J – Heroism
Start of K-12 basic education draws flak
The Enhanced K-12 Basic Education Program, viewed as President Benigno Aquino III’s flagship program for the education sector, has begun implementation for school year (SY) 2011-2012 amid wide criticism from different sectors. The Department of Education’s (DepEd) K-12program will add two more years to the basic education system. It will start in SY 2012-2013 for Grade 1 and first year high school students with the target of full implementation by SY 2018-2019. For the present school year, the DepEd started theK-12’s “phase to phase” implementation with the universal kindergarten scheme, imposing a mandatory additional pre-school year for all five-year-olds who entered public schools. Some 1.2 million five-year-olds started kindergarten last June 6. This means that those who enrolled in the universal kindergarten scheme will be taking six years of elementary (Grades 1 to 6), four years of junior high school (Grades 7 to 10) and two years more of senior high school (Grades 11 to 12), or 13 years of basic education. Usual back-to-school woes compounded by K-12
While it may be too early to evaluate if the initial phase of the K-12 implementation is a success or a catastrophe, the DepEd’s arguments that the K-12 program will be the solution to yearly basic education woes drew much flak a week after the official start of classes. For the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), the usual problem of shortages in classrooms, textbooks and other facilities were compounded by the DepEd’s “hasty” implementation of the K-12. “For the 1.2 million kindergarten pupils alone, at a ratio of 1:25 per class on a desired single shift sessions, a total of 48, 000 new classrooms are needed,” according to ACT Secretary General France Castro. The DepEd’s own estimate of classroom shortage before classes started this June was pegged at 150,000 classrooms. “The haphazard implementation of K-12 and the...