DepEd: 12-year basic education program to start in 2011

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By Alexander Villafania, loQal.ph

PASIG CITY, METRO MANILA – Two months after it made a promise to come up with an actionable plan, the Department of Education (DepEd) has finally released a comprehensive framework that will make its 12-year basic education project a reality.

During the World Teachers Day celebration, DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro presented an enhanced verion of its K+12 (Kindergarten plus 12 years) education model, which has been called the K-6-4-2 model.

This entails one year of kindergarten, six years of elementary education, four years of junior high school – otherwise known as Grade 7 to 10, and two years of senior high school to be called Grades 11 to 12.

The senior high school levels are intended for consolidation of all academic skills of the students. It will also allow students to better prepare themselves for the specific fields they want to enter such as science and technology, music and arts, agriculture, fisheries, sports, and entrepreneurship.

Students can start to enter kindergarten by age five and, assuming they do not skip years, will be able to finish at 17 years old.

An original version of the K+12 was Kindergarten, seven years of elementary education, and five years of high school.

Under the enhanced K+12 scheme universal kindergarten will be offered starting school year 2011 to 2012. Grades 11 to 12 will be offered by 2017.

Luistro also said that students will get diplomas for all three levels. Eventually, completion of 12 years basic education will become a requirement to enter college or university, starting school year 2018 to 2019.

With the assumption that the enhanced model will be implemented by 2011, the current curriculum for both elementary and high school would still be in use until 2016 and 2015, respectively. It will be gradually transitioned to a new curriculum starting 2012.

To ensure smooth implementation and transition, Luistro said a DepEd task force will be created. It will also hold regional consultations for inputs and feedback on the K+12. A financial study will also be held to evaluate financial implications in funding it.

A later report by DepEd indicated that initial possible costs to implementing the K+12 could be around P16.7 billion. The DepEd receives a huge chunk of the annual Philippines budget. For 2010, its allocation was at P161 billion.

Luistro has been pushing for a 12-year basic education project, primarily to upgrade education conditions in the Philippines. He cited a number of reports that showed the poor state of learning among students. In particular, test results from the National Achievement Test (NAT) for Grade 6 last school year 2009-2010 had a passing rate of only 69.21 percent.

The results from the 2003 and 2008 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) showed the Philippines was among the lowest ranked in terms of performance.

These results prompted the DepEd, from the time of former Education Secretary Florencio Abad until Jesli Lapus, to pursue the upgrading of the education system by proposing the addition of two more years.

The pursuit of the 12-year education program has received both praise and criticisms from different sectors. Several legislators, including Senators Edgardo Angara  and Juan Ponce Enrile, as well as Representatives Salvador Escudero, Rodolfo Biazon, and Carlos Padilla have have supported the addition of two more years.

Other organizations, such as the Coalition for Better Education (CBE) and the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd), have put their support in the K+12 measure.

Meanwhile, the Teachers Dignity Coalition, and party lists Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and KABATAAN expressed concerns with plans to extend the number of years in basic education. Among the issues they cited are the cost for parents to spend on the additional two years and providing cheap labor for foreign markets.

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Cristobal, Faye Christine says:

When I was in college, Bachelor of Science in Accountancy was a 4yr-degree course. However, Commerce department believed that adding another year to the curriculum would improve the quality of Accountancy graduates in the Philippines thus would increase the number of board passers as well. So what they did, another year was added to the said course. I just can?t remember what school year was that however what I definitely remember was the 5yr curriculum took effect to those only who were enrolled as 1st years to that particular school year. And those enrolled in their 2nd years, instead of bearing the Bachelor of Science in Accountancy, they changed it to Bachelor of Science in Commerce-Major in Accountancy which remained to a 4yr-degree course.

My question now, why is it the K-12 program affects all levels enrolled for this school year? Would it supposed to be only those enrolled as Grade 1 and 1st years (or shall we say, Grade 1 and Grade 7) for this school year? It would be a confusion especially those parents who have educational plans for their kids which normally states from Grade 1 to Grade 6 and/or 1st year ? 4th year high school. Does this mean, 2 yrs has to be paid in cash wherein parents already fix their income for everything?
My sister too, received a letter from the Consul stating that what K-12 program all about is. And it was stated there that only those who enrolled as Grade 1 and Grade 7 for the school year 2012-2013 will be affected.

There will be MORE Children that could not affored to go to college.
In the philippines as of now not all children can even go to school, for me its an additional reason why not all of those who wanted to go school cant afford more.

K+12 Program is good but most parents complained the number of years they(students) stayed in high school.