THE Philippines is not yet ready for the K to 12 education reform program, said Pasig City lone district Representative Roman Romulo and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
The K to 12 adds two years of senior high school to the country's basic education system, allowing senior high school students to specialize in one of three tracks: the academic, technical-vocational-livelihood, and the sports and arts.
Romulo said it is been almost three years since the government began implementing the new education program, but the policy still has several concerns that need to be addressed before its full implementation next year.
By the school year 2016-2017, students across the country who would have otherwise graduated from the four years in high school would make up the first batch to enroll in Grade 11.
Romulo said that according to DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro, the country needs around 29,000 classrooms for Grade 11 students.
He was told in March that DepEd will still start the construction of 29,000 additional classrooms needed by this quarter.
Luistro also said that they need 30,000 new teachers.
"Pero kailan po iha-hire yung bagong teachers? Eh, ang applicants uumpisahan pa lang pong tanggapin yan by the end of the year. So, ang teachers’ training would start next year," he added.
Another problem hounding the K to 12, Romulo said, is the thousand of errors seen in several textbooks.
He said if the program seeks to enhance the learning experience of the Filipino children, there must be no errors in textbooks.
He said people should be assured that once this new education program starts, all the new textbooks designed for it should be error-free.
"Pag nag-umpisa na ang K to 12, panibagong grade level yan sa buong history ng Pilipinas. So, napakarami pong bagong textbook. Gusto natin malaman kung sigurado ba ang DepEd na wala ngang error sa mga bagong aklat (There will be new grade level once K to 12 is implemented. There will be new textbooks. We want to know if DepEd can ensure that these textbooks are error-free)," Romulo said.
The fourth big problem are the college teachers who will have to be eased out because there will be no incoming freshmen for two years.
"Meron na naman mga ma-di-displace (Some will be displaced)," he added.
Duterte, for his part, said the K to 12 would only add two years for students to suffer through when they can opt to either choose college or a technical course without the need of going through additional two years.
"What really bothers me is that every vacation time just before classes starts, we usually hear this guarantees that everything will be good, there is enough classrooms, the DepEd is ready, and the entire Philippines is just as comfortable. Alam mo pag dating ng klase, there are a lot of children out of the schools because they cannot be accommodated by the teachers," Duterte said.
He said that apparently, the K to 12 education system is ill-advised, since everybody is not yet prepared and not even in the next few years will DepEd be ready for this.
“It is not yet too late to stop it, and wait for the right time, more money, and more teachers at hand ready to embark on the K to 12," he said.