by Rod Rivera
In simple terms, K-12 is a necessity to align Philippine Basic Education Curriculum to that of the global standards, by adding two years of senior high school to the current four year secondary education, and another year for mandated kindergarten. This as planned will push through the coming school year.
While many have touted on its impact to the basic education curriculum, to the economy, and to our bid in synchronizing our educational system to world standards, rare is the discussion on its impact to tertiary education. The urgent challenge that administrators need to think about is how to cushion the impact of this new cycle to enrolment. But of high importance is the evaluation and re-engineering of the curriculum to address the changes in the cycle.
Starting next school year, the DepEd will implement the system to incoming grade one students. Based on the briefer that Department of Education posted online, the incoming high school will also be the first beneficiary of the free 2-year senior high school education which is designed to enable them to obtain the employable skills with their diploma. This scenario means that colleges and universities will face a lag in enrolment for two academic years between 2016-2018.
The aims of the enhanced K12 or K -6-4-2 have positive implications to improve the education that every Filipino student should get. College educators could attest to the fact of the lack of preparation that high school graduates receive when they enter college. Because basic education is free in the Philippines, this should not actually harm the many poor families in the country. What should everyone be aware about is the implementation of those aims to assure quality education.
The government should take every course available to guarantee that it meets the reported needs of the Department education for rooms, teachers, facilities and trainings. It should ensure that education gets its recommended 6% budget allocation as the UNESCO sees it fit.
The government will require completion of the 12 year basic education cycle on entry to college by AY 2018-2019. The urgent challenge then should be an opportunity for colleges and universities to innovate and reinvent while addressing the impact on student enrolment. Since, the rationale for implementing the K12 system cycle is to align our standards of education to that of what is globally accepted, then higher education institutions will have to take a proactive stance to this change.
The Philippine economy is much dependent on international labor and the remittance of migrant workers. Everyone just seem to want a job abroad, but with the Bologna Accord to be in full swing starting 2010, the chances for the Filipino workers to integrate in international labor becomes lean, particularly in Europe and North America.
This is a situation that should also be addressed, and this becomes an opportunity for colleges and universities to offer prebaccalaureate programs to provide students additional years of education. These programs that will be offered should guarantee students employable competencies or entrepreneurial know-how that can ensure them livelihood if they wish not to pursue a college degree.
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A proactive strategy that private colleges and universities will have to do is to give the last three batches of graduates from the old education cycle options to take a pre-baccalaureate, international baccalaureate, or associate degrees for two years before they take the four-year degree course. In this attempt, general education teachers will have to design academic programs and reengineer their existing programs for the change.
Apparently, private higher education institutions are oblivious of what to do, because the Commission on Higher Education has not laid its plans yet or provided the HEIs an outline of the college education curriculum. The DepEd Secretary, Br. Armin Luistro, FSC, secretary says that one impact of K12 implementation is higher enrolment because the subjects will be downsized and some others will have to be taken in High School.
This projection contradicts what K12 is supposed to provide Filipino students in terms of giving them the education that is comparable to global standards. A college graduate from the Philippines is short of qualifications in other countries because of the 10 year cycle we have for basic education. Our degree programs in colleges are almost patterned to world standards. Hence, cutting down on the subjects or reducing the length of college education will result to the same dilemma.
There may be subjects that will be taken in high school from the present college curriculum. The challenge now is to offer more vital subjects for the the college students, advancing their knowledge skills to be better off when they start their career. The expected impact of K12 on HEIs willl be probably felt four years from now, but as informed individuals the academe has to set its course action by now.
With strategic actions from HEIs the impact of K12 implementation will be cushioned. Now, what teachers from the basic and secondary education should be reflecting about is how to make these 12 years of education meaningful and fruitful. The hopes of those kids who walk a long road to get some education should never be failed in those longer years of travails.
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