‘Red flags’ seen in DepEd’s K to 12 curriculum revision 

DepEd / MB Visual Content Group

A group of teachers expressed concern about the planned revision of the K to 12 curriculum as laid out by the Department of Education (DepEd) in its Basic Education Report (BER) 2023.

DepEd, led by Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte, delivered the BER 2023 on Jan. 30 to present the current status of the country’s basic education.

The agency also launched its “MATATAG” education agenda to address the challenges faced by learners, teachers, and schools at the basic education level.



Among the highlights of the BER 2023 was the announcement made by Duterte related to the K to 12 Program which added additional years to the country’s 10-year basic education cycle.

In the BER, Duterte pointed out problems in the current curriculum content --- it was congested, and some essential learning competencies are missing or misplaced aside from catering to high cognitive demands.

In its newly-launched agenda, Duterte said that these loopholes in the K to 12 Program will be addressed by making the curriculum “relevant to produce competent, job-ready, active, and responsible citizens.”



However, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines pointed out that aside from being “delayed” the curriculum revision as laid out by DepEd also seemed “misguided.”

“The Philippine government is in fact very late in finalizing its assessment of the K-12 curriculum and program,” ACT said, noting that the Congress Oversight Committee also “failed to comply” with the K to 12 Law provision to come up with an assessment of the program five years from its implementation in 2013.

ACT added that the DepEd has also been talking about its K to 12 review since 2018 but “no document of the comprehensive review has been made available to the public” to date.

In the BER 2023, VP Duterte said that the revised Kindergarten to Grade 10 curriculum is being “finalized” and the review of the Senior High School (SHS) curriculum already started.



“Still, red flags are apparent in some of the revisions that the agency is planning,” ACT said.

Areas of concern

In the “MATATAG” agenda, Duterte announced that DepEd will reduce the number of learning areas in K to 3 from 7 to 5.

This, she said, aims to “focus on foundational skills in literacy and numeracy in the early grades” --- particularly among disadvantaged learners.

However, ACT said that teachers are “worried” about which subject will be removed from DepEd’s plan.

Citing previous pronouncements and information that circulate on the ground, ACT said that the Mother Tongue subject and the MAPEH are the “likely subjects to be sacrificed.”

ACT maintained that scrapping the Mother Tongue is “counter-productive to learning” because this serves as a subject that maximizes the home language as an effective language of instruction.

“MAPEH, on the other hand is crucial in developing the young pupils’ appreciation of our culture, which is essential in producing ‘batang makabansa’,” ACT pointed out. The group also pointed out that Music, Arts, PE, and Health are “powerful tools” in learning and inculcating vital values.

“There are also questions on what will happen to teachers in learning areas that will be removed, and reasonably, fear of displacement,” ACT said.

In the BER 2023, Duterte mentioned that DepEd will “improve English proficiency while recognizing linguistic diversity.” This, she said, will entail working towards the goal of “English language proficiency within the context of a multilingual nation.”

For ACT, this push to improve English proficiency is also misplaced.

“The education system has been giving premium to the English language since the public school system was established by the Americans, and look where we are now,” ACT said.

“A nation with no mastery of any language, even our own, and has low comprehension and higher level cognitive skills,” it added.



After pointing out that the promise of the K to 12 program to make its graduates employable “remains a promise,” Duterte said that DepEd will appeal to the industry and employers to accept students in work immersions and hire them when they graduate.

ACT, on the other hand, cautioned DepEd on this move because the push to prolong the work immersion of SHS students only “spell longer experience of exploitation of our young students by business owners.”

“The education system failed to protect our SHS students against exploitation as they were made to work for long hours without pay or any allowance under the guise of the trainee system,” ACT added.