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TURNING POINT: K-12 Program: A Dismal Failure

Column Titles 2023 20230815 170141 0000

NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 19 January) – The K-12 curriculum was adopted, supposedly to improve the quality of education in the country, mimicking the system in some countries in Europe and that of our ASEAN neighbors. Unfortunately, only the addition of two grade rungs, grade 11 and grade 12, otherwise known as the senior high school, features in the K-12 Philippine version. Moreover, a learner would have a total of 14 years for his basic education because kindergarten is made mandatory in the curriculum. Flagrantly absent was the operational strategy of linking the senior high to the private sector or the industries – the apprenticeship, for the mastery of concepts and skills via hands-on knowledge of the kind of job or livelihood opportunities that suits their aptitude and interest. The implementers failed to make apprenticeship an essential component of the K- 12 curriculum. So more years of schooling amounts to nothing.

In advanced countries, a grade 11 learner already begins his apprenticeship and usually receives an allowance from the firm his school has arranged for him. He stays there for another year if he wants to and may even be hired by the firm if he performs well. There is no need then to go to college, unless one is interested in highly specialized courses like medicine, biological science, engineering, and in research oriented courses.

Sad to say, so much taxpayers’ money has been incurred in implementing the curriculum. Senior high buildings tower everywhere, but are wanting in appropriate facilities and equipment and adequately trained teachers. Parents have to dig deeper into their pockets for two more years for their kids before they could send them to college, if ever.

The Department of Education (DepEd) had to adopt a senior high school voucher program, a financial assistance to grade 11 – 12 learners, a tuition subsidy to learners enrolled in non-DepEd schools in the amount of P17,500 – 22,500, depending on the location of the schools.

P22,500 is the subsidy in metro Manila.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) memorandum issued in December 2023 noted that the offering of senior high school programs in state colleges and universities (SUCs) has already lapsed after SY 2016-2017 to SY 2020-2021, which were the transition period for the K-12 program.

Based on CHED’s data, 53 out of 103 SUCs have stopped offering Grade 11, while 52 already halted Grade 12 classes.

Meanwhile, 104 out of 114 SUCs are no longer offering Grade 11, while 97 have ceased having Grade 12.

The K-12 program has become a heavy burden to many but benefits no one. Abolishing it eventually is a welcome respite.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.)

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