Senate’s ‘K to 12’ version to require DepEd to update Congress in midtermBy Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Senate’s version of the K to 12 (kindergarten to Grade 12) basic education program would require the Department of Education (DepEd) to submit a midterm report to Congress on the status and progress of the implementation of the new curriculum that would increase school years from 10 to 12.
Section 16 of Senate Bill No. 3286, an amendment proposed by Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano and adopted by the chamber, directs the DepEd to conduct a review and submit a report to the legislature as regards the reported shortages of teachers, classrooms, textbooks, chairs, toilets and other school facilities.
The evaluation and status report is expected after two school years ending in 2015.
Cayetano said a congressional review by both chambers is a guarantee that everything will be done to assure parents, particularly the poor, that their investments in their children’s education under the new system will pay off and reap rewards from the enhanced curriculum.
“This means shortages in classrooms, computers, books, laboratories, etc., in schools must be resolved. Otherwise, the proposed system will only prove to be an additional financial burden on parents and will result in an increase in the number of dropouts of students,” Cayetano said.
Cayetano said that in 2010, the country had a shortage of 148,827 teachers, 66,800 classrooms, 135,847 toilets, 2.5 million seats and 60 million books.
He added that at present, only 29,261 of teaching positions have been filled, 23,646 classrooms have been built, 29,243 toilets have been provided, 1.3 million seats have been produced and 52.7 million books have been delivered.
Section 16 also mandates DepEd to include in the midterm report the essential key metrics of the access to and quality of basic education: participation rate; retention rate; National Achievement Test; completion rate; teacher welfare training and profile; adequacy of funding requirement; and other learning facilities including, but not limited to, computer and science laboratories and libraries and library hubs; sports, music and arts.
“With this in place, hopefully, we can address the rising dropout problem in the country. Presently, only 66 percent of students actually graduate from elementary. This means 34 percent do not,” Cayetano said.
“That’s almost eight million students out of the 20 million kindergarten entrants will be out of school by the time they reach elementary. And of the 66 percent only 50 percent graduate from high school. We can’t afford to add two more years without solving this problem first,” he added.
Cayetano said the provision would ensure that basic resources and facilities are put in place before the government rushes to fully implement K to 12 to assure parents and students that government can guarantee the quality education and better prospects for employment that a K-to-12 system promises to offer.
“I want a clear assurance that in the years to come the proposed law will provide our people an education that is far better than what we have today, that the prospects of employment for our graduates will indeed be greater, that parents, especially the poor, are assured that their hard-earned money for additional years will pay off in the end,” Cayetano said.
The Senate passed its version of the K-to-12 law before the congressional recess.