One of the most exciting things about the K+12 is the addition of two years to the present K+10.
I have suggested that Years 11 and 12 be called “Career Academy” instead of Senior High School or Pre-College; in this article I use “Career Academy” in this sense. This would allow the educational phase to develop its own culture, distinct from both high school and college.
One of the reasons why this is important is so that it might be defined as roughly equivalent to what is now first and second year college. This would allow current college teachers of relevant disciplines to move “laterally” into the Career Academy, with no diminution in prestige or remuneration. For HEIs with high schools, this can be rather crucial in personnel management. For HEIs without high schools, it may be an invitation to found a new, distinct, and private Career Academy.
In the implementation of K+12, having Career Academics ready appears critical.
Last December, in a COCOPEA Committee headed by Dr. Rey Vea of Mapua on the implication of the Career Academy on the HEI, the members were asked to get concrete and conceptualize a Career Academy with a particular focus.
For this blog I will describe the output of some senior educators at the Ateneo de Naga University: the Career Academy with Entrepreneurship. This is an example which we offer as a concrete example of what a Career Academy might look like – especially for those on the DepEd Technical Panel for curriculum in Career Academy.
First, the general structure. We assume that in the Career Academy one can opt for a track that leads the students to fruitful work after two year. In this case, this is the entrepreneurship track. Here a block of “career” courses would be complemented by some general education courses, to which additional general education courses required by the mission of the school are added.
In the same Career Academy one could also opt for a track that leads to college.
Let us first consider the entrepreneurship track leading to work after two years. There are 97 units foreseen, 84 of which are lecture units and 13 of which are lab units. These include subjects such as “Scanning the Business Environment,” “Discovering New Products and Businesses,” and “Business Law and Taxation.” The general education courses require 24 units. These include such courses as “Business Mathematics and Statistics,” “Business English 1 &2,” “Business Ethics and Labor Education.” The Jesuit core courses require 12 units, including such as “Christology,” and “Christian Vocation: Marriage and Family Life.” Roughly two thirds are career oriented, one third is general. The proposal goes into a semester by semester distribution of these 97 units; the entrepreneurship courses and activities are sequenced, later courses building on pre-requisites.
Parallel to the design for the entrepreneurship track, the Ateneo de Naga senior educatiors also designed a career academy track for pastoral ministry.
The parallel Career Academy track that leads to college requires 79 units, many of which require time-consuming work outside of class. These include such courses as “Developmental Reading 1-4,” “English and Literature,” “Intermediate Algebra” and “Science or Mathematics Electives.” A choice of certain electives, like calculus, may be required by certain career choices like engineering. This would leave 12-units for mission-based requirements as above, “History of Salvation,” “Christology” and the like.
Earlier I said an advantage of creating a whole new phase in the educational system was that that the cultural ethos of the school can be fit to students who are truly preparing themselves to accept their roles in society. Here, the atmosphere is no longer high-schoolish; nor is it collegiate. Here, there is no room for shy, uncommunicative students locked in on themselves. Relative to the high school ethos, students should be more independent, more individually responsible, more self-driven, more communicative. The attitude of the teachers to these students must resonate with students learning to take responsibility for their own lives as well as for the lives of others. Teachers cannot be merely authoritarian; they need to model the values and skills that they wish to share with their students.
If anyone can envisage a better career academy, designing this one shall have fulfilled its purpose.