WHEN K to 12 was surprisingly forwarded by the present Philippine government two years back, many of the stakeholders in education started to question its viability and societal impact.
Until today, there have been apprehensions and questions leaning on our day-to-day transactions as we see dawdling moves from the educational stakeholders and institutions (here in Lanao, if not the whole Mindanao) that are supposed to work very fast for the attainment of this new educational system.
Am I the only one noticing this? Definitely not.
Most of my colleagues in the university started to ask ‘how would the regional department of education prepare our current Grade 9 pupils in their senior high when we only have a year or so to prepare them?’
This creeping question envelope all educated parents because they know that the government envisioned so much for the kind of K-12 graduates by 2018.
Are we really ready to produce the envisioned holistically developed Filipinos who have 21st century skills and are prepared for higher education, middle-level skills development, employment, and entrepreneurship?
Our children are estimated to possess sufficient mastery of the basic competencies that will equip them with skills in information, media and technology skills, learning and innovation skills, life and career skills, and effective communication skills.
This vision invites apprehension on the kind of preparation we have. This means a radical shift in the way we choose teachers for our Grade 11 and 12 children.
More specialized and skilled teachers must be in these levels in order to produce the kind of graduates we want. As what experts say, ‘we can only give what we have!’
Hence, enhancing capabilities of the current secondary teachers through ample preparations for this challenge is a must. A few days of seminar wouldn’t be enough.
Why not send some of the prospect teachers for Senior High to countries in Asia with this kind of educational system for exposure and long-term trainings?
This way, our current classrooms will be well attended and not disrupted by the many mushrooming seminars here and there.
If we want to produce students with information, media and technology skills, teachers in the senior high should have been in the field by now studying relevant teaching strategies in the areas of media literacy and information and communication technology.
If we want to produce students with learning and innovation skills, teachers by now are expected to be exposed in different vocational strategies that will equip them in manning facilities that our educational centers must have expectedly possessed.
If we want to produce students with life and career skills, our teachers should have been well rounded enough to share these skills.
Capabilities in surviving life and career paths to be chosen by our graduates should have been well understood by our teachers and education administrators.
Lastly, if we want to produce students with effective communication skills, our teachers should be trained well in the fields of English and Filipino language teaching and learning strategies in order to capacitate the communication needs of our learners.
However, as we capacitate teachers on the above languages for global use, we must not forget that this K-12 system emphasized the need to use mother tongue-based learning during our children’s primary years.
Wouldn’t this be complicating the challenge? I believe it will complicate everything.
This entire nation has not capacitated until today each of the hundreds of the minority languages that communities use.
This means that there are no proper orthography and sound pattern systems given to these languages that are expected to be taught to our children.
Thus, envisioning for this gargantuan challenge requires an enormous responsibility.
Are we preparing enough?
(Professor Sorhaila Latip-Yusoph is currently the chairperson of the Communication and Media Department, Mindanao State University, Marawi City.)