Katrina Angela Macapagal
10 April 2013
No k in their K-12
Studying in a public elementary school and one of the largest public high schools in Mindanao, I have been immersed in a population of students from different walks of life after kindergarten. Yes, different walks of life. There were kids from extremely rich families and then there were the children of the poor as well. But in my section, an engineering science curriculum, three quarters of the class came from prominent wealthy families, children of provincial politicians, and owners of vast farm lands. And I belong to the remaining fourth of the section. If you take a peek in our class while we have our discussions, in every armchair, there is a seated a student with a thick book on top of the desk. We are always present in class, worried about our homework and doing our best to grasp the topics in advanced Math, Sciences and other electives. Unfortunately, that is not the case in the remaining 30 sections of our year level which belong to the basic education curriculum (BEC). The real plight of public school students is resonated by the situation of these 30 sections in my year level. Every time I would enter their room, what always invites my attention is the absence of a large fraction of the students. In some rooms, it would seem that the class has a perfect attendance because all of the chairs are occupied, but that is not the real case. The section just simply lacks chairs making it easy for me to assume all the students are present. Also, the books they use in various subjects most especially in Science and Social Studies, provided by the government, contain massive errors in facts and lack the level of academic competitiveness suited for a senior high school. Every time I see documentations in the television about conditions of public schools, I always tell myself that we, the students of my school, are still lucky compared to those kids in remote regions across the archipelago, and even the students in urban areas like Metro Manila. I could not grasp the thought of having a class while my classmates and teachers’ feet are submerged in murky water. I could not imagine having a Science and Health class while all of us are sitting on the ice-cold floor. I could not bear the idea of learning while we are grilled under the scorching sun. I think I cannot survive my papers if our library lacks the wisdom it must possess. I believe we could not have a good class discussion if my teacher does not have the materials for teaching like chalks and pens. I think it would be hard having a class while your room is being used as a shelter for typhoon victims. And lastly, I could not imagine the younger students suffer from this kind of environment for two years more because of an immature and unprepared educational program implemented in an inappropriate haste. Despite such hindrances in achieving a quality education, the Department of Education (DepEd), under the auspices of President Aquino, still pursued the implementation of “Kindergarten and the 12 years of Elementary and Secondary education” otherwise known as K to12 program last school year 2012-2013. The implemented program added two more years in the old 10-year Basic Education Curriculum (BEC) of the country. Also, before reaching the elementary level, a child must have undergone the kindergarten education. In the K to 12 program, an optional one year pre-kindergarten course is offered, and once a child reaches 5 years old, he or she must be schooled in the mandatory kindergarten curriculum. By K to 12 definition, the elementary level consists of grades one to six, just like the old system. The drastic change is seen as the students go to high school which is now divided into two: the junior and senior high school. In junior high school, the students will spend four years, and two more years in the senior high school where the core subjects Math, Science, and Language will be...
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