MANILA, Philippines—Seventy two million Filipino kids are expected to enter the Kindergarten “K” level which will start when the school year opens this June, Senator Edgardo Angara said on a regular forum Thursday.
“The plan of the Department of Education is to implement the ‘K’ level this school year, the beginning of the 13-year school cycle,” said Angara, who is Chairman of the Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, Science and Technology. “So the school year will start with ‘K’, kindergarten at age 5,” he said
The K to 12 program involves Kindergarten, six years of elementary education, four years of junior high school, and two years of senior high school. The program will be designed to adjust and meet the fast-changing demands of society by providing graduates with essential skills for the world of work, college education or for the global arena.
Some of the issues that have been raised about the program are : the need for a new curriculum for elementary and high school students; the lack of classrooms and instructional materials; and doubts on the unification of DepEd, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for a continuous program.
The 12-year education cycle is part of the 10-point Education Agenda of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.
The “K-5″ level will involve starting the school year with 5 year old kids entering as kindergarten students.
“That’s what you call the age cohort. Aged 5 Filipino children are about 7 million, and they are theoretically eligible to enroll at “K” level.” Angara explained.
Amid the classroom and teacher shortage, the senator suggested ways to accommodate the incoming enrolees.
“Simply adding money to building classrooms will not solve the backlog in class rooms. You’ve got to think of new ways.” Angara said.
Angara proposed getting help from contractors and non-government offices, as well as tapping into the advantages of technology.
“We can hold 120 pupils in one room. But how are we going to teach them effectively? We use sound systems, powerpoints, and computers; in other words we use technology in teaching and learning. That’s what you call a Virtual Classroom. We can hire 5000 good teachers that would do the job of 20,000 teachers.” Angara explained.
“A combination of technology, private participation, and private investment would solve these problems.” The senator said.