It’s high time the Department of Education headed by Vice President Sarah Duterte gave priority to reviewing and eventually reforming the K-12 program.
Filipino students face a serious gap in learning as a result of the world’s longest community lockdown that put them out of physical classrooms for nearly two years.
What has been trumpeted as a savior for poor families which cannot afford to complete four years of college education turned out to be a failure—inadequately and poorly programmed.
Waste of money and time for parents and students for the two years of delay. Adding woes was the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in two more years of stunted education.
The Philippines, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the World Bank, had the longest pandemic-induced school closures among the 122 countries covered, breaking the 70-week mark since the pandemic began in 2020.
Prolonged school closures, the Word Bank added, would aggravate the learning gap and result in decreased productivity and earnings by the time the students join the workforce.
And then there’s the inutile K-12 program that only added woes to parents scrambling for resources to sustain their children’s education.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has issued a directive to have a thorough review of the K-12 program.
The late president Benigno Aquino III signed the K-12 law as his administration’s legacy in education, despite pleas from teachers, parents, and other stakeholders to delay its implementation.
What now with K-12?
Like-minded educators are proposing that K-12 be optional, especially for industries that can accommodate short-course holders.
Examples are Electrical and mechanical courses whose two-year course graduates from K-12 program could progress to the engineering profession if they pursue college degrees.
But as it is, graduates from the technical program can already be employed as electricians or small engine technicians.
In the hotel and restaurant industry, short courses like housekeeping or bar-tending could progress to full HRM courses if they need to.
Education officials just need to open their minds and look at best practices in the global stage to provide the best option in refining the K-12 program and make it useful to the next generation.