Education execs told to work more closely for seamless transition of SHS students
MANILA, Philippines — The trinity of education authorities should sit down and talk more frequently about the K to 12 curriculum review to ensure a “seamless transition” for senior high school students, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said on Tuesday.
Gatchalian, head of the Senate basic education panel, said the Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority should improve their communication mechanism to eliminate redundancies in the curriculum.
“For purposes of senior high school review, because there’s an intersection between the three [bodies] – clearly, we can make it more cohesive [and propose that] the meeting for the purposes of review will be more frequent. And also, that there would be some sort of output so us policymakers will be guided and educated,” he said at a committee hearing on the proposed measure seeking to ensure that senior high school graduates are employable.
Gatchalian pointed out that there are some senior high school core subjects with similar learning objectives sought in college electives.
He cited General Mathematics, Statistics, and Probability – a senior high school subject that has competencies reintroduced to college students under Mathematics in the Modern World.
But Dr. Flordeliza Francisco from CHEd’s technical panel of general education argued that there are differences in the courses mentioned by the senator.
Gatchalian then brought up the communication line between the DepEd and CHEd, “so there will be a seamless transition from senior high school to college.”
“We have to remember – 80 percent of our senior high school [students] enter college. We want to make it as seamless as possible. The bridging program is not seamless. For me, it’s not a sign of being seamless. It’s actually a hurdle for them,” he said.
Higher education institutions, according to a CHEd memorandum in 2017, “may require bridging programs for the general education component.”
In private schools, Francisco said bridging programs could cost about P3,000 to P5,000 and last for around five months.
She pointed out, however, that the problem with the transition from high school to college was only exacerbated after the implementation of the K to 12 curricula.
But even before the K to 12 system was adopted in schools, Francisco said the preparation of high school graduates had already been uneven.
She reasoned that it wasn’t as big of a problem before since there were competencies in high school that students were required to relearn in college.
“So whatever was lacking in high school was still being filled. In the first year, what happens is – they’re being equalized. That’s good. But now, we scrapped the repeats. It’s still the same problem from before, but we feel it now because there are no more common subjects, and the only way to refill the gap is to offer bridging [courses],” Francisco explained partly in Filipino.
Later on, DepEd – Bureau of Curriculum Development director Jocelyn Andaya admitted that they have “not been talking that much” with CHEd, which is an area she hopes the Senate committee and the proposed measure can rectify.
“For CHEd, there are many issues that we need to thresh out,” she said.
‘Need to meet regularly’
Andaya pointed out that there are also lapses in DepEd’s communication line with Tesda.
She said there are courses being implemented under Tesda specializations that need to be revised in coordination with the DepEd.
“We need to cope with all those changes as well in the coming school year. And that’s why that mechanism should be smooth,” Andaya noted.
She said that creating a mechanism where all three education authorities can “sit down together and talk about this” is among DepEd’s agenda under the watch of Vice President and concurrent Education Secretary Sara Duterte.
Gatchalian concurred with Andaya as he took note that there are also courses being offered in senior high school that were not being credited by Tesda.
“That’s why part of the recommendation that I will have is for Tesda and DepEd to work more closely together so that all courses can be certified. And Tesda will also be in tune or in line with the requirements of our communities,” he said.
Tesda director El Cid Castillo, however, argued that they already have area-based and demand-driven technical and vocational training.
This, according to Tesda’s glossary of terms, is a means of being “responsive to the critical needs defined by the industries and employers to produce rightfully skilled workers in specific areas or localities.”
Castillo then cited a 2019 memorandum of understanding signed between the DepEd and Tesda, which enjoins them to create a body that would hold regular consultations to harmonize policies, strategies, and programs, discuss and resolve concerns, and ensure the consistency and quality of training regulations and standards, among others.
Andaya affirmed such an agreement was sealed in 2019 but noted that the group had only so far met about once or twice.
“My point is we need to meet regularly,” she pressed.
In a bid to produce employable graduates, DepEd has vowed to revise the K to 12 curricula, which was found to be “congested,” according to the Basic Education Report 2023.
The K to 12 review is also among the issues being discussed by the Second Congressional Commission on Education, a national commission that seeks to conduct a thorough evaluation of the country’s education sector.