Under the K-12 curriculum, students undergo a basic 12-year education — 6 years in elementary, 4 years in high school, and 2 years of senior high school. This flagship program of the Aquino administration started in 2012 with a goal to help the Philippines “catch up with global standards in secondary education.” By June 2016, the Department of Education launched the first batch of senior high school students. After a decade of its implementation, the question is: is this education system actually benefitting our students?
The new administration seeks to review the implementation of the K to 12 Program
Tanggalin ang K-12 Program. Iyan ang isang hiling ng ilan nating kababayan sa termino ni Vice President-elect at incoming Education Secretary Sara Duterte. | June 19, 2022 pic.twitter.com/Cu8AioG9x5
— GMA News (@gmanews) June 19, 2022
Vice President-elect Sara Duterte said last June 20 that President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. wants a review of the K-12 program. Duterte, who is also the incoming Education Secretary, confirmed that they have been having thorough discussions on the matter. She also mentioned that they have been consulting with teachers and parents for suggestions on what’s best for the country’s education system.
Senate agrees to review K-12 and abolish it if necessary
“DEPENDE SA KULTURA; BAKA SA ATIN HINDI”
Para kay Senate President Tito Sotto, mabuting pag-aralan muli ang implementasyon ng K-12 Basic Education Program batay sa utos ni president-elect Bongbong Marcos, Jr. kay incoming vice president at Education secretary Sara Duterte. pic.twitter.com/hEgwxIOfcD
— News5 (@News5PH) June 21, 2022
Outgoing Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto on June 21 expressed his opinion on the Philippines’ current education system. “Ang nakita ko, hindi tumalab yung K-12 sa mga businesses, sa employers. Ang hinahanap parin nila ay college graduate — that is the sad fact. Between college and K-12 graduates, yung college ang kukunin. I hope the incoming administration will be able to address this,” he said during an interview.
Sotto agrees with the incoming administration. He suggests reviewing the K-12 program and, if found ineffective, suggests abolishing it and returning to the previous curriculum which is four years in high school.
Some think it should be revised, not scrapped
Iginiit ni Sen. Sonny Angara na ang pagpopondo ang isa sa mga isyung kailangang tugunan sa K-12 Basic Education Program ng bansa. | via Maeanne Los Baños pic.twitter.com/XKaRCj3jWy
— News5 (@News5PH) June 20, 2022
Most of the senators agree that it’s about time we reviewed the curriculum. However, the intention should be to enhance the program and not put a stop to it. Senators Nancy Binay and Sonny Angara both agree that there is so much we could do with the program. According to them, a better implementation would benefit the students greatly.
“Funding is one of the issues that needs addressing at hopefully post pandemic, mabigyan talaga ng focus ito since nagbukas na ang bansa at pa recover na ang ekonomiya. Pwede mag bigay ng naaakmang pondo dito sa edukasyon,” added Angara in an interview.
Students share their experience under the K-12 Program
What do students have to say about the K-12 Program potentially being scrapped? Students on social media admit that they initially had doubts about the K-12 Program, especially since it looked like it hindered them from getting jobs ASAP. But the additional two years proved to be enough time for them to decide on a college course.
“I’m thankful K-12 happened because if it didn’t, [I don’t know] what would happen to me.. Glad I still have time to re-think my future,” tweeted one netizen.
“When I was in grade 11 I used to bash the administration about implementing the k-12 curriculum, I used to say “imbis na college na ako”. I realized later on that it really does help you choose your career, and how you will shape your future. It just needed a little improvement,” tweeted one netizen.
“Amendments and enhancement hindi abolishment,” said another. “K-12 is the world’s academic standard, we need na makipagsabayan para hindi tayo napag-iiwanan. Decrease tuition fees, provide more training to teachers, more facilities, and alter some part of its curriculum.”
Netizens fear removing K-12 might give way to mandatory military service
Amidst talks about scrapping the K-12 program, incoming VP Duterte once again expressed her interest in pushing for mandatory ROTC in schools. Last January, Duterte said that if elected vice president, she will push for two-year mandatory military service for all Filipinos 18 years old and above. Duterte said she hopes the 19th Congress include the return of ROTC in their legislative priorities.
Many netizens are apprehensive about these changes. “I still don’t understand how ROTC can improve the education system and patriotism,” tweeted one netizen.
“Dear Congress: Mandatory ROTC is not the solution to the education crisis,” said another post.
And yet another netizen reiterated how the government should focus on strengthening the K-12 system rather than replacing it with ROTC. “K-12 is very helpful. As a pioneer and graduating na ngayon, kahit mahirap at naging eksperimento kami I must say na it really helped us in choosing our career. If you think ROTC is the best rather than K-12? Think again,” read the tweet.
It seems as if there are a lot of uncertainties and plans that need ironing for the new administration. But regardless of what their decision would be — scrap or improve K-12 or implement mandatory ROTC — these issues cannot be decided overnight. We only hope the newly elected officials heed the voice of the Filipino people before making drastic changes in the name of making the country better.
Do you think the K to 12 Program should be scrapped? Share your thoughts with us below!
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