Recently there was exciting and welcome news from Dr. Isagani Cruz, Chair of the CHED Panel on General Education, concerning curriculum development for Years 11 and 12 in the K+12 reform – which we suggest be called “Career Academy.” Basically, the news boils down to this: CHED will take care of the curriculum of the Pre-College stream; TESDA will take care of the curricula of the Pre-Work streams.
Dr. Isagani Cruz writes: “New and major development: The heads of DepEd, CHED, and TESDA have agreed that CHED will design the academic portion of the curriculum of Grades 11 & 12 and TESDA will design the technical portion. DepEd will focus on decongesting and updating the curriculum for K to Grade 10. Modeling (PLEASE DO NOT USE THE TERM “PILOT”) will be planned before the end of February and implemented starting June. The portion of the chart about 11 & 12, therefore, has to be revised. Whatever has been done by the current TWG on 11-12 will be submitted to a new TWG made up of CHED and TESDA experts. Details will be announced during the next Steering Committee meeting. Thank you.”
This, of course, makes eminent sense. Since Pre-College is preparatory to higher education, it is rational that the formulation for the pre-college stream be entrusted to the expertise of CHED. After all, in the implementation of the Pre-College stream, it is expected that many of the faculty will come from existing tertiary institutions. Similarly, since TESDA already has a mechanism for certifying competencies on required levels for employment, it is rational that they be involved in the determination of the technical curricula for Career Academy.
It is a happy thing that DepEd will focus on decongesting the first ten years of basic education. Here DepEd will have to do a better job at decongesting the curriculum was accomplished in 2002 Revised Basic Education Curriculum (RBEC). If they are talking about decongestion, they will find that many courses overlap or are downright unnecessary. They clutter the learning programs and distract the students from focusing on learning and competencies that are necessary. In such cases it makes no sense to decongest by “pushing up” into 11 and 12. Meaning decongestion will entail erasing or abrogating courses, not postponing them. Corrolarily, it makes no strategic sense to say a priori that no teachers will be declared redundant. The curriculum experts should be allowed to plan a decongested curriculum for its own merits, and not to keep a number of people employed.
Back to curriculum development of Career Academy, I believe a major role that DepEd will have in administering the Career Academy would be to ensure that the set of courses its students take are truly consistent with the actual career needs of the students. In Jesuitspeak, the DepEd administrators shall have to provide for the cura personalis or personal care of the students, including the care for the human growth of all the students. Part of this will be ensured by the general education courses and counseling that all the work-stream student must benefit from; part of this will also be the discretional decisions made with the students and their parents on that student’s personal combination of technical stream requirements and additional loads in the pre-college, general-education stream. Such “extra work” shall make it easier for students to enter college after they shall have graduated from Career Academy and have earned enough money to pay for college.
Meanwhile, it is a happy thing that the heads of the CHED, DepEd and TESDA are coordinating with each other on implementing K+12!