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.
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.