By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) is set to make a presentation in the Senate to provide an updated report on the status of education in the country, particularly in the basic education sector amid the implementation of the K to 12 program.
DepEd Undersecretary and Spokesperson Nepomuceno Malaluan, on the sidelines of the annual Policy Forum of the Philippine Business for Educaion (PBEd) in Makati City, said DepEd has already requested for an “opportunity to make a presentation before the committee to respond to the matters raised”, particularly before Senator Sherwin Gatchalian in a Senate education subcommittee’s inquiry on the current state of the Philippine education system earlier this month.
Gatchalian underscored the need to review the implementation of the K to 12 basic education program noting the “declining performance” of country’s students after its implementation. Malaluan noted that as early last year, the department’s presentations “have already emphasized that the shift of DepEd’s focus from access to quality.”
“Access indicators are really very high, participation rates are also very high,” Malaluan said. While there were certain regions that have “lagged behind” like Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), he noted that “interventions on access to education” are currently being carried out.
“In fact, the programs of the department are going to be geared, in the next years, towards quality,” he added.
During a Senate education subcommittee’s inquiry on the current state of the Philippine education system, Gatchalian raised doubts on the “effectiveness” and “quality” of the K to 12 program.
He noted that data from DepEd showed the “low proficient” Grade 6 and Grade 10 students from 2016 to 2017. He also noted that that over-all assessment National Achievement Tests (NAT) at 40 percent for Grade 6 and Grade 10 “is quite alarming.”
To this, Briones noted that it was not only through the National Achievement Test (NAT) that “we can find out what is happening in the education sector.”
She shared that in the last Cabinet meeting, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) reported to President Rodrigo Duterte a “very high improvement” in performance in tests in Science and Math and it “was on record that it was due to the SHS [Senior High School] program.”
Gatchalian also noted the “misalignment” between the K to 12 program and the demands of industries for employment aside from the low proficiency rates of the students. Also, the DepEd’s K to 12 curriculum, he added, “does not match” the higher education curriculum of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
Nepomuceno, on the other hand, assured that DepEd will address the “matters that were raised” and will present the department’s programs during the hearing which is scheduled in May.
The K to 12 Program covers 13 years of basic education – kindergarten, six years of primary education, four years of Junior High School (JHS), and two years of SHS.