DAVAO CITY – The senior high school (SHS) curriculum under the K+12 program of the Department of Education (DepEd) did not sit well with Catholic educators in Mindanao, which branded it as “over-congested” and would likely “cause more problems than offer solutions” to the ailing education sector.
“DepEd’s SHS curriculum would mean 6.5 hours of contact hours daily in senior high school which is indeed too heavy for a student,” said Dr. Gina Montalan, dean of the College of Education at the Ateneo de Davao University.
She said that “it would mean that each subject will have 80 hours per semester and is considered to be “non-negotiable.”
The final make up of the curriculum was presented last month to administrators of member schools of the Catholic Education Association of the Philippines, which hosted the Mindanao Summit at the Ateneo de Davao University, where Secretary Armin Luistro, FSC, of the Department of Education attended.
The final SHS curriculum includes four tracks: Academic, Tech-Voc, Sports, and Arts & Design with 31 80-hour subjects totaling to 2,480 hours. The strands have 15 core subjects and 16 track subjects with seven contextualized subjects and nine specialization subjects.
The 2,480 hours, if to be considered in today’s college unit is equivalent to 32.5 units, according to the CEAP.
The senior high school refers to the Grades 11 and 12 level of the Kindergarten plus 12 years of basic education, or referred to as the K+12 program.
Sr. Ma. Domitilla B. Sendino, OP, Principal of Maryknoll High School of Lupon, Davao Oriental expressed concern on how her school would be able to include “institutional offerings” such as values education and philosophy subjects.
“DepEd should revisit the curriculum itself because it offer “no room” for the private Catholic schools to customize its subject offerings based on the mission and charisms of the institutions. Our liberty to do some “tailor-fitting” in the curriculum was deprived from us,” Sendino said.
In his opening speech during that assembly, Luistro said that “while the K to 12 is not the solution to all the problems of the Philippine educational system, it will hopefully address one of its main weaknesses–the congested curriculum.”
DepEd also claimed that students under the SHS curriculum will not have to rush through the lessons anymore. It will also do away with unnecessary topics in the curriculum so that students will develop competencies and acquire life skills that will make them productive members of the society.
But Private school teacher Charles Tupas, from Zamboanga City said he doubted the effectiveness of the implementation of the SHS curriculum. He said the curriculum would make students “even more hard-pressed to learn all the subjects given the SHS curriculum itself is over-congested.
“I thought all the while the K to 12 program will decongest the 10 years curriculum but upon the presentation of the SHS curriculum it appears that students in this setting will not be able to achieve comprehension and mastery, particularly of the core subjects,” Tupas said.
Montalan suggested that Saturday classes will be allowed to accommodate the 80 hour per semester per course requirement to give leeway to schools to insert some of their institutional offerings but this suggestion was not viewed and taken positively by the DepEd officials present during the Summit.
Militant youth groups continued to oppose the implementation of the K to 12 program, saying the “Aquino government is obviously cramming towards the implementation of the SHS curriculum despite shortages of classrooms, teachers, textbooks and facilities.”
CEAP Vice President and AdDU President Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ held the same view with fellow CEAP Mindanao educators to “unanimously pass a resolution that the DepEd, in consultation with Mindanao educators on the ground revisit the 80 hours per subject requirement.”
“At this point, DepEd needs to take more of a dialogical rather than a prescriptive stance; it must be encouraging and empowering, not over-demanding and discouraging. It must capitalize on the good will of people who want this reform to work. In this sense, less may truly be more,” Tabora said. (Mart D. Sambalud/davaotoday.com)