THE K-12 program will persist and will not be abolished, said a local basic education official despite an order from the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) for state-run tertiary education institutions to discontinue the senior high school program.
This clarification came amid public confusion surrounding the implementation of the new and revised K-10 Matatag curriculum by the Department of Education (DepEd).
Marla, not her real name, a public high school student in Moalboal town, said that she learned online and from classmates about rumors suggesting the abolition of the K-12 program, reverting back to the old curriculum.
"There is a circulating talk in Moalboal that the senior high school program will be completely removed? I was also shocked and confused," she said.
In a document dated December 18, 2023, Ched announced the cessation of senior high school program 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 from school year 2016-2017 to SY 2020-2021 only.
He added that the DepEd has officially notified through the Private Education Assistance Committee that there will be no government assistance provided to students and teachers from the SUCs and LUCs starting SY 2023-2024, except for those entering Grade 12.
But Director Salustiano Jimenez of DepEd-Central Visayas reassured the public 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 K-12 program of the government is already a law. It will be difficult to be amended or revised. To make it clear, K-12 will still be implemented -- the K-12 program of the government," he said in an interview with SunStar Cebu on Tuesday, January 30, 2024.
The K-12 program in the Philippines, an educational reform initiative officially known as the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, was signed into law by former President Benigno Aquino III on May 15, 2013.
Before the K-12 program's implementation, the Philippines followed a 10-year basic education cycle, criticized for its perceived outdated nature and lack of preparation for global workforce challenges.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.
The education official added that there are already built school buildings and classrooms and teachers hired to attend to the needs of implementing the K-12 program, thus, it will not be easily stopped.
During his State of the Region Address (Sora) on Wednesday, January 31, Jimenez said that 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 clarified that these 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, with full implementation planned for various grades over the next few school years.
These changes are set to enhance the learning experience for Filipino students, ensuring 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, and good manners and right conduct (GMRC). This is a reduction from the previous seven subjects, which included mother tongue, Filipino, English, Mathematics, Araling Panlipunan, MAPEH, and Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao.
For Grade 2 students, the subjects will be mathematics, makabansa, and GMRC, with language and reading and literacy being replaced by English and Filipino subjects.
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 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 September 25, 2023. (KJF)