Briones vows to strengthen K-12 program

By Merlina Hernando-Malipot

Education Secretary Leonor Briones assured that the Department of Education (DepEd) will continue to strengthen the implementation of the K to 12 Program to help ensure that the country’s learners are able to get quality education.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones (DepEd / MANILA BULLETIN)
Education Secretary Leonor Briones (DepEd / MANILA BULLETIN)

Briones, in a recent interview, said that as DepEd “pivots from access to quality,” it will continue to strengthen the implementation of the K to 12 program – particularly the curriculum and capacity-building of teachers, among others.

The DepEd Executive Committee – led by Briones – met with Senator Sherwin Gatchalian last week to discuss the “plans and agenda of the department for the next three years toward the continuous delivery of quality, accessible, relevant, and liberating basic education for all.”

During the meeting with Gatchalian, Briones shared that the DepEd’s current and future initiatives that will “focus on quality” – particularly on the curriculum and teachers quality through capacity-building – in order to address the “challenges to education.”

Briones also informed Gatchalian on the challenges of the K to 12 and the shift to quality education. “Before the implementation of the K to 12, particularly Senior High School (SHS), the curriculum has been prepared and the changes have been made,” she explained. “However, the implementation phase is different – we have to see what is working and what is not, we have to see what enough is and what is too much.”

Given the decades-old education system, Briones admitted that instituting measures would be challenging. “If you want to find out what is happening, three years would be enough,” she said. “Also, we are seeing and we get feedback, it’s not only about changing the curriculum – the previous administration also recognized that we also have to do something about the capacities of our teachers,” she added.

Unlike before the implementation of the K to 12 where the focus is the content of the curriculum, Briones underscored that “now, we have to include the critical thinking especially among our SHS – as stated clearly in the law.”

“We have to instill among our students analytical capacities which are problem-centered and solution-centered,” Briones said. “It’s not only the curriculum but further improving the capacity of our teachers and we hope to be able to do it in the remaining three years the shift to quality,” she ended.

Earlier, Gatchalian expressed intent to “improve the state” of the K to 12 education program in the country by ensuring that it is being “implemented” properly. “I want to put accountability in education, meaning, is K-12 working for our Filipino people? We added two years in K-12, adding two years also means adding costs to Filipino parents but are we producing graduates that are employable? Are we producing graduates that are needed in the industry? Are we producing graduates that excel in our colleges?” he said in a recent television interview.

Gatchalian also noted that if the K to 12 program is not “executed properly” – it could only be an “added burden for both government and also the parents.” Thus, he noted that the need to ensure that K to 12 is “functioning and being executed properly.”