“We need to add two years to our basic education. Those who can afford pay up to fourteen years of schooling before university. Thus, their children are getting into the best universities and the best jobs after graduation. I want at least 12 years for our public school children to give them an even chance at succeeding.” – President Benigno S. Aquino III
• The poor quality of basic education is reflected in the low achievement scores of Filipino students. Many students who finish basic education do not possess sufficient mastery of basic competencies. One reason is that students do not get adequate instructional time or time on task. The National Achievement Test (NAT) for grade 6 in SY 2009-2010 passing rate is only 69.21%. Although this is already a 24% improvement over the SY 2005-2006 passing rate, further reforms are needed to achieve substantial improvement. The NAT for high school is 46.38% in SY 2009-2010, a slight decrease from 47.40% in SY 2008-2009.
• International tests results like 2003 TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematic and Science Study) rank the Philippines 34th out of 38 countries in HS II Math and 43rd out of 46 countries in HS II Science; for grade 4, the Philippines ranked 23rd out of 25 participating countries in both Math and Science.i In 2008, even with only the science high schools participating in the Advanced Mathematics category, the Philippines was ranked lowest
|Table 1 Philippine Average TIMSS Scores | | |Scores |International Average |Rank |Participating Countries | |2003 Results | |Grade 4 | |Science |332 |489 |23 |25 | |Mathematics |358 |495 |23 |25 | |HS 2 | |Science |377 |473 |43 |46 | |Mathematics |378 |466 |34 |38 | |2008 Results | |Advanced Mathematics |355 |500 |10 |10 | |Source: TIMMS, 2003 and 2008 |
• The current system also reinforces the misperception that basic education is just a preparatory step for higher education. For most parents, basic education is usually seen as a preparation for college education. Even this misperception falls short of expectations as most students usually have to take remedial and high school level classes in colleges and universities.
• The short duration of the basic education program also puts the millions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), especially the professionals, and those who intend to study abroad at a disadvantage. Our graduates are not automatically recognized as professionals abroad. Filipinos face mutual recognition problem in other countries that view the 10-year education program as insufficient. The Philippines is the only country in Asia and among the three remaining countries in the world that has a 10-year basic education program.2 The Washington Accordiv prescribes 12- years basic education as an entry to recognition of engineering professionals. The Bologna Accordv requires 12 years of education for university admission and practice of profession in European countries.
|Table 3 Comparative Data on the Pre-University Education in Asia | |Country |Basic Education Cycle Total | |Brunei |12 | |Cambodia |12 | |Indonesia |12 | |Lao PDR |12 | |Malaysia |12 | |Myanmar |11 | |Philippines |10 | |Singapore |11 | |Thailand |12 | |Timor-Leste |12 | |Vietnam |12 |
• K+12 means Kindergarten and the 12 years of elementary and secondary education. Kindergarten refers to the 5-year old cohort that takes a standardized kinder curriculum. Elementary education refers to primary schooling that involves six or seven years of education; meanwhile secondary education refers to high school. Under the K+12, the intention is not just to add two years of schooling but more importantly to enhance the basic education curriculum.
The goal of the Enhanced K+12 Basic Education Program is to create a functional basic education system that will produce productive and responsible citizens equipped with the essential competencies and skills for both life-long learning and employment. The program will enhance the basic education system to full functionality to fulfill the basic learning needs of students. This is in line with the agenda of the President Aquino of having quality education as a long-term solution to poverty. In order to achieve these goals, the program has the following twin-objectives:
a) To give every student an opportunity to receive quality education based on an enhanced and decongested curriculum that is internationally recognized and comparable
• Develop a curriculum that is rational and focused on excellence (decongested, uses research-based practices, uses quality materials and textbooks, etc.) • Produce a pool of highly qualified and adequately trained teachers. • Achieve high academic standards, especially in Mathematics, Science, and English at all levels • Produce graduates who are globally competitive and whose credentials are recognized internationally.
b) To change public perception that high school education is just a preparation for college; rather, it should allow one to take advantage of opportunities for gainful career or employment and/or self-employment in a rapidly changing and increasingly globalized environment
• Produce graduates who possess skills and competencies that will allow them to be productive members of society or pursue higher education. • Through coordination between the academic and business sectors, to change industry hiring practices taking into account the enhanced skills and competencies of K+12 graduates.
BENEFITS OF ENHANCED BASIC EDUCATION PROGRAM:
To Individuals and Families
• An enhanced curriculum will decongest academic workload, giving students more time to master competencies and skills as well as time for other learning opportunities beyond the classroom, thus allowing for a more holistic development.
• Graduates will possess competencies and skills relevant to the job market. The K+12 proposal will be designed to adjust and meet the fast-changing demands of society to prepare graduates with skills essential for the world of work.
• Graduates will be prepared for higher education. Due to an enhanced curriculum that will provide relevant content and attuned with the changing needs of the times, basic education will ensure sufficient mastery of core subjects to its graduates such that graduates may opt to pursue higher education if they choose to.
• Graduates will be able to earn higher wages and/or better prepared to start their own business. There is a strong correlation between educational attainment and wage structure and studies specific to the Philippine setting show that an additional year of schooling increases earnings by 7.5%. This should also allow greater access to higher education for self-supporting students.
• Graduates could now be recognized abroad. Filipino graduates, e.g. engineers, architects, doctors, etc., could now be recognized as professionals in other countries. Those who intend to study abroad will meet the entrance requirements of foreign schools.
For the Society and the Economy
• The economy will experience accelerated growth in the long run. The objective of the K+12 program is to improve quality of basic education. Several studies have shown that the improvements in the quality of education will increase GDP growth by as much as 2%. Studies in the UK, India and US show that additional years of schooling also have positive overall impact on society.
• The Philippine education system will be at par with international standards. K+12 will facilitate mutual recognition of Filipino graduates and professionals following the Washington Accord and the Bologna Accord.
• A better educated society provides a sound foundation for long-term socioeconomic development. The Enhanced K+12 Basic Education system will contribute to the development of emotionally and intellectually mature individuals capable of pursuing productive employment or entrepreneurship or higher education disciplines.
ENHANCED K+12 BASIC EDUCATION MODEL:
• After considering various proposals and studies, the model that is currently being proposed by DepEd is the K-6-4-2 Model. This model involves Kindergarten, six years of elementary education, four years of junior high school (Grades 7 to 10) and two years of senior high school (Grades 11 to 12). The two years of senior high school intend to provide time for students to consolidate acquired academic skills and competencies. The curriculum will allow specializations in science and technology, music and arts, agriculture and fisheries, sports, business and entrepreneurship, etc.
• Kindergarten and 12 years of quality basic education is a right of every Filipino, therefore these should be provided by government for free in public schools. Those who go through the 12-year program will get an elementary diploma (6 years), a junior high school diploma (4 years), and a senior high school diploma (2 years). A full 12 years of basic education will eventually be required for entry into tertiary level education (entering freshmen by SY 2018-2019 or seven years from now).
• The implementation of the K+12 program will be phased. Universal kindergarten will be offered starting SY 2011-2012. By SY 2012-2013, the new curriculum will be offered to incoming Grade 1 as well as to incoming junior high school students. The target of DepEd is to put in place the necessary infrastructure and other necessary arrangements needed to provide Senior High School (SHS) education by SY 2016-2017.
• The SHS curriculum (which assumes already an unclogged basic education curriculum) will offer areas of specialization or electives such as science and technology, music and arts, agriculture and fisheries, sports, business and entrepreneurship, etc., and subjects for advanced placement.