Elenito Escalante, chairperson of the teachers’ group Kahugpongan sa mga Magtutudlo ug Kawani sa Edukasyon sa Mindanao (Kamkem) said K + 12 is not the answer to the shortage of classrooms, textbooks, and the problem on teachers, among others which are recurring problems of the country’s educational system.
By ALEX D. LOPEZ
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – “Why rush the passage of the K+12 Bill?” asked youth group Anakbayan in Southern Mindanao over the approval of House Bill No. 6643 or the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2012 on second reading at the House of Representatives.
Kabataan party-list legislator Raymond Palatino said the evaluation on the K + 12 program implemented by the Department of Education (DepEd) is not even done yet.
Majority of the lawmakers through a viva voce or “voice vote” approved Wednesday the bill which seeks to introduce changes in the country’s basic education system.
The K+12 Bill would require students to go through six years of elementary, four years of junior high school (Grade 7 to 10) and two years of senior high school (Grade 11 to 12). Kindergarten is also mandatory for all students.
For this school year, the incoming high school freshmen were already enrolled as Grade 7 students while a new curriculum touted to be “internationally recognized” was introduced to Grade 1 and Grade 7 students.
Palatino agrees that there is a need to change the basic education curriculum but the solution he said, is not to immediately legislate K + 12 without waiting for the DepEd’s evaluation of the program which has just been implemented this school year.
Besides, the DepEd has tried the Revised Basic Education Curriculum over a decade ago “to decongest the basic education curriculum.” Yet, as Palatino said, the issue on high dropout rates in the high school level has not been solved.
He added that if K + 12 is implemented “without bridging the gaps in the education sector, it will only worsen the current education crisis.”
Palatino told his fellow legislators that there’s no need to rush the Bill’s passage especially that it will affect millions of students across the country.
Anakbayan Southern Mindanao spokesperson Cherry Orendain pointed out that with three more years added to basic education more will not be able to finish school anymore.
She cited a 2011 survey conducted by the Institute of Public Opinion of the University of Mindanao here which showed that “majority of Davaoeños consider K to 12 program as an added economic burden.”
Orendain said with Wednesday’s passage, “the Aquino administration is clearly railroading the legislation of the K to 12 program.”
Elenito Escalante, chairperson of the teachers’ group Kahugpongan sa mga Magtutudlo ug Kawani sa Edukasyon sa Mindanao (Kamkem) said K + 12 is not the answer to the shortage of classrooms, textbooks, and the problem on teachers, among others, which are recurring problems of the country’s educational system.
“It is just another anti-poor, anti-teacher and anti-student program of the Aquino administration,” he said.
Alliance of Concerned Teachers regional coordinator for Southern Mindanao Gloria Arcenas pointed out that many classes still hold 60-65 students, an indication of a shortage of teachers.
Aside from this, the low salary of teachers is another problem which affects the quality of instruction. She cites the case of volunteer kindergarten teachers who receive a measly PhP 3,000 to PhP6,000 salary a month.
Arcenas pointed out that only PhP 1.6 billion is allocated for the universal kindergarten program for next year’s budget, which means the DepEd will continue to employ over 23, 900 volunteer kindergarten teachers with a monthly pay of only Php 3,000 to Php6,000.
“Dili man gani ni makabuhi ning sweldoha. Nagtuga-tuga ang gobyerno og K to 12, di man gani diay maka-provide og sakto sa mga teachers nga kinahanglan para ipatuman ning programaha (This is not even a decent wage. The government is insistent in implementing a program that it cannot even fund,” Arcenas said. (With reports from Marilou Aguirre-Tuburan/davaotoday.com)