August 5, 2010
Broadsheet SY 2010-2011
President Benigno Aquino, III or PNoy for many of us has recently approved the proposed ‘K+12’ program that proposes to make kindergarten compulsory for Filipino students and add two more years to the basic education curriculum.
PNoy’s government plans to implement the new basic education curriculum incrementally starting in the year 2012.
By 2016, they aim to have to program fully implemented.
The program is planned to have one year of kindergarten as a compulsory preparatory year for Filipino students before they enter grade 1. Under the proposal elementary level will still have its original six-year program. The high school level will instead have six years. Four years containing regular subjects and an additional two ‘intermediate years’ will be included.
These intermediate years, according to the proposal, will contain basic skills trainings in vocational courses like food technology, plumbing, automotive mechanic, welding, etc.
They claim that this proposed innovation to the program will give the students “employable skills” that will make them competent enough to be readily employed right after graduating in high school. Students under the K-12 basic education program will be at the employable age of 18 by the time they graduate high school. This, the proponents claim, will help the students to land jobs faster and solve our education crisis.
This proposal is very untimely and unfortunate for majority of us Filipinos. In these times where getting by a day in school is always a struggle for Filipino, how will parents find enough money to finance two additional years of basic education?
Many Filipino kids find it hard to finish the current ten-year basic education program. Many drop out before they even reach fourth year high school due to, among a plethora of reasons, lack of financial capability to stay in school. They choose working at the early age because for them studying is just a waste of time, money and effort for the poor. They prefer finding money right now to help their families put food on their plates.
In SY 2009-2010, 41.95% of students enrolled in public high schools failed to complete their schooling while 54.40% of high-school-aged youth are out-of-school. It is not hard to imagine how the dropout rate will increase once the proposed K+12 program will be implemented.
PNoy and his cohorts seem to believe that the K-12 is the solution for our chronic education crisis specifically the graduates-jobs mismatch. They claim that K+12 will ensure that the kids will have the necessary skills to be employed right out of high school. However, this is not a certainty. Today, companies prefer to hire college graduates even to the most menial of jobs. How can you be sure that they will prefer a high school graduate?