Time wasting, K+12

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By Neil Honeyman

An Independent View

Sunday, February 9, 2014


THE world of education management often falsely attributes a profound significance to what is merely a cosmetic change having no beneficial impact whatsoever. In the real world, we can distinguish between appearance and reality.

Consequently, the imposition of K+12 is creating a tension between educationists and the rest of us. We do not perceive the “enhancements” that the Department of Education (DepEd) hopes we will accept.

At a January 24 meeting hosted by the University of St La Salle (USLS) and attended by other schools in Negros Occidental, USLS President Bro. Rey Suplido states that although K+12 is not being fully implemented until 2016, USLS has already started to adopt a Grade 11 level in their Integrated School (USLS-IS). Started?! USLS has had a Grade 11 for as long as I can remember. Historically, this is because La Salle deemed that graduates of Grade 6 are not yet ready for a four-year high school program.

So USLS has for a long time had a Grade 7 prior to entry to a four-year high school course (Grade 8-11). I recall attending a Grade 11 induction meeting in July 2000. One obstreperous parent (not me) challengingly asked the meeting’s chairperson, Pica Limas, why USLS seemed to be supporting students’ applications to some tertiary institutions but not to others. I do not know whether this outrageous allegation is true but I remember that parents started to discuss this amongst themselves and that the meeting ended in some disarray.

USLS is mitigating the time-wasting effect of K+12 by the cunning rise of transferring its Grade 7 from Grade School to High School. Pragmatism at its best! One year saved. The next step is to see how the second wasted year of K+12 can be swallowed. Summer school? A great business opportunity awaits any education establishment which can mount summer school programs which engender acceleration through the pedestrian six-year high school process inflicted via K+12.

USLS also mentioned at the 24 January meeting that the full implementation of the K+12 programs of the Department of Education (DepEd) aims to equip Filipino students to be able to join overseas universities at the undergraduate level. Does it? There are universities in the Philippines which offer undergraduate courses to a reasonable level. These include University of the Philippines (UP), University of Santo Tomas (UST), and Ateneo; all of which are ranked in the international league table. There are universities in the ASEAN region such as the National University of Singapore (NUS) which are ranked higher than our best but the implementation of K+12 will be of no help to the suitability of Filipino students for admission to NUS.

The credibility gap between DepEd and stakeholders about the characteristics of K+12 is already very wide. Let us hope that DepEd gains a semblance of reality when it comes to its future pronouncements. Our legislators have a lot to answer for by passing a Republic Act falsely describing K+12 as an “Enhanced” Basic Education Act of 2016. Enhanced means “further improve the quality or value.” Enhanced in the context of K+12 is an empty concept and endless repetition of the word does not change this unpalatable fact.

***

‘All great truths begin as blasphemies’ - George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Annajanska (1919) p.262

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 09, 2014.

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