Statistics says it. A rough estimate of 21.49 million elementary and secondary public school students will once again enter the premises of their beloved alma mater for once the school year 2012–2013. Well, that’s a big challenge to our Department of Education (DepEd) officials and teachers since this year also marks the implementation of the K to 12 curriculum and the inclusion of “mother tongue” from Kindergarten to Grade III.
Apparently, in a country that’s seeking for advancements in education and in producing qualified learners, the K to 12 program might be the answer to these problems. As a matter of fact, the Philippines is the only country that’s been following the 10-year basic education cycle in Asia; hence, it is high-time for our basic education system to follow the trend of other countries— one year Kindergarten level and 12 years of basic education (which includes six years of primary education, four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school).
However, there are glitches in this new system.
Since this school year’s batch serves as the ‘pilot class’ for this new program and that a sum of 21.49 million students will flock to nearby public schools, how then will our Filipino learners grab a gist of the lessons taught in the classroom if they don’t even have, or lack a classroom in the primary and junior high levels, plus the two-year senior high level?
More so, this curriculum would also mean that additional teachers will be hired to man the extra levels, but, as the DepEd noted that a total of 47,000 teachers are badly needed, who will then handle those remaining echelons of learning with qualified and professional skills in teaching?
And the perennial problems still exist like inadequacy of books, overcrowded classrooms and sometimes the learning of the basics under the shed of a tree.
For me, what the Filipino learners need is the quality of education rather than focusing on the quantity or number of years an individual should spend to become a more competitive and productive graduate of this K to 12 curriculum. Although, we lagged in the lowest spot during the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), maybe this problem could be remedied by sewing first the weak spots in some of our learning institutions and providing adequate supports and funds.
With that, I think the Filipino learners will strive hard and excel if they feel that their learning environment is conducive for learning. Above all, learning occurs in the learner and therefore should not be solely based on the years a learner must take.