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Monday, June 4, 2012

K to 12 plan put to test (Philippines)

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The Philippines leaves behind its reputation as Asia’s only nation with a 10-year basic education cycle and enters the so-called K to 12 system Monday to be implemented via “creative tutoring” in the face of acute shortages and recurring doubts about the program.

The old problems persist: Lack of classrooms and overcrowding and, in some areas, learning the basics under a tree or in flooded schools.

A party-list group of teachers aired its opposition to the new program and asked the Department of Education (DepEd) to resolve first the perennial crisis in the shortages of teachers, classrooms, sanitation facilities and other school necessities before embarking on K to 12.

Image Credit: specialeducationphilippines.com
“There is no law yet authorizing the implementation of the full K to 12 education program. The curriculum is not yet ready. Funds are insufficient to cover the basic inputs such as shortages on teachers, classrooms, textbooks, chairs and sanitation facilities,” the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said in a statement Sunday.

The group said the “haphazard implementation” of Phase 2 of the K to 12 education program would “definitely bring chaos” among teachers and even students and parents.

ACT said the K to 12 project had only brought confusion to the teachers because modules and instructional materials were not complete.

The DepEd was upbeat, however, declaring that all kinks had been ironed out in welcoming roughly 21 million public school students nationwide today.

Barely a handful of parents and students either went to the department headquarters or called to voice queries and complaints on the eve of the opening of classes.

“Matumal (sluggish),” Kenneth Tirado, DepEd public information officer, described yesterday’s operation of the Oplan Balik Eskwela Center.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro said Monday’s school opening marked the pilot implementation of the K to 12 basic education program, a reform project targeted for completion by 2018, although mandatory entry into kindergarten was initiated in the last school year.

“As we implement the new K to 12 curriculum for Grade 1 and Grade 7 this school year, we made sure that public elementary and secondary schools across the country are ready for the school opening” Luistro said in an e-mailed statement Sunday.


Junior, senior high
Under the new system, Grade 7 is the label for what used to be first year high school. There will be a junior high school consisting of four years—Grades 7 to 10—and an additional senior high school of two years—Grades 11 to 12.

This school year’s Grade 7 students are expected to be the first batch of senior high school graduates in March 2018.

With the Philippines embracing the international 12-year basic education system, only Angola and Djibouti in Africa will be left with the 10-year cycle. It is being implemented even as the nation, regarded as Asia’s laggard, is still struggling to improve proficiency in English, math and science.

The Inquirer Northern Luzon Bureau reported that teachers had been trained in “creative tutoring” to enable them to cope with the new cycle because the government had been unable to provide substantial teaching assistance.

Annie Walang, Mt. Province division supervisor, said teaching materials for the new grade level and teacher’s guides would not be available for the first two weeks, but this would not be a problem.

“In case the materials get delayed, teachers can be very resourceful. There will be alternatives which we can use. We can use the existing textbooks,” she said.

source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/

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