July 27, 2018
QUEZON CITY – Teachers group Alliance of Concerned Teachers Philippines called on the Department of Education and the Congress to do ‘an honest evaluation of the whole K-12 program and see that it is better abandoned altogether than be maintained or reformed.’ ACT issued the statement after DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones announced that the K to 12 curriculum will undergo review to ‘keep up with the changing times’ last July 26.
“K to 12 has worsened the problems of our education system in all aspects. Its impetuous implementation has aggravated the shortages in facilities, personnel and materials. It intensified the privatization in the basic education through the voucher system. It reinforced the colonial and market-oriented curriculum of the basic and tertiary education. We can see no reason why it should still be continued,” said Raymond Basilio, Secretary General of ACT Philippines.
Republic Act 10533 which was passed in 2013 made mandatory the one year in kindergarten and two years in senior highschool purportedly to address the poor quality of basic education and high unemployment rate.
Five years after the law was enacted, Basilio said that the program has become a burden to teachers, students and parents and is plagued with a lot of problems, citing that “textbooks for elementary and junior highschool are not yet completed, instructional materials for senior highschool teachers are not yet available, public senior highschools are very scant, billions of pesos are paid by the government to private schools, and the drop-out rate is alarming.”
“And for what?” asked Basilio, noting there is no remarkable improvements in the achievement test results of K to 12 students nor in the country’s unemployment rate. He cited that the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said in a statement early this year that the 1st batch of K to 12 graduates were not ready for skilled jobs and are therefore not employable.
Basilio agreed that the current K to 12 curriculum is problematic.
“Not only does it serve capitalist interest, it also promotes an even more colonial education. For one, Philippine History is no longer taught in highschool. It also effected the reduction of required Filipino and social science subjects in the tertiary level,” he noted.
He, however, criticized Briones’ K to 12 curriculum review direction of ‘teaching how to make robots’ and ‘teaching life skills,’ saying that it does not get out of the colonial framework of producing cheap labor to meet global market demands and reinforces individualistic desire for wealth and success.
“Education must be geared towards national development. Its duty is to optimize the potentials of our youth and instill among them a deep desire to serve the country. They should be equipped with critical thinking, necessary skills and sense of nationalism to enable them to analyze and help solve the underdevelopment of our country.
“It is not enough that they are taught how to ‘adapt to the fast changing world.’ They should be made to realize that they can be catalysts of change and that they must use their skills and talents in effecting the kind of change that the Filipino people aspire – to be freed from poverty, underdevelopment, corruption in government and dependence to foreign powers,” Basilio concluded.