school buildings, books, 7 related facilities and teachers to fill our present system.
    And lastly, quality teachers. No matter how long we keep our children in schools, it would not help because the quality of teachers is abysmal.
    Good luck on their experiment. But I am 100% sure it will fail because we have deluded ourselves “more of the same” substandard teaching will somehow lift us to a better station.
    I suggest that we a Junior high & a Senior high ( 3 years each) wherein the student can opt out after junior high and start working or going secretarial or other related course. That way they can start earning. Now if the kid wants to learn some more then he/she can proceed to senior high and then to college/poly or university.

  2. Carlo L. Adan on

    Positive rresults have been seen in schools that began to offer Grades 11 and 12 in the last three years and among their graduates.

  3. All the nice comment the editor enumerate still remain to be seen. Hope all what he professed is true! Meanwhile many poor family parent and teacher alike will be affected and this somewhat is has not been taken into consideration by Father Luistro. Again hopefully the government is really ready to successfully implement K12 , because there has been some doubt as to whether the government is 100% capable . Wish for the best but also expect the worst if chaos will arise due to poor implementation.

    • Leodegardo Pruna on

      What we Filipinos have to do is shun our attitude of “working at the last minute”. That is the very reason why in asking teachers of whether they are prepared to provide good service their common answer is “NO” because the materials to be used are not ready. We can just imagine why the DepEd had to purchase supposedly textbooks at a substantial cost which are to be made references because such textbooks are outdated.Emphases on “Values” in all of the subjects should be incorporated to slowly change the Filipino mentality of “BAHALA NA” and “MAY BUKAS PA”. God bless the Philippines.