Saturday, June 30, 2012

Moving up from K to 12

“Moving up from K to 12”
Sun.Star Davao, June 30, 2012

My nephew Andrew graduated from Grade 6 last March 2012 but this school year, instead of proceeding to first year high school, he is in Grade 7.

From Grades 7-10 (formerly known as 1st to 4th year high school), Andrew will be in Junior High School. His last additional 2 years, Grades 11-12, will be called Senior High School.

On the other hand, my youngest Chelsea who started Nursery early at the age of 3.4 years old suddenly had the ‘right’ age when she entered Grade 1 this school year at 6 years old. Previously, most Grade 1 students were 7 years old.

Andrew and Chelsea are among the first batch of students to be part of the Department of Education’s K to 12 Basic Education Program which was implemented this school year.

Like most parents, I was one of those who wondered about how the DepEd will implement the K to 12. I am very thankful that during the parents’ orientation of my children’s school, the administration enlightened us about the program.

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding K to 12 (Source: Department of Education):

K to 12 Concerns

1.   When will the K to 12 program be implemented?
·    “Universal Kindergarten” started in SY 2011-2012.
·    The new curriculum for Grade 1 and Grade 7 (High School Year 1) will be implemented in SY 2012-2013 and will progress in the succeeding school years.
·    Grade 11 (HS Year 5) will be introduced in SY 2016-2017, Grade 12 (HS Year 6) in SY 2017-2018.

2.   Where will the additional two years be added?
·    The two years will be added AFTER the current four-year high school program. This will be called Senior High School.

3. Is Kindergarten a pre-requisite for entering Grade 1?
·  Yes. Republic Act No. 10157, the Kindergarten Education Act, institutionalizes Kindergarten as part of the basic education system and is compulsory for admission to Grade 1.

4. Why are we implementing 12 years of basic education and not 11 years?
·   A 12-year program is found to be the adequate period for learning substantial basic education and is a requirement for recognition of professionals abroad (i.e., Bologna and Washington Accords).
·    Other countries like Singapore have 11 years of compulsory education but have 12 to 14 years of pre-university education depending on the track that students would take.

5. Why is the K to 12 program better than the current program?
·    K to 12 offers a more balanced approach to learning that will enable children to acquire and master lifelong learning skills (as against a congested curriculum) for the 21st century.
·   The current program crams a 12-year curriculum into 10 years making it difficult for a student to master the competencies.
·    It will help in freeing parents of the burden of having to spend for college just to make their children employable.
·   A student who completes K to 12 will be equipped with skills, competencies and recognized certificates, equivalent for a two-year college degree.

6. How will the K to 12 program help students intending to pursue higher education?
·    The K to 12 basic education curriculum will be in accordance with the college readiness standards from the Commission on Higher Education Department (CHED) which set the skills and competencies needed of K to 12 graduates who wish to pursue higher education.
·    CHED will download its general education subjects to Grades 1 to 12 ensuring mastery of core competencies for K to 12 graduates. This may lead to a reduction in the number of years of college courses resulting to a decrease in educational expenses of households.

7. How about the additional cost to parents?
·    As a result of the K to 12 program, CHED is exploring the possibility of decreasing the number of years of certain courses in college.
·    K to 12 graduates will have higher earning potential since they will be more competent and skilled.

Transition Management and Private Schools

8. Will Senior High Schools be implemented in existing high schools or will new schools be built?
·    Existing schools will be used for the additional 2-year program. DepEd is in discussion with CHED, TESDA and private schools to use their existing facilities during the transition period and beyond. Arrangements also include using their teachers for Senior High School.

9. Is K to 12 required in private schools? Will the same implementation timeline apply to private schools?
·    Since private schools follow the DepEd curriculum, they will also implement the 12-year basic education program but the implementation plan will differ.


10.What will happen to the curriculum?
·    There will be continuum from Kindergarten to Grade 12 (HS Year 6), and to technical and higher education.
·     The current curriculum will be decongested to allow mastery of learning.
·     In Grades 11 and 12, core subjects like Math, Science and English will be strengthened. Specializations in students’ area of interest will also be offered.

11. What specializations will be offered in Senior High School?
·   The specializations to be offered include academics, middle-level skills development, sports and arts, and entrepreneurship. In general, specializations will either be college preparatory, immediate work or career readiness, or a combination of both.
·   Specializations will also be guided by local needs and conditions. For example, schools serving farming or fishing communities will offer agriculture- or fishery-related specializations. Schools located in manufacturing zones will have technical courses relevant to the sector, and so will schools in the vicinity of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. Science high schools will continue to provide higher degrees of science competencies, as well as the arts.
12. What would be the assurance that K to 12 graduates will be employed?
· DepEd has entered into an agreement with business organizations and local and foreign chambers of commerce and industries that graduates of K to 12 will be considered for employment.
· There will be a matching of competency requirements and standards so that 12-year basic education graduates will have the necessary skills needed by the labor market.
· The curriculum will enable students to acquire Certificates of Competency (COCs) and National Certifications (NCs). This will be in accordance to TESDA training regulations. This will allow graduates to have middle-level skills and will offer them better opportunities to be gainfully employed or become entrepreneurs.

For more information about K to 12, check out
Photos courtesy of Google Images.

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