By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
Until after the completion of the review is done, the Department of Education (DepEd) maintained its position to continue with the implementation of the K to 12 Program.
DepEd issued this statement amid continued observations and criticisms thrown against the implementation of K to 12 Program which is considered as the country’s “biggest education reform” to date.
“When we we’re having budget hearing, we’ve been talking about this in the House and in the Senate,” said DepEd Undersecretary and Spokesperson Annalyn Sevilla. “This is really expected because part of the K to 12 law is monitoring and evaluation,” she added.
The K to 12 Program paved the way to a shift from a 10-year basic education cycle to 13 years. This was made possible with the signing of the Republic Act (RA) No. 10533, otherwise known as the “Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013,” into law by former President Benigno Aquino III in May 2013.
The need for K to 12 was premised on the Philippines being “the last country in Asia and one of only three countries” with a 10-year pre-university cycle in the world along with Angola and Djibouti.
In implementing the program, DepEd noted that a 12-year program is “found to be the best period for learning under basic education” since it “is also the recognized standard for students and professionals globally.”
While DepEd welcomes the calls to review the K to 12 implementation, Sevilla noted that it is equally important to determine first the parameters in evaluating the effectiveness of the program.
“The question really is, how many years would it take for us to see the relevant and significant impact of the K to 12 program?” Sevilla asked.
Sevilla noted that while agency awaits the oversight review of K to 12, the DepEd is also conducting its own review and assessment of the implementation, curriculum, and availability of resources, among others.
“What we want to see right now is what else do we need to adjust because not in violation of the law but more of having it compliant with the law,” Sevilla said. “If there’s something that needs to be adjusted in the law, then we will wait for the Congress because they have the power to amend the law,” she added.
As of now, Sevilla said that DepEd will stick to its position on the continued implementation of the basic education reform program.
“We’re just starting with the K to 12 and we really need this because we need to catch up in terms of new ways of teaching, new ways of learning and if we start to go backwards, this might have a bigger effect on our learners but also to the development of our country as a whole,” she stressed.
Last month, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said that the Lower House was in agreement that the K to 12 Program has to be reviewed to allow DepEd to provide the status of the policies and programs, and identify its achievements and challenges since its implementation in school year 2012-2013.
DepEd expressed hope that the outcome of the review will “spur renewed commitment and initiatives” among lawmakers, advocates, and other stakeholders in aid of realizing the K to 12 program’s overall goal to “hone holistically-developed Filipino learners with 21st century skills.”
The K to 12 Program covers Kindergarten (K) and 12 years of basic education: six years of primary education, four years of Junior High School (JHS), and two years of Senior High School (SHS) to “provide sufficient time for mastery of concepts and skills, develop lifelong learners, and prepare graduates for tertiary education, middle-level skills development, employment, and entrepreneurship.”
Its focus is to strengthen early childhood education through the implementation of the Universal Kindergarten; make the curriculum relevant to learners through contextualization and enhancement; ensure integrated and seamless learning through spiral progression; and build proficiency through language by implementing the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education.
Ultimately, the K to 12 is focused on helping learners to “gear up” for the future through the SHS Program and eventually, to nurture the “holistically developed Filipino” by ensuring that the completers of basic education are ready to face different exits after graduation.