The K + 12 program
The DepEd Kinder + 12 Basic Education Program which will add 2 extra years to the current basic education set – up has good intentions and well meaning. But there is the inconvenient reality that the current education system is in.
The government and its leaders for the past years have failed to address the key problems of public schools whose students are often required substandard dilapidated textbooks, hold classes under trees in 2 or 3 shifts. For decades, the shortage on the number of public school teachers, principals, classrooms and good quality textbooks has developed into a chronic problem of DepEd. The situation is further magnified by the on – going exodus of already thousands of children enrolled in private schools and transferred to public schools in the wake of economic difficulties faced by the parents. This growing number of public school enrollees would mean more students competing for meager resources offered by the government.
DepEd estimates that there is now a shortage of some 30,000 classrooms, 54,000 teachers and 800,000 classroom seats in public schools nationwide. While the plan to extend school years may have its merits, this is not the right time. Clearly, we do not have enough teachers, classrooms and other educational resources to prepare the 2 extra year levels.
Thousand of parents today are just barely hanging on to keep their kids in schools and possible resultant increase in tuition fees may force these parents not to send their kids to school.
We have a sorry state of public education system in our country where marked inadequacies are highlighted. A teacher almost lost her voice trying to give out instructions to a class of 106 students well above the standard class size of 45. And worse, some students have to share seats. Some teachers even shell out their own money to undertake classroom repairs and purchase papers for their pupils.
Adopting a longer basic education cycle does not necessary mean we have to follow suit and the key to success for graduates.
We have thousands of Filipinos who are leaders of our country, respected and renowned globally who are products of the 10 year basic education set–up. What is important is we have enough job opportunities. Today, we have thousands of highly educated and qualified professionals who are jobless not because they are educationally not qualified but because there are no job opportunities.
Even if we extend the school years to 12 if our public school system continues to be poorly-funded and supported, we will still produce half – baked graduates. On the other hand, even with just 10 years program, if classes are handled by competent, well motivated and compensated teachers, right textbooks, right class size and a classroom atmosphere that is conducive to learning, graduates would be confident to meeting the demands of the job market.
By: Joey E. Clarin
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