Sunday, April 19, 2015

Reason and Concern

Not Smooth Sailing For K-to-12
by Ronquillo C. Tolentino

Republic Act No. 10533 entitled “An Act Enhancing the Philippine Basic Education System by Strengthening its Curriculum and Increasing the Number of Years for Basic Education Appropriating Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes” was approved on May 15, 2013 and took effect on June 8, 2013. 

Republic Act No.10533, otherwise known as the “Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013” had its Implementing Rules and Regulations jointly issued on September 4, 2013 by the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).  

R.A. No. 10533, also known as the K-to-12   program “calls for a year of kindergarten, six years of elementary school, four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school.
Thus, this year’s fourth year high school or Grade 10 students would still undergo two years of senior high school instead of proceeding to college in the coming 2015-2016 school year.

The K-to-12 program appears  to have smooth sailing in Congress until studies were made by certain sectors on the  problems that shall arise should the K-to12 be initially implemented by the beginning of school year 2016-217.

Problems mentioned, among others, are “extra classrooms, restrooms, teachers, textbooks”. This also includes on “what to do with teachers on their payroll and classrooms and facilities left unused with their drastic drop in enrollment.  This does not even count the possibility of more teachers losing their jobs as subjects are consolidated or  dropped outright under the new curriculum”.

Certain coalition  surfaced recently protesting the  K-to-12 implementation. A group named “Broad Alliance to Suspend K-to-12” has reportedly filed a petition with the Supreme Court to suspend full implementation of the program next year.

National newspapers have earlier reported a national coordinated protest action against the program. 

Rule IX of the  Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 provides for a Mandatory Evaluation and Review in  Section 34 thereof, thus : “ By the end of School Year 2014-2015, the DepEd shall conduct a mandatory review and report to Congress as to the status of the Enhance Basic Education Program in terms of closing the following current shortages: (a) teachers; (b) classrooms; (c) textbooks; (d) seats     (e) toilets; (f) other shortages that should be addressed.

“ The DepEd shall include among others, in this midterm report, the following key  metrics of access to quality and basic education: (a) participation rate; (b) retention rate; (c) National Achievement Test results; (d) completion rate; (e) teachers’ welfare and training profiles; (f) adequacy of funding requirements; and (g) other learning facilities including, but not limited to, computer and science laboratories, libraries and  library hubs; sports, music and arts.

School Year 2014-2015 has just ended. Hopefully, the DepEd can comply with its midterm report to Congress which is still burdened  with the investigation on the Mamasapano incident and deliberations on the Bangsamoro Basic Law bill. 
Correct me if  I have not counted it right. But, at no instance in the history of this country has eight  separate investigations been made akin to Mamasapano incident. And it is not over yet with the House of Representatives continuing its investigation after the Holy Week.
It would seem that the Mamasapano  incident had affected President Aquino’s popular and trust ratings starting from the arrival honors   for the Fallen 44 which he eschewed from attending.
What can be expected of the Philippines hosting APEC 2015? Permit this columnist to quote Guillermo M. Luz’s column which appeared in the February 28, 2015 issue of  the Philippine Daily Inquirer, thus: “ For APEC 2015 - with the theme “Building  Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World - what can be expected? Research shows that while the global economy has grown over the years, so has inequality. The gap between the haves and the have-nots has grown. Expect discussion across most APEC economies to discuss to these theme when they discuss their deliverables. Whether one is talking about small and medium-scale enterprises, urbanization, services, food security, education and human capital development, or anything else in the broad agenda of APEC, expect discussion to circle back to this central theme of building inclusive growth.

“APEC 2015 brings different kinds of opportunity to the Phiippines. Wisely, the government has chosen to hold the meetings in various parts of the country. While logistically difficult, the plus is that it spreads out opportunities to other areas. Thus, aside from Manila, APEC meetings have been scheduled in Clark, Subic, Legaspi, Tagaytay, Bataan, Boracay, Iloilo, Bacolod and Cebu. Private businessmen and local governments will get the chance to showcase their   commmunities and culture. Hopefully, this will provide a more wholistic view of the Philippines’ progress and potential.” /MP

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