K+12 program ‘absolutely essential,’ says expert
MANILA, Philippines—Adding two years to the present 10-year basic education cycle is “an absolutely essential reform” to put the country’s public education system at par with the rest of the world, an international education expert said on Wednesday.
Sheldon Shaeffer, director at the Bureau of Education of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) Asia Pacific, said the K+12 program (Kindergarten plus 12 years) was a necessary reform “to make the system comparable to and competitive with other countries.”
Speaking at a lecture on school leadership at the Department of Education (DepEd), Shaeffer said a 12-year education cycle would be “more useful to the personal needs and employment opportunities” of its graduates.
“I actually don’t see how people can disagree with it,” said Shaeffer before an audience of top Philippine education officials and representatives from various schools.
The flagship education program of the Aquino administration, the K+12 basic education reform plan aims to improve the quality of Filipino high school graduates by adding two years of senior high school to the current 10-year education curriculum.
The two additional years in senior high school are envisioned to serve as a specialization period for high school students, whether in vocational skills, music, the arts or sports. This would give high school graduates the option to pursue jobs with a basic education diploma or proceed to college.
The program aims to make Philippine education at par with the rest of the world, with 12 years of basic schooling already a global standard.
According to the DepEd, only the Philippines, Angola and Djibouti have a 10-year basis schooling cycle.
Officials said the two-year shortcoming had proven problematic in the accreditation of Philippine graduates when applying for postgraduate courses and employment overseas.
Recently, Laos added a year to its 11-year-program, Shaeffer noted.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro acknowledged that the transition to a 12-year system would be difficult but noted that the Philippines was “already delayed” in coming up to the global standard.
“What we’re looking at now is how to implement it. In [implementing] any change, there will be difficulty and this is what we really have to work on together. It’s not possible for change to be painless,” Luistro said.
The DepEd started the phased implementation of K+12 in June 2011, with the institutionalized public kindergarten program for 5-year-olds. It is set to introduce a new curriculum for Grade 1 and 1st year high school when the school year opens in June this year.
If implemented on schedule, the full K+12 program will have its first graduates in March 2018.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.