IT’S thrilling and reassuring to learn that the Department of Education is now almost completely ready for the full implementation of the K-to-12 program in June next year.
In a year-end report, the education department through Education Secretary Armin Luistro has announced that “the finish line is in sight” for the program.
The good secretary compares the K-12 implementation to “running a marathon.”
The metaphor is fitting. K-12 is the biggest education reform ever attempted in the country since the recovery of independence in 1946. It is an undertaking fraught with challenges and difficulties. It has had its share of oppositors and critics.
But Luistro is not flustered but confident. He says: “We are running a marathon and I can already see the finish line… we are on our last mile.”
Luistro said that 2015 has been a “year of challenges” for the reform program, because this is the year when the DepEd and the nation prepared for the full implementation of the Senior High School (SHS) Program or Grades 11 and 12 starting next school year, 2016-2017.
Five years of implementing K-12
Despite many challenges, the department has exhausted all possible means to ensure that the program will be in place, even if the current Administration will end its term in June next year.
DepEd has been implementing the K-12 Program since SY 2011-2012 with the introduction of the Universal Kindergarten in the education system.
In SY 2012-2013, DepEd implemented the Enhanced curriculum for Grades 1 to 7.
The year 2013 was also significant and instrumental because it was the year that the K to 12 reform was enacted into law.
In 2014, DepEd finally completed the curriculum for Senior High School.
This year, DepEd focused its attention on preparations for the implementation of SHS.
Luistro reported that this year, DepEd was able to identify all the needed requirements for the implementation of the SHS and the needed budget for it.
Luistro said that this year, DepEd has also opened up the application for teachers to teach SHS students next year. To date, there are 41,692 teachers who have already applied for the SHS.
To help students who want to enroll in private schools that offer SHS, Luistro said that DepEd has also ironed out the voucher program through the Education Service Contracting (ESC) Program.
The financial assistance to students and teachers in private schools, HEIs and Technical Vocational Institutions (TVIs) totals P21.189 billion – P9.005 billion to assist private JHS through the ESC, P11.183 billion to assist private SHS and P1,000 billion through the SHS voucher – as included in the 2016 budget.
There are at least 1.3 million incoming SHS students next year. Majority of the incoming SHS students – 877, 937 or 66.7 percent of the total number of registrants – will go to public SHS. Meanwhile, there is a total of 437, 668 SHS or 33.3 percent registrants expected to enroll in private SHS.
Our great adventure in education
For this last mile of effort, the Department of Education deserves and has earned the full support and cooperation of the whole nation. We in the media, no less than other social institutions, should do our part to help ensure its success.
The great educator and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, described education as a great adventure.
K-12 is an indispensable part of the Filipino’s adventure in education.
The hopes and dreams of our people and our country are fully wedded to the completion and success of this landmark reform.
Our great adventure is still unfolding. But even this early, honor is due.
For courageously embracing this reform, President Aquino and his Administration fully deserve congratulations.
For leading the way in bringing this reform to reality, Secretary Luistro and the Department of Education deserve our people’s heartfelt thanks and commendation.