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For lack of funds, PH not ready to implement K-to-12

01:23 AM July 14, 2015

THE GOVERNMENT’S practice of embarking on innovations in the educational system without careful study often results in controversy and frustration. Look at what’s happening to the new program called K-to-12.

Based on Republic Act No. 10533, which was passed on Jan. 30, 2013, by Congress—and signed into law by President Aquino on May 15, 2013—K-to-12 requires one year of kindergarten preparatory to enrollment in Grade 1, six years of elementary education and another six years of secondary education.

Before RA 10533 was enacted, only four years were required of students in order to finish high school, but under the K-to-12 two years more has been added. One reason the legislators gave in approving the proposed law was that the Philippines lagged behind other countries because our educational system had less number of years for high school education.

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It was also pointed out by some quarters that advanced countries, like the United States, have been implementing programs similar to K-to-12 for a long time, thus enabling them to produce better graduates in basic education.

That’s the problem with our lawmakers. They believe that we have to adopt in our country whatever is being done in the United States. Little do they know that the United States has sufficient funds to meet the requirements of a longer secondary education.

But in the case of the Philippines, K-to-12 was launched without considering the budgetary constraints our educational system is struggling with, so much so that up to know the Department of Education is still saddled with problems such as lack of classrooms, adequately trained teachers, books and other instructional materials, as well as chairs and desks needed by pupils and students.

Likewise, the legislators said that K-to-12 “shall be learner-centered.” How could that be when the DepEd cannot even provide an environment that is conducive to effective transfer of learning? The House of the Representatives, where appropriation bills

emanate, did not even look closely into the conditions in crowded classrooms.

And what a sad irony! Public elementary and secondary schools located in the vicinity of the Batasan Complex—e.g., the Batasan National High School, Batasan Hills Elementary School, President Corazon Aquino Elementary School, Commonwealth Elementary School—are cramped with learners suffering from heat and discomfort inside inadequate and poorly ventilated classrooms. And this condition escaped the

attention of the lawmakers?!

The objectives of K-to-12 may be good. But at this time, the government cannot afford it. With problems confronting the educational system, K-to-12 is another innovation that is bound to fail, like the much-heralded Program for Decentralized Education Development which borrowed $100 million from the World Bank in the 1980s.

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Let’s face and admit it: The Philippines is not yet ready for K-to-12.

—EUSEBIO S. SAN DIEGO,   founder, Kaguro, and former president, Quezon City Public School Teachers Association, essandiego@ymail.com

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