WHILE many Filipinos are lukewarm to the K to 12 curriculum which effectively adds two more years to basic education in the country, I have long batted for this system.

I’ve always felt that when kids in our country enter college at 16 or 17, they lack the emotional maturity to make wise college choices so that more often than not, it’s the parents who undertake the decision-making.

Because at 16, did we really know what we wanted to be? And if we did, did we actually know what we were talking about?

Of course it’s debatable whether or not adding two more years can increase one’s emotional maturity but while most parents like to boast about how young their kids are upon graduating from high school, I believe that when the process of entering college is delayed by a year or two, kids are actually better able to make informed college and career choices.

From my own experience, the older you go to school, the more you get out of school. I’ve gone back to the university twice since I graduated from college. First, to get a Master of Management in Business Management degree and second, to get a Master of Arts in English Language Teaching degree. As an older student, I definitely learned more because I had a broader and better perspective of things.

The current ten years of basic education in the country is so focused on the academics that when we enter college, we really have no idea what our chosen careers based on our college choices will actually be like. Basic education in our country is classroom-confined and textbook-defined, not the best preparation for life—inside or outside the university.

With the K to 12 curriculum, there is room now for the inclusion of technical and vocational courses—essential life skills which should rightly form part of the basic education curriculum of every country or culture.

And let’s put a stop to college students wasting time, energy and money re-enrolling in basic high school courses like English, Math and Science. With the K to 12 system of basic education, the college curriculum can now finally be freed from these redundant courses to focus on majors and actual training in the field of study.

No change is without cost. Sacrifices must be made in the short-term to reap benefits in the long-term. There will always be people who will be skeptical of change, people who will fear change and people who will say, we believe in change but the time is not now.

I say, if not now, when? All change is painful. The first step to making a change is to begin. If we don’t start now, it will never happen. I salute the brave men and women behind the overhaul of the country’s educational system. In the face of blistering criticism, they pushed on for much-needed educational reforms in the country. Their courage will be remembered by history.

To the critics of the K to 12 curriculum, I say, open your minds. Give change a chance. To the change makers, I say, take heart. And do not be afraid to be called fools. Many fools have made history. As a former member of the academic community and a perpetual student of life, I celebrate this leap of faith.

(Email: sunstarcebucolumnist@yahoo.com, Twitter: http://twitter.com/melanietlim)