THE K to 12 curricula was implemented in the Philippines in order to bridge the gap in the learning of basic education students. However, in the case of some senior high school graduates from Lanao del Sur, some teachers commented that it was as if no curriculum change had happened.
Some English teachers who were teaching in Mindanao State University – Marawi’s college bound program (CBP) were the ones who have observed this.
Some of my English teacher friends who were having their reading exercises noticed that majority of the students read “lion” as “lee-yon” and most likely do not even know what that word was.
Other mispronounced and unknown words for them, when the students individually read the children’s fable The Lion and the Mouse were “gnawed,” “paws,” “frightened,” and many more.
During the synthesis, students were asked what they have understood in the 188-word children’s fable, and a lot of the incoming college students weren’t able to give an answer.
Even if this was just two of the components of language fluency, the performance of the learners still says a lot. Some of which are in the aspect of reading comprehension, reading abilities, and understanding contexts.
What’s worse is that they were allowed to graduate even though they failed to attain the supposed target competencies.
In my previous column, “Why I need to fail you in class,” I stated there that cultural differences might become a problem in the learning of the child. For example, learners from some poor and warm countries might not know what snow is nor its translation to their language.
However, in the case of the learners here, some of them might more likely be deprived of reading materials and other learning resources and lessons.
Teachers just sigh in disappointment and commented that the extra two years in the basic education almost did nothing for the incoming batch of freshmen.
Aside from the reading and speaking exercises, a lot of their students have also failed in other language skills activities—skills that were supposed to be the new curriculum’s targets to be improved among the learners.
These teachers put the blame on their teachers during elementary and high school “who were not doing their job of teaching the kids properly.” What senior high school graduate wouldn’t know what a lion is?
But in our school community immersion in 2016 in a far municipality in Lanao del Sur, teachers admitted that they barely know anything about K to 12, except that there will be added years in schooling.
In our talks with the teachers there who have just taken lessons from us about the features of the K to 12, they said that prior to our visitation, they did not know about the outcomes-based instructions, the spiral curriculum, and the target skills that learners must acquire.
They further said that it was because the local Department of Education (DepEd) of the Province and of the region only gave trainings to very few selected faculty members and almost did not give out books for their schools.
For me, the bottom line is that the teachers in Lanao del Sur were not motivated nor equipped enough to teach better, thereby producing students with a weak set of skills because there is very little support and provision coming from the LGU and the DepEd.
Furthermore, there is also a weak monitoring of the schools’ performance and even their needs, that is why the vicious cycles of illiteracy and poor academic performance is persistent in Lanao del Sur – even with the implementation of a new curriculum that was supposed to increase the literacy and competency of the learners.
It was not because the curriculum is weak. It is because its implementation here was.