AMID directives from the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) for state-run tertiary education institutions to stop the senior high school program, Director Salustiano Jimenez of the Department of Education (DepEd) Region 7 assured that despite ongoing changes, the added two years in high school, Grade 11 and Grade 12, will remain intact and will not be abolished.
The clarification comes as public confusion surrounds the implementation of the new and revised K-10 Matatag curriculum by the DepEd.
Marla, not her real name, a public high school student in Moalboal town, shared that she learned online and from classmates about rumors suggesting the abolition of the K to 12 program, reverting back to the old curriculum.
“There is talk circulating in Moalboal that the senior high school program will be completely removed. I was shocked and confused,” she said.
In a document dated Dec. 18, 2023, Ched announced the cessation of senior high school programs in State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) and Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs) nationwide.
Ched chairman Prospero de Vera III said the involvement of SUCs and LUCs in basic education will be confined to the K-12 transition period, spanning school year (SY) 2016-2017 to SY 2020-2021 only.
He said the DepEd has been officially notified that there will be no government assistance provided to students and teachers from the SUCs and LUCs starting SY 2023-2024, except those entering Grade 12.
However, Jimenez assured government’s K-12 program will be difficult to amend or revise as this is already a law.
“To make it clear, K-12 will still be implemented,” he clarified in an interview with SunStar Cebu on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024.
The Philippines’ K-12 program, an educational reform initiative known as the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, was signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III on May 15, 2013.
Before it’s implementation, the Philippines followed a 10-year basic education cycle, criticized for its perceived outdated nature and lack of preparation for global workforce challenges.
Jimenez emphasized that the K-12 program aimed to produce graduates better equipped for higher education and employment, aligning with international standards to enhance the country’s global competitiveness.
He pointed out that school buildings and classrooms had already been built and teachers had been hired to cater to the K-12 program implementation; thus, this won’t be easily stopped.
During his State of the Region Address on Wednesday, Jan. 31, Jimenez said 145,069 students completed the senior high school program in Central Visayas for SY 2022-2023.
Acknowledging potential confusion with ongoing revisions, particularly the addition of the K-10 Matatag curriculum, Jimenez said the changes aim to revisit and decongest areas of the K-12 program.
Under the Matatag curriculum, significant adjustments will occur in subjects and their distribution across grade levels. These changes are supposed to enhance the learning experience of Filipino students through a curriculum that is in step with the evolving needs of the education landscape.
Under the Matatag curriculum, Grade 1 students will be taught five subjects: Language, Reading and Literacy, Mathematics, Makabansa, land good manners and right conduct (GMRC). This is a reduction from the previous seven subjects, which included Filipino, English, Mathematics, Araling Panlipunan, MAPEH, and Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao.
For Grade 2 students, the subjects will be Mathematics, Makabansa and GMRC. Language and Reading and Literacy will be replaced with English and Filipino.
Meanwhile, in Grade 3, science subjects will be introduced in addition to the existing five subjects.
From Grades 4 to 10, students will study eight subjects: Filipino, English, Science, Mathematics, Araling Panlipunan, MAPEH, Technology and Livelihood Education, and GMRC.
The updated curriculum is scheduled for rollout in the following phases: Kindergarten, Grades 1, 4, and 7 during the SY 2024-2025; Grades 2, 5, and 8 in the SY 2025-2026; Grades 3, 6, and 9 in the subsequent SY; and finally, Grade 10 in the last year of the administration, spanning the SY 2027-2028.
Last year, five schools in Central Visayas were designated as pilot areas for the revised K-10 curriculum, which started with the pilot test of the revised Kindergarten, Grades 1, 4 and 7.
The selected schools included Tindog Integrated School, San Fernando; North Central Elementary School, Tabogon Central Elementary School, Dumanjug National High School, and Liloan National High School. The pilot test commenced on Sept. 25, 2023.