Vice President Sara Duterte during the Basic Education Report (BER) 2023 (Screengrab from DepEd Philippines Facebook live)
Vice President Sara Duterte during the Basic Education Report (BER) 2023 (Screengrab from DepEd Philippines Facebook live)

VP Sara bares findings in K-12 curriculum review

EDUCATION Secretary Vice President Sara Duterte bared on Monday, January 30, 2023 several findings of the review of the Kinder to Grade 12 (K to 12) curriculum.

In her speech during the Basic Education Report 2023, Duterte said the curriculum, which is the core of basic education of the K to 12 program, is “congested.”

She said some prerequisites of identified learning competencies are missing or misplaced in the curriculum and that the significant number of learning competencies cater to higher cognitive demands.

She said that while the work immersion program for senior high school has contributed to a high passing rate of 90 based on the National Certificate Assessment administered by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, industry partners expressed concern that the time allotment for the program is only for familiarization and not for actual skills acquisition.

Duterte said that while the K to 12 program promised to produce employable graduates, most of those who finished the program still find the need to pursue higher education in order to find employment.

She noted a study conducted by the Bureau of Curriculum Development showed that 83 percent of the respondents pursued higher education while only a little over 10 percent of graduates were employed after graduating from the K to 12 program.

“The K to 12 promised to produce graduates that are employable and that promise remains a promise to this day,” the Vice President said.

Curriculum and graduate employability was one of the challenges in the country’s basic education identified by the Deped.

Amid ongoing education reforms, Duterte said the Kinder to Grade 10 curriculum is being finalized while the Senior High School curriculum is undergoing review.

Another challenge was literacy.

Duterte said that based on a study conducted by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2018, 81 percent of the Filipino learners who participated could not deal with basic math; 81 percent were having trouble understanding texts of moderate length; and 78 percent could not recognize correct explanations for scientific phenomena or draw valid conclusions from given data.

She said DepEd is taking such a study as an opportunity to thoroughly examine the country’s system and the defects that “hurt” the children’s ability.

In August 2022, the national government, under its education reforms, reopened the conduct of face-to-face classes, two years following the shift to distance learning due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

Duterte said over 28 million learners were enrolled in public schools across the country.

She said 99.54 percent of public schools nationwide were implementing five-day face-to-face classes.

Duterte said the Deped also implemented the National Learning Recovery Plan to support the efforts of their field offices in addressing learning losses.

She also noted the participation rate of learners from indigenous communities, geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas, muslim youth, learners with disabilities and out of school youth and adults still needs to be improved.

“Our road to recovery has begun with learning remediation and intervention programs, we continue to engage parents and legal guardians in facilitating learning and regularly conduct home visitations and follow ups,” she said.

The Education Secretary said the DepEd is also focusing on reskilling and upskilling teachers and school leaders by conducting various capacity development initiatives.

She said 15,331 received graduate scholarships; 17,636 trained in early-grade language literacy; 161,700 completed National Educators Academy of the Philippines courses while 31,700 underwent Teacher Induction Program.

Duterte said that it was found during the review the “weak teaching methods” to address 21st century skills, under the program.

“While critical thinking was the most evident in the curriculum it was also the least thought to students by teachers. Instead, lessons leaned towards conceptual or content based teaching and lessons lacks in-depth processing to cultivate critical thinking and problem solving,” she said.

“There appears to be insufficient knowledge on developing 21st century skills including higher order thinking skills among learners,” she added.

She cited a research done by the Center for Teacher Quality, the World Bank and UNICEF which showed that Filipino teachers need further support particularly, explicitly and strategically in teaching critical thinking and problem solving skills.

But, Duterte said the teachers are not the ones to be blamed for these issues.

“The sad reality is the system has failed them, this is a system that burdens them with back breaking and time consuming administrative tasks, a system that provides no adequate support and robs them of the opportunity to professionally grow and teach and assist poor learners,” she said.

“Our teachers must return to classrooms and they must teach,” she added.

Also among the challenges identified by Deped in the country’s basic education were the lack of infrastructure and the procurement of resources to support the ideal teaching process.

Duterte said the lack of infrastructure and resources to support the ideal teaching process is the most pressing issue pounding the Philippine basic education.

“The department is not blind on the need to build, repair and maintain school infrastructure to accommodate the growing number of learners,” she said.

In the Visayas alone, Duterte said 17,263 classrooms were in need of either repair or replacement due to the damages incurred from the onslaught of Typhoon Odette.

He said P9.82 billion is needed for the conduct of repair and construction of classrooms in the said region.

For 2023 the DepEd allocated P15.6 billion for construction of new classrooms and other school facilities.

Duterte said the DepEd created a separate strand dedicated entirely on matters of procurement.

She said this strand will ensure the delivery of services is done within the period required by law following the processes mandated by law and to ensure transparency and accountability.

“Our assessment of the department's procurement practices showed cracks that if left unresolved will harm our vision of providing our learners with quality basic education,” she said.

Duterte reaffirms the commitment of the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on improving the quality of basic education in the country.

“We know that the road will be bumpy but our direction is clear. We know that the challenges are vast but we Filipinos are resilient and we will overcome,” said Duterte. (SunStar Philippines)

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