Home-schooling a band-aid solution—lawmakersBy Leila B. Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Two congressmen have questioned the effectiveness of the home-schooling program being implemented in Quezon City for high school students.
While the program may address the perennial problem of overcrowding in schools, it does not offer a permanent solution to the lack of classrooms or school buildings, according to Kabataan party-list Representative Raymond Palatino.
“It’s like a band-aid or artificial solution to the problem of lack of classrooms. It’s like we’re just hiding the problem,” Palatino said in a press briefing.
The home study program, which has been expanded this year, is being implemented in six Quezon City high schools. It targets about 20 percent of students, he added.
Under the program, home-schooled students follow the same curriculum as their fellow students in the same grade level but their studies are done at home. They report to school only on Saturdays.
Palatino, however, noted that parents have complained about the program because if both of them are working, nobody would be left at home to look after their child.
“How will they guide the child’s studies?” he said.
He also observed that students who need to repeat a grade level have also been included in the program.
Another problem with the program is that home-schooled students have been advised to use the Internet or the library for research but not all of them have access to these, Palatino added.
For his part, ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio said that the home study program was supposed to be used only in special cases like if a student has a lingering illness or a busy show-biz career.
“It’s merely for exceptional cases but the problem is it is being applied on a mass scale,” Tinio said.
According to him, when it is applied to many students, the home study program is not an appropriate way of providing a high school education.
Quezon City school officials earlier attested to the success of the program, saying that home-schooled students have done well in the National Achievement Test over the past years. They have also been able to finish college and get jobs, they said.
Both congressmen, however, said that the government needed to allocate more funds for education, especially if it wants to see the success of its K-12 program, which would add two more years to the school curriculum.
Palatino noted that similar programs in other countries were successful because the other elements required for an effective learning system were present, such as access to education and adequate resources.
But in the Philippines, not all children have access to education and there is a poor learning environment due to the lack of classrooms and textbooks, he added.
“Many students find it hard to reach Grade 6 and now we will add two more years. The additional two years will be torture to students and teachers,” he said.
Palatino said the government’s commitment to funding the education program would be crucial for its success.
Tinio, meanwhile, predicted that the implementation of the
K-12 program would worsen the crisis in education.
“Due to the failure of the Aquino administration to provide adequate funding in the 2012 national budget, the existing shortages in the basic education system will be aggravated by the unmet requirements of K to 12, particularly its kindergarten component,” he said.