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K Plus 12

By riannemaebiano Jan 21, 2013 1042 Words
If Not Now, Then When?
The proposal for the so-called "K+12" model of education has been on hold since 1925. There are so many proposals that has been on the table but all of them failed to realize due to propaganda by anti-"K+12" groups. But in this light, we commend the Department of Education, headed by Bro. Armin Luistro for having the will to push this long-due overhaul of the education system. If not now, then when? The time is NOW.

In a world where knowledge goes obsolete at a faster rate and everyone is literally competing with the rest of the world for work and skill, the Filipino must prepare itself to be competitive with his peers. The K+12 program is made to do such. From a child's entrance to schooling (Kindergarten + 6 years of Elementary) to his preparation for the workforce (4 years high school + 2 years senior high), the program aims to give the student basic competencies he needs for life and make him physically, mentally and socially prepared to face life after graduation. At the present system, the Filipino student is only required to go to school for 10 years - 6 years elementary and 4 years in high school. In this case, an average student spends 20% more time in school than his peers from around the world. This may be an advantage, but looking at it closely, a 10-year education system congests subjects at a shorter time, thereby giving less time for the student to understand and have the grasp of basic skills. Detractors of the K+12 program may not understand that a child has a life outside school. Giving more time for chores, leisure and extra-curricular activities (like sports and social organizations) may help the child to learn skills outside of the school setting. Noticeable too is this 2-year gap created by the present 10-year school system. Filipino students usually graduate when reaching 16, but existing laws establish the legal age of 18 years old, and that's the only time the student may enter the workforce. But most industries do not accept students of the present system blaming lack of competency, hence students are forced to take "bridging" courses from technical schools or enter the university just so to get a diploma and be "competitive" for the workforce. The K+12 aims to solve this problem by making the government take over the role of giving tech-voc education to high school students. The additional 2 years of basic education will allow high school students to "specialize" in a field they're interested to (Science and Technology, Music and Arts, Agriculture and Fisheries, Sports, Business and Entrepreneurship). After graduation, a student may opt to delay college education and enter the workforce right away; armed with the skills he has to be competitive in job markets. Contrary to what opposition has presented on the K+12 program, it doesn't add burden to parents working for their children's education. It may lessen their cost for education, too! As presented in the argument above, by the time their children graduate, they are ready to work and earn for their own college education. The additional 2 years of basic education will be shouldered by the government, so no additional cost will be added to parents. Assessments show that the Department of Education needs at least P150 billion for new classroms,books and salary for teachers but this is not a hindrance since financial arrangements will be created with the participation of government agencies, TESDA, Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) and non-government organizations. A 12-year education system is also an advantage since better-educated students stand better chances to succeed in life. Studies in the Philippines show that students who spend another year in school increases their income by 7.5%. Also, the economy may grow 2% or more (using the GDP as basis) as this study has proven. Better-equipped students will result to a better way of life since more Filipinos will be able to have a job matching their skills, thereby easing poverty levels. Filipino students will also be more than welcomed in international universities if they'll enter the K+12 education cycle. The country is the only one remaining to have a 10-year cycle, therefore making deserving Filipino students "unfit" for international study since 10 years of education is "less education", at least on paper. A 12-year education system will harmonize our way of education with the rest of the world, easing admission to school here and around the world since we'll have an equivalent curriculum as them. Also, a 12-year education cycle will make students more equipped in basic subjects such as Math and Science - a prerequisite for admission to higher educational institutions here and abroad. The Third International Mathematics and Science Study showed how dismal Filipino students rank below their peers - 41stout of 45 nations studied. There are only 3 remaining countries left with a 10-year education cycle, one of them is the country. While the academe supports a shift to the 12-year cycle, detractor’s flak the proposal saying that it isn't necessary since we had lived the best out of a 10-year cycle of education. But what does reality prove to us? The 10-year cycle has just created generations of youth that are half-baked in all aspects of life. Time is pressuring us to make this move even if there are risks and doubts involved since the Filipino youth will be the eventual beneficiary of this. The time for K+12 is NOW. The academe should lobby further to realize the proposal in our public schools. Congress should amend the 1982 Education Law which limits the required school years in order for the plan to realize. The government should arrange the funds as soon as possible to ensure a smooth transition to the K+12 systems. Education drives should start to inform parents and students how the new system will impact their lives. The time for change is NOW, for delaying the implementation of K+12 will only make us lose opportunities that we might had if we just pushed harder for this before.

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