The holidays are over. Time to get back to the nitty gritty of educational reform! Our fervent hope is that this year, real advances be made in improving our educational system!
We recall the magic formula: K+12. This is the shortcut that adds the notoriously missing two years in our basic education system on top of our current ten years of basic education. What is now K+10, then, becomes K+12: kindergarten, plus six years of elementary school and four years of junior high school, now plus two years of senior high school. Were a pupil to begin his or her first grade at six years of age, after twelve years of basic schooling, that pupil would be 18 and, should he or she so wish, ready for work and for founding a family. That is why I have suggested that the last two years not be called “senior high school” but “career academy.” In career academy, one could choose a career which leads to an immediate job after graduation. Or, one could choose a career which requires college. Not all careers require college. Not everyone who works and is productive in society needs to hold a college degree.
In previous blogs, we have discussed aspects of this proposed reform. Until that reform is attained, we will continue to do so.
Meanwhile, the Advocacy Commission of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) is inviting key legislators to a “Breakfast Roundtable Discussion” this coming January 25 at the Hotel Sofitel Philippine Plaza. This should be the first of a series of such meetings in which members of the CEAP and members of both the upper and lower houses of Congress come together to discuss issues of common concern in improving education.
Should the Breakfast Roundtable Discussion succeed for the long term, a working consensus might be developed through which what is good education legislation and what is bad education legislation, what is helpful and what is not, is developed. Where, for instance, the Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority are to govern issues of curriculum based on set educational goals and appropriate pedagogical strategies, it is not helpful that Congress undermine this authority through laws that determine curriculum. Determining curriculum through law gives it a rigidity that runs counter to curricular and pedagogical strategies that are responsive to current needs.
Certainly, part of the agenda for this first meeting will be a show of CEAP support for HB 2182, “An Act Prescribing a Twelve-Year Basic Education Curriculum for All Public and Private School Children Nation-Wide, Providing Guidelines and Mechanism of its Implementation, Appropriating Funds Therefor and For Other Purposes” filed by Rep. Eulogio “Amang” Magsaysay in the current 15th Congress.
For short, the Act shall be known as the “Twelve (12) Year Basic Education Curriculum Act of 2010.” It is the law that shall finally move Philippine education away from its current, notoriously deficient, ten (10) year basic education cycle into the required twelve years after a mandatory Kindergarten.
It is the Act that shall enable the desired K+12 reform.
It shall do this, even while allowing the Department of Education sufficient leeway to work out the details of the new curriculum based on a “Comprehensive Action Plan that shall guide the preparation and transition for the herein established twelve (12)-year basic education cycle.” This includes, but is not limited to:
“a. Distribution of competence development across 12-year basic education.
“b. Integrated curriculum plan and design for each level pf 12-year basic education.
“c. Resources and budget.
“d. Targets and Outcomes.
“e. Strategic Development Plan.”
The bill is broad enough to allow sufficient deliberation on different models of a twelve-year basic education program. Two models have been most discussed: Kindergarten plus seven years of elementary and five years of high school education (K+7+5), and Kindergarten plus the current six years of elementary and four years of high school education to which is added another two years of senior high school (K+6+4+2). Because it is least disruptive and easier to implement, the latter today is favored.
Of course there are other bills the CEAP wishes to support. But we will leave their discussion for future blogs.
Supporting however the fundamental legislation that will enable the implementation of K+12 is immediately imperative.