One of the issues that the Philippine government is still trying to solve until today is the issue on education. Based on what is happening right now in the Philippines, the educational system has not reach to its fullest. In fact, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization or UNESCO, the Philippines is the only country in the world that still follows a 10-year basic education cycle. And so, last October 2010, President Noynoy Aquino proposed the Kindergarten plus 12 or the K+12 program to catch up with the rest of the world having a 12-year basic education cycle. However with all the issues on education the country still has, I express disapproval with President Aquino’s plan of strengthening the Philippine education system through the Kindergarten plus 12 or K+12 program.
Frankly, President Aquino has good reasons on proposing this program as the additional years can help as a preparation for the next chapter of a student’s life: college. In fact, it is also a good way to strengthen the educational system in the country. However, the cons are more than the pros. The program is not yet the immediate solution to the current problem the country has on education. And so I stand firm that there are still other issues on education that the Aquino regime needs to take into consideration.
The government has planned to allocate a budget of 207.3 billion pesos from the original 300 billion pesos budget for 2011. But according to the Philippine Business for Education or PBEd, if the government wants to push through with the plan, the government still needs around 65 billion pesos a year for the additional classrooms and teachers needed for the plan. In fact, the government still needs more funds for the proposed plan to push through. In relation to that, for the past weeks, a lot of students rallied near the Department of Education to condemn on this K+12 plan. According to the students, they condemn the plan of the government because it is a waste of time and money, and what the government needs to do is for them to increase the budget on education and not on the number of school years. Surely, the students have a point there. For some Filipinos, they compare Aquino’s first year run in the government to Marcos’s government in the 1970’s. Ferdinand Marcos, together with his wife, thought first on less important issues, the arts and tourism to be specific, and so the more important issues of the society at that time were jeopardized. Right now, President Aquino is concentrating on a solution that is not the real solution to the current problem the country is facing on education.
But as the students mentioned as they rallied, the government did not take into consideration the major problems of education, which includes the lack of classrooms, lack of school materials and equipment and lack of teachers. In short, the quality of education in the Philippines is more like a junk. According to the Department of Education secretary Mona Valisno, out of 24 million Filipino students coming to school this year, around 20 million Filipino students are in public students, which means 14 percent of the students are studying in private schools. And as I notice the different public schools in Manila, there is surely a problem in the lack of classrooms and the quality of these classrooms: hot, dirty and crowded. Speaking of crowded, given the data of the total number of Filipino students studying in public schools, the classrooms are cans of sardines as the public school students are having a hard time with the crowdedness of the classrooms. At the same time, because of the lack of funds for education, there are a lot of students who do not have the necessary materials for their school needs. They do not have pencils, books, pad papers and other materials needed. Imagine a situation where the public school students, who are lacking school materials, are suffering inside a...