K-12 implementation must be continued after review: advocacy group

MANILA The implementation of K to 12 program must be continued to maintain Philippine education's improved level of global competitiveness, an education advocacy group said.?

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"We should continue with the implementation of K to 12. Reviewing the K to 12 does not mean that we need to stop it," Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) Executive Director Love Basillote said Wednesday in an interview with the Philippine News Agency .?

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Earlier, Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones said they would conduct a thorough review of the K to 12 program, two years after it was implemented in various schools nationwide.?

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The K to 12 program covers Kindergarten and 12 years of basic education (six years of primary education, four years of Junior High School, and two years of Senior High School. ?

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Prior to its implementation, the Philippines was one of only three countries worldwide that practiced only 10 years in basic education. ?

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The education system change is seen as critical in giving Filipino students a higher quality of education.?

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It is designed to enable graduates to join the workforce after high school or prepare them should they choose to enter college. Through K to 12, students, are given enough years to master basic academic skills and participate in co-curricular activities.?

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Basillote said the shortage on basic education resources is not enough reason for the program's implementation to be halted as there are many interventions made available by the government.?

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"Education reform as big as this needs to be given a chance. It's only been two years, there are problems, things to improve, and this is something we should do together rather than stopping it completely. It has just started and just gaining traction and see really how to improve the system," she said.?

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Basillote said there is a mix-up of the perennial education problems in general - access and resources - and the challenges concerning K to 12 implementation. ?

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"To start, we have to agree with the basis of the review, what are we reviewing, how do we know if we can succeed, so what are our success indicators," she said.?

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When asked how PBEd may review the K to 12 implementation, Basillote said that they would look at the program's four exit points higher education, middle skills, entrepreneurship and employment.?

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"We need to look at how our K to 12 graduates are able to transition smoothly through these points. Is it easier for them to go to college? Are they more prepared to get more training and education? Are they more employable? Can they start their own businesses or do they have the skills? So, we are looking at learning outcomes and looking at skills acquired for them to smoothly transition out of the K to 12 system," she said.?

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Basillote added the government's input drive must also be reviewed including the quality of the teachers in the K to 12 system, student-classroom ratio and teacher-student ratio.?

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"To be fair, even if we have the budget to build new classrooms, we might not have buildable land for the classrooms. So kelangan siguro ng (it might be needed to have a) policy to make sure that we have that position where DepEd (Department of Education) can have the land it needs to build the classrooms," she said.?

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"In terms of governance issues, making sure that the funding moves from national to local, empowering the schools to make decisions for their particular locality making sure that the funds move and konti lang ang magiging (there will only be few) leakages from national to local. The policy is already in place, it just needs to be strengthened and further developed," she added.?

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With regard to the professionalization of teachers, Basillote said DepEd already has a professional standard for teachers and its implementation simply needs to be strengthened and fully supported.?

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"There must be information on how many teachers are needed in one specific discipline and for which specific locality like do we need this X number of teachers in this region. Such info must also be disseminated so schools also can produce the teachers needed," she said.?

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Basilotte said reverting to K to 10 system should not be an option for the Philippine education, stressing that it is a sign of regression.?

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"It is not going to propel our country forward. If we want to be competitive, if we want to avoid the middle income trap, if we want to continue growing as a country, the K to 12 is fundamental to that. If you will look at our global competitiveness ranking, 'yun na nga lang ang saving grace natin eh. Dahil K to 12 system tayo medyo tumaas tayo sa mga indicators na iyon. Kung babalik tayo sa K to 10 system,mas bababa pa ang competitiveness level natin (it's our only saving grace. Because of K to 12 system we have improved in those indicators. If we go back to K to 10 system, our competitiveness level will be way lower)," she said.

Source: Philippine News Agency