“Better late than never!”
In education, it’s never too late to improve the system. Masses of policies have been applied in order to sustain the need of the learners to become ready in acquiring the so-called 21st century skills. This term implies that learners should acquire core competencies such as digital literacy, collaboration, problem-solving and critical thinking in order for them to get along and succeed in today’s world.
Section 2 (Declaration of Policy) of Republic Act (RA) 10533, or the “Enhancing the Philippine Basic Education System by Strengthening its Curriculum and Increasing the Number of Years for Basic Education,” states: “[T]he state shall establish, maintain and support a complete, adequate and integrated system of education relevant to the needs of the people, the country and society-at-large.”
In support of the said act, the Department of Education issued Order 43 series of 2013 or the implementing rules and regulations of RA 10533. Under Section 6 Rule 1 (General Provisions) of the order, the enhanced basic education program was created. The K to 12 program covers kindergarten and 12 years of basic education (six years of primary education, four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school), and provides sufficient time for mastery of concepts and skills, development of lifelong learners, and preparation of graduates for tertiary education, middle level skills development, employment and entrepreneurship.
Changes are inevitable in our education system because these are required in order to stay relevant to the urgent needs and rise of opportunities in our nation. These are welcomed due to issues concerning the quality of produced learners and the challenges faced by teachers in making learning with technology relevant to the 21st century learners, particularly because of their wide use of fast-changing technology. But do these changes really improve the quality of our education? Do we really produce 21st century learners? As a junior high school teacher in Technology and Livelihood Education subject, can I still keep going? Am I late to become a 21st century teacher?
There are many questions since the biggest concern today is quality education, but these questions should never stop teachers. And as said by Education Secretary Leonor Briones during the Gabay Guro 2019, “Teachers will remain indispensable in the fight for quality education.”
Society expects that every K to 12 graduate will be ready to go into different paths such as education, employment or entrepreneurship. Therefore, we must produce graduates who are equipped with information, media and technology skills; learning and innovation skills; effective communication skills; life and career skills; and holistically developed Filipino learners.
It’s not too late to become 21st century teachers and we must be responsive to the challenges of producing quality students through quality education. As always said by my current school head, Dr. Roselle Ventic, she wants our dear students to be recognized as quality students who are disciplined and who always aim make their parents and schools proud while also being proud of their achievements.
We should never stop, teachers, even though we are loaded with tasks and challenges not only in teaching, but also in terms of paperwork, performance ratings and the painstaking challenge of handling individual differences of our learners inside and outside our classroom.
Be zealous teachers, keep moving forward, for in our hands lie the future of our learners and our nation. Hence, on us rest the bright future of our nation, the future of our own children and the future of our children’s children.
The author is Teacher 2 at the Talipapa High School, Division of Caloocan City.