|YouScooper Maria Trinidad Toriano shares this photo of students attending a class amid flood water at a public high school in Hagonoy, Bulacan. Toriano, a teacher of the school, reports that the area is a catch basin every time there is a high tide. She adds the high tide happens every other week and that floods rise up to knee-level.|
Science recently published a review of a book on the basic education system of Finland (Finnish Lessons What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? by Pasi Sahlberg Teachers College Press, New York, 2011. 191 pp. Paper, $34.95. ISBN 9780807752579). The review emphasizes the following points that were made in the book:
"Imagine you are placed in charge of reforming your country's educational system in order to increase students' academic performance. What would you do? Ideas that come to mind likely include the following: lower the age for starting school, give students more instructions, require more homework, establish a prescribed curriculum for teachers with high performance standards for students, increase competition among schools, provide merit-based pay for teachers, and increase accountability of schools through regular standardized, census-based tests and school inspections. All of these tactics for educational reform have been applied in multiple countries. However, one small country in northern Europe did not follow the global trends when reforming its educational system—and it has done best...."One may add to this list the changes DepEd is introducing this year to schools in the Philippines and the paragraph still brings truth. Those who criticize criticisms against K to 12 take the wrong assumption of having exclusively the desire to improve quality in education. There is even a slogan, "If not now, when?", as if critics of K to 12 are not asking the same question, "If we do not improve the quality of education now, then when?". Assuming K to 12 is the answer to the country's education problems is a very incorrect assumption. And all one has to do is to compare it against that of Finland and the gigantic difference: In the Philippines, teachers are ignored.
- "Stop K-12, Asks Teachers Group"
- "Panalangin ng mga Guro ng Bayan" (The Teachers' Prayer)
- "Manila Public School Teachers Association: Stop K to 12"
- "Amid Grievances, Teachers Meet Classes Today with a Smile"
- "PNoy and DepEd, Stop Implementing K to 12"
- "DepEd K to 12: A View from Cordillera"
- "Severely Underpaid Teachers Given Bulk of K+12 Program Implementation"
The current predicament of Philippine basic education is illustrated in various posts of this blog: (1) "The State of Kindergarten", (2) "First Day of School: DepEd K to 12", (3) "Education Statistics - Philippines", (4) "K+12, Worsening Shortages to Greet School Opening", (5) "Shortage of Teachers", (6) "New Data on Out-of-School Children: UNESCO", and (7) "Deped K+12 in the News: Information or Misinformation." In addition, the root of the problems lies in the failure of higher education to support basic education in the Philippines. The article "Role of Higher Education" reiterates the intimate dependence of the quality of basic education on the performance of higher education institutions. This post also illustrates the scores of Philippine students in standardized exams and how these correlate with the various factors that describe the quality of higher education institutions. In "Deped K to 12: Schools Continue to Slide", these are again highlighted.
Views against DepEd's K to 12 from various sectors have been incorporated in this blog:
- A Critique of Some Commentaries on the Philippines K-12 Program by Flor Lacanilao
- K+12 Commentary by Manggagawa
- Suggestion to Solve Philippines' Basic Education Problems by Flor Lacanilao
- The Problem with Aquino's K to 12 Program by Jan Marcel Ragaza
- More of the Same - A BusinessMirror editorial
- Education Crisis Worsened under Aquino by AnakBayan
- Ricochet: Will K+12 Fail? by Rene Ezpeleta Bartolo
- DepEd K to 12: Wrong Solution to Wrong Problem by Val G. Abelgas
- DepEd's K to 12 Will Lead to More Dropouts by Cong. Teddy Casiño
- Dagdag Pahirap na Programang K+12 by Ilang-Ilang Quijano and Per Pasion
- K-12 A Big Joke by Fr. Jun Mercado
- K to 12 Program ng Gobyerno ng Pilipinas by David Michael San Juan
- Ilang Mahahalagang Punto Laban sa Programang K-12 ng Administrasyong Aquino by Anakbayan-UPLB
- Deped K-12: To Each His Own by Cito Beltran
- Ten Years of Quality Education Are Better than Twelve Years of Mediocre Ones by the Mindanao Observer
- Barefoot Schoolchildren by Erma M. Cuizon
- Labor Watch: K+12, Job Fairs, and the Out-of-school Youths by Aldwin Quitasol
- K-12: Education Reform for Whom? by Cong. Raymond V. Palatino
- UP Professors on K to 12: Lengthening the Suffering, Increasing the Burden by CONTEND-UP
- K+12 better called K9 by Pet Melliza
- Cooking Shows at K-12 by Rolando B. Tolentino
The problems with K to 12 are not confined to its disregard of teachers and poor implementation. Many of the elements of the new curriculum are also questionable:
(1) DepEd's Spiral Curriculum fails to learn from mistakes made by other countries. And since the new curriculum does not take into account the point of view from teachers, the required expertise as well as teaching materials required by a spiral approach are not taken into account. Lynne Diligent has also written a well thought article on why so many elementary students are not mastering math.
(2) Discovery-based learning is at the heart of the new curriculum. In "A Learner Discovers But a Teacher Instructs", an important clarification of what discovery-based learning is made. And in Rote Learning is Part of Learning, we are reminded of why memorization is important.
(3) Science is not a formal subject in the early grades. "Hooray! No More Trigonometry" argues that science should be taught in the early childhood years.
(4) Short instructional hours are discussed in "The Wisdom behind Deped's Short School Hours" and "Listen to the Voices of Teachers"
(5) Mother Tongue - Multilingual Education is examined in "Language is More than Culture and Culture is More than Language", "Mother Tongue", "A British School where Pupils Speak 31 Languages", and "K12 lessons from ICRISAT".
(6) Kindergarten is the first additional year that has been added by DepEd to Philippine basic education. Kindergarten serves as an excellent yardstick to gauge the government's readiness to implement K to 12. And in this area, the government fails miserably and the following posts on this blog are on kindergarten: "Kindergarten is not Day Care", "The State of Kindergarten", and "A Kindergarten Graduation in the US". The last one contains a video of a parent describing what children have learned from kindergarten, basically providing us a vision of what kindergarten in the Philippines should be.
With the situation in basic education looking so dire, what should be done? Those among us who criticize K to 12 can likewise raise the same question, if not now, when? We are likewise concerned and driven by the same commitment to improve education in the Philippines. Our answer to these problems can be shaped by placing ourselves as having these pupils as children of our own. And we will act now.
First things first. These are: Take care of our teachers, treat teachers with respect and recognition, and equip teachers (Let us follow the example of Finland).