K to 12 Integration: Is The Country Really Ready?
Before adapting the K to 12 curriculum, the Philippines is the only country in Asia and one of only three nations in the world with 10 years of basic education. The question is: why did the country take so long to implement the new educational system? According to Manila Times, the educational shift was proposed as early as 1938, and was declared by Senator Juan Edgardo Angara. It took 60 years to finally have that General Academic Strand integrated in the curriculum. Why? There are several factors: lack of classrooms, adequately trained teachers, instructional materials such as books and chairs and desks. Simply put, the country was not ready financially. What made the administration finally set it in motion? During the term of President Benigno Aquino, he envisioned that education would be an investment and not another problem that needs fixing. In his vision, a 12-year basic education cycle was included along other educational improvement plans.
With the full swing of K to 12’s integration now, is the Philippines really ready?
Former Education Secretary Armin Luistro reiterated that the Philippines is ready to implement the K to 12 program. DepEd’s construction of 30, 000 classrooms and the government’s allotted budget for teachers, equipment and resources also made Luistro positive about the changes. Even business groups expressed their support by claiming that K to 12 is a milestone. The system intends to bring nationally competent graduates and it makes Philippines up to par with the rest of the world. Again, what makes the system effective?
The K to 12 basic education program covers Kindergarten and 12 years of basic education. It consists of 6 years of grade school, four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school. It aims to bring Philippine education to the next level so the country can match up with the rest of the world. Students can choose from 3 interest-based tracks namely: Academic, Sports & Arts and TVET. The Academic Track prepares the students who want to take up further studies in college. This has 4 strands: BAM (Business, Accountancy and Management), HESS (Humanities, Education, Social Sciences) STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and GAS (General Academic Strand). The General Academic Strand serves as a fallback for those who haven’t made their mind on what academic track to choose. The Sports and Arts Track, on the other hand, cultivates the students to be artists and athletes while the TVET Track teaches and sharpens the students based on their chosen discipline.
Though it presents a lot of promising advantages, there are still debates surrounding the matter. According to Eusebio San Diego, founder and former president of the Quezon City Public School Teachers Association, the objectives of K to 12 may be good but at the time but the government cannot afford it and that it’s eventually bound to fail. He also claimed that the country’s lawmakers believe that whatever’s being done in the United States should also be done in the country. The problem is, the United States can afford it and we cannot.
As a nation, we have to strive for progress. Whether the country is ready or not, there’s nothing left to do but adapt.