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PUBLISHED ON JANUARY 6, 2012
“Even if the curriculum is changed but the existing problems of shortages are not addressed, quality education will still not be attained.” – France Castro, Alliance of Concerned Teachers By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL Bulatlat.com Sidebar: Still struggling to teach with so little MANILA –To save the ailing education system in the Philippines, President Benigno S. Aquino III and Education Sec. Armin Luistro declared that their education reform agenda would center on the implementation of the K + 12 program. Patterned after the education system of other countries, the K + 12 program aims to increase the number of years of basic education. According to a primer produced by the Department of Education (DepEd), the K + 12 program would require students to undergo universal kindergarten, six years of elementary education (Grades 1-6), four years of junior high school (Grades 7-10 or 1st year to 4th year high school) and two years of senior high school (Grades 11-12 or 5th year to 6th year). This was precipitated by the low scores Filipino students got in national and international achievement tests, especially the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Developed by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), the TIMSS is an international assessment of the math and science knowledge of fourth and eighth grade students around the world. First administered in 1995, the TIMSS is being conducted every four years. The mandatory universal Kindergarten was implemented this school year (2011-2012). In school year 2012-2013 the new curriculum under K to 12 program will be introduced to incoming Grade 1 and first year high school students. The senior high school will be implemented in school year 2016-2017. However, progressive teachers and student groups remain skeptical that the K + 12 program would save the ailing education system in the country. “What the government should prioritize are the shortages in the basic education system like classrooms, books, chairs and teachers,” France Castro, secretary-general of Alliance of Concerned Teachers said. Even DepEd’s data shows that there are thousands of shortages of chairs, classrooms, books, and most importantly teachers. The mandatory kindergarten made the 152,569 shortages in classrooms more pronounced. Worse are the shortages in teachers. Currently, there is a shortage of 103,599 teachers.
it is crucial to note that the increase remains grossly insufficient in addressing the needs of basic education. spokeswoman of Salinlahi. the budget of DepEd was increased. there was no allocation for its implementation. the five-year old pupils lacked chairs to sit on and were cramped in the few classrooms made available. Because the program was not made into law. libraries. pupils were put in whatever space was available in elementary schools. . there should be one chair per pupil. 12 on the K to12 curriculum attended by DepEd officials and public school teachers. 37. It’s like they’re deaf. Raymund Palatino said. According to Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns. Aquino increased the budget to P207 billion this year. Quezon City. the implementation of Kindergarten was not included in the 2011 budget of P207 billion ($4. Though DepEd had the biggest allocation for 2012. From P175 billion ($4 million) in 2010. “For 2011. one comfort room per classroom since the children are not yet toilet trained and one teacher for a maximum of 25 pupils. Castro said ACT also wants Filipino children to have quality education. But she finds no reason to be optimistic because of the perennial shortages. despite this increase. “These are the prerequisites of a Kindergarten program. Castro said a summit was held last Dec. Yet. In DepEd order No.” Kabataan Party-list Rep. the DepEd did not really prepare for this program. And because there was no fund allocation. according to ACT. the P234 billion ($5.” Castro said disappointed.76) per class.000 ($69.ACT calls the implementation of universal kindergarten a disaster because in schools such as the Corazon Aquino Elementary School in Batasan.7 billion). it is a welcome development that there was a slight increase in the budget for basic education. The following table shows the shortages and the plans of the Aquino administration to address the shortages. Government’s neglect of social services like education is reflected in the budget.” said Melissa San Miguel. home economics buildings. resource centers and other available spaces were identified for use of kindergarten classes. first and foremost. Kindergarten disaster According to ACT. To address the shortage of classrooms. instead of hiring regular teachers. But since there is no budget for this program this is not happening in many elementary schools in the country obviously because. Under the Aquino administration. the DepEd hired volunteer teachers who they paid a meager P3.3 billion) budget is still insufficient to address the shortages. science laboratories. She said they raised the problem of shortages as an obstacle to the orderly implementation of the K to12 basic education program but to no avail. “They [Dep Ed officials] won’t listen anymore.
only 66 finish grade six. the insufficient budget allocation forced teachers to sell not only learning materials but also pad papers. regrettably. classrooms and teachers continue to plague basic education. for every 58 students who enroll in first year high school. giving them snacks every time they go to school plus their transportation. many students are forced to dropout from school. That is why the idea of another two years in basic education is an added burden to some mothers. Palatino said.This lack of budget. “A quick glance at the outside world is enough to provide us a concrete face for these out-of-school youths – they are the young workers in construction. “The insufficient government spending to basic social services like education remains to be a major issue that paralyzes the qualitative functioning of our education system. even snacks. only 23 enter college and only 14 graduate.com. In 2008. chairs. In a news report. “Since what we need here in school like books and other learning materials are not provided to us ahead of time we really have to sell these in order to provide the students their books. they are the young .” Because of poverty.” De Jesus said in an interview with Bulatlat. “It is difficult.” Not for free Suzzana De Jesus. for every 100 pupils who enter grade one. Even as the DepEd announced time and again that no fees would be charged to students. a mother of five said. pencils. did not ensure a smooth school opening as shortages in textbooks. principal of Demetrio Tuazon Elementary School admitted that not everything in public schools is for free. said Palatino.
She added that the training of teachers would require a substantial budget. That is why we would prefer teaching them pure Algebra or Statistics because it sticks to them. one subject like Science for example will be divided into four classifications/specializations for the whole school year. Castro pointed out that this approach requires teachers with specializations. more than one teacher will tackle one subject like Science. The huge number of shortages in teachers will definitely make it difficult to fill in the needed teacher positions. they are the passionate dreamers who painfully awaken to the grim reality that they just have to waive their dreams of becoming scientists. When will these be finalized? We will have our training this summer. doctors. being a teacher herself. according to the Education. one teacher who specialize in general science will teach it during the first grading period. engineers. they (DepEd) will have to come up with the textbooks. However. Castro said this approach is not advisable.” Castro pointed out. said Castro. they are the sellers who knock at out car windows. In this method.” Castro explained. Castro also said that at this stage. A teacher who specializes in biology will teach during the second grading period. However there is no identified budget for it. “After finalizing the curriculum.com website students repeat the study of a subject at different grade levels. each time at a higher level of difficulty and in greater depth. In a spiral curriculum. in Science. A spiral curriculum will be used in implementing the K to12 program. Under the spiral curriculum. “For example. “A chemistry teacher cannot teach biology simply because that is not her undergraduate course ” .com. What will be the content of our training if the requisites are not even ready?” There is also a drastic change in the curriculums of Math and Science in the K to12 program. “A massive retooling and retraining of teachers will be needed in order to teach students in senior high school. DepEd said there would be team teaching. In the implementation of K to12. Castro said there are still gray areas in the K to12 program. then the teacher’s manual.” Chopsuey is a Chinese cuisine in which different kinds of vegetables are mixed together. the DepEd is still finalizing the curriculum. “This approach is not really helping the students.involved in drugs and prostitution. and a teacher specializing in chemistry will teach during the third grading period. teachers. according to Castro.” In haste again In an interview with Bulatlat. the students tend to forget the lessons previously taken because of its chopsuey design.
” By using TIMSS as basis of the study. educators Abraham Felipe and Carolina Porio found out that “there is no correlation between the length of school cycle and the quality of education. . it is important that we also grasp the framework of K to 12.” Addressing the wrong problem. “In addition to this issue of non-correlation between the length of school-cycle and quality of education.” Castro stressed. Castro criticized the government’s haste in implementing K+12 program without concrete and careful planning. Citing the study entitled “Length of school cycle and ‘quality’ of education”. 12 summit. the DepEd is implementing programs that are not really the solution to the problem. other countries with longer cycles than the Philippines have lower scores. The DepEd. “What the DepEd is trying to show here is that they are accomplishing something. Tesda and CHED are the lead agencies that will ensure the smooth transition from the existing 10 year education cycle to the K to 12 basic education cycle. “The major problem here that needs to be addressed is the shortages. is rendered problematic by the context within which it is set to be implemented and the direction it intends to take. “I very much understand that added learning and training period in elementary and high school could be beneficial for our youth. which is why the result would be a disaster. Palatino pointed out that the length of school-cycle has nothing to do with the quality of education.” Palatino said. however. Castro said the DepEd and Tesda presented different curriculums during the Dec. Raymond Palatino said. It’s obvious here that they are not recognizing it (the shortages). But instead of addressing this. They do not foresee the possibilities.” said Castro.She also added that there is still no final curriculum that they will use for the implementation of the K to12 program. “He said in the summit that K to12 will not assure the students that they will have jobs after their six years in high school. Kabataan Party-list Rep. Simply put: the plan wants to rapidly generate employable high school graduates that will fill in the demands of the foreign market. coming up with a non–solution In his privilege speech delivered in Congress. Palatino said the findings underscore that some countries with the same school-cycle as the Philippines have high scores. It came from his mouth that K to12 is just an attempt to help solve the problem of education but it is not the solution. The implementation is once again in haste.” Even DepEd Sec. Palatino said. The K to 12 proposal. The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said they are still not ready. Armin Luistro said the K to12 program would not solve the existing problems of the country like unemployment. Palatino also added that the framework of the K to 12 program is to produce cheap semi-skilled workers for the global market.
“Instead. our focus should be completely re-oriented to produce a holistically trained workforce that contributes to national industrialization and development.” . the government should put a stop to plugging the dreams of the people to the demands of the foreign market. quality education will still not be attained. What only awaits the students this coming school year 2012-2013 is chaos.“Even if the curriculum is changed but the existing problems of shortages are not addressed.” Palatino stressed that to genuinely improve the quality of basic education.
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