On 12-year basic education: Additional years, more problems

[The Kabataan (Youth) Partylist, led by Congressman Raymond Palatino, released the following 5 reasons to oppose DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro's backing of President Aquino's plan to increase the 10-year basic education cycle to 12.  The proposal is also endorsed by former DepEd Secretary Juan Miguel Luz. -- JP]

R. Palatino

The move to add one year in elementary and another year in high school will not answer the country’s declining quality of education, the growing number of out-of-school youth, nor will it lift the country’s employment rate.

Below are five reasons to counteract former Department of Education (DepEd) Sec. Juan Miguel Luz’ ‘delusions of grandeur’.

1. Additional two years would mean extra expense for parents of public school goers, a majority of which belong to impoverished sectors.

The new system would translate to added burden to parents who could barely send their children to school. For a poverty-stricken country such as ours, the proposal to add two years to basic education is a question of survival.

While public education is free, a student would still need an average of P20,000 per school year (Kabataan Partylist computation) to cover transportation costs, food, school supplies and other operational expenses whilst schooling. The government, on the other hand, in 2009 allotted a meager P2,502 a year, or P6.85 per student per day, for education. This figure has not improved since.

Moreover, based on the latest Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FEIS), Filipino families opt to spend more on food and other daily basic necessities over their children’s education needs. Most Filipino families, unfortunately, are forced to make a choice between sending their children to school and spending their meager income on food and other basic necessities in order to survive. Poverty and government neglect have made education a luxury to many of our Filipino families.

This would inevitably account for a higher dropout rate. Lower household spending on schooling, prompted by increasing prices of basic commodities, tuition and school fee hikes and stagnant wage levels have set the trend for a yearly increase in dropouts and out-of-school youth.

2. It is the government which would be ‘throwing money into the problem’.

The proposal itself is very ideal, if not whimsical, for a country whose public spending for education is one of the lowest in the world.

The education sector’s share has dwindled, from 3.3 percent in 2001, 2.19 percent in 2008 to 2.7 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2009. This pales in comparison to neighboring countries Malaysia (7.4 percent) and Thailand (4 percent). It is also lower than the four percent average for all countries that were included in the World Education Indicators in 2006. The minimum prescribed standard for education spending set by UNESCO is six (6) percent of a country’s GDP.

The Philippines is also lagging behind its Asian counterparts in public expenditure on education as a percentage of total public spending.

At all levels of education, the Philippines is only spending 17.2 percent compared to Thailand’s 40 percent and Malaysia’s 28 percent. Translating this into expenditures per student, Philippine education spending is still way below its Asian competitors.

The annual budget for education has also decreased steadily from 17.4 percent in 2001 to 15 percent in 2010. As a result, every school opening has been greeted with perennial back-to-school woes such as classroom and textbook shortages, lack of facilities and underpaid teachers.

In his State of the Nation Address, Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino announced his thrust of venturing into public-private partnerships in order to address the needs of the education sector. This, however, may yet be used as an excuse to further decrease and gradually totally pull out state subsidy for education.

Certainly, adding two more years to basic education will not resolve the declining quality of education in that it does not at all address the root cause of poor government spending and mis-prioritization. How then can the government afford to subsidize additional two years when subsidy for the present cycle has been found lacking? If privatization is the Aquino administration’s answer, could it still guarantee free access to basic education, especially to our less fortunate students?

3. It will not resolve the high rate of unemployment, especially among the youth.

Another rationale is that adding two years to basic education would increase chances of our youth for employment, even sans a college diploma.

The DepEd says that an additional two years in basic education is aimed at improving the technical-vocational skills of our youth through subjects such as arts, aquaculture and agriculture, among others. The new education cycle, it said, would let students graduate at the age of 18 and ensure that they land a job here or abroad, making students employable even without finishing college.

This is another fallacy, and hopefully not a deliberate ploy to create a wrong impression and false sense of hope among our youth.

The Philippines, which has a predominantly young population, also has the highest overall unemployment rates in East Asia and the Pacific Region. It also has the highest rates on unemployment among the youth, according to a 2003 study by the World Bank. Young Filipinos are twice as likely to be unemployed than those in older age groups. This condition was further worsened when the economic recession kicked in because of massive retrenchment and lay-offs.

Young workers are at a disadvantage given their lack of experience vis a vis the lack of job opportunities. Every year for the last decade, at least 300,000 new graduates are added to the labor force, and consequently, a majority of them figure in the increasing unemployment statistics.

In January 2008, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported that 50 percent of the unemployed 2.7 million belonged to age groups 15 to 24. Of these, 461, 000 or 35 percent were able to graduate from college, while an estimated 700,000 unemployed youth either finished high school or at least reached undergraduate college levels.

Needless to say, let us please not mislead our youth into believing that a 12-year basic education cycle would “assure” them of job opportunities. How can the government avow this when this year alone 400,000 new COLLEGE graduates fell into the “idle” labor force? To really address youth unemployment, there is a need to overhaul not the basic education cycle but the country’s economic and labor policies.

4. It is designed to reinforce cheap semi-skilled labor for foreign needs.

Over the years, the government has promoted migration and jobs abroad in the guise of providing jobs and “greener pastures” to our young labor force. Roughly 10.7 percent of the total Filipino labor migrant population now consists of young workers, most of them semi-skilled and unskilled workers who offer their services in exchange for cheap wages.

The economy’s lack of development resulting in job loss at home is due mainly to the government’s failure to address poverty and joblessness. Migration has invariably resulted in the brain drain of our young skilled workers and professionals. The departure, for instance, of our young nurses, teachers and doctors to work as caregivers, medical assistants and domestic helpers has caused the disruption of our very own economy. Time and again we whine of the deterioration of the quality of our education and health systems, but ironically, our very own economic policies are driving away the best of the best of our skilled workers and professionals.

The current proposal adopted by neoliberal pro-globalization die-hards aim to meet standards for “global competitiveness” and demands of the “international labor market for semiskilled labor.” Simply put, this measure intends to strengthen the colonial orientation of Philippine education, serve the cheap labor needs of foreign capital and businesses. Our education system must be a Filipno education and must serve the needs of our nation and people.

5. The genuine solution is for the promotion of an educational system that would truly address the needs of the Filipino youth and Philippine society in general.

Education is the foundation upon which we shall build our country. It serves as the means to bring about the desired change in society, to develop a generation of virtuous individuals and thus contribute to the development of good human beings. Our educational system will determine the kind of nation we will become in the future.

Unless the government reverses its present education policies and works for the establishment of an educational system that truly addresses and caters to the needs of the Filipino youth and Philippine society, the changes it would implement are not necessarily the changes we genuinely need.

Instead of adding years, the government must focus on measures aimed at increasing state spending on education to six (6) percent of the GDP, stopping unjust tuition and other fee increases in all levels, promoting a nationalist curriculum, upholding democratic rights of students, improving teachers’ welfare, and improve science, research and technology development.

It must also promote transparency and sanctions against corruption cases in education programs and review existing policies and institutions of education.

20 thoughts on “On 12-year basic education: Additional years, more problems

  1. what do you think sir would be the positive and negative effects of these additional 2 years on the students themselves..??

  2. While the reasons stated above are valid, I feel it is imperative that we should really add two more years in High School in order to have equal opportunities when applying for jobs abroad. After all, the Philippine government strongly supports the massive export of human resources. Let’s face it: what do we study during the first two years in college anyway? We study subjects that are continuation to what we have studied in High School,e.g. Math, Science, Communication Arts, so that leaves us only the last two years in college to study our major subjects, meaning our bachelor degree is embarrassingly merely two years! In Thailand alone, Filipinos with PhDs/EdDs are not allowed to sit as panel during a thesis/dissertation defense because their basic education is only 10 years and therefore, their PhDs/EdDs lack merit!
    What more in other countries especially the West?
    Yes, P-Noy should adapt the internationally recognized 12 year basic education.

  3. Kutuktin: I refer you to the article, “Length of School Cycle and the ‘Quality’ of Education“, in Philippine Education Research Journal which says: “The value of the 12-year cycle is ultimately a matter of weighing the large and certain costs against the uncertain gains in lengthening the education cycle… People in the farms and small barangays should be spared the burden of a system that will not benefit them. The government could help those interested in foreign studies and work placement by supporting an appropriate system of assessment, rather than tinker with the whole cycle length. This solution addresses the alleged problem in a more focused way and does not indiscriminately impose on every Filipino the costs of meeting the needs of a few.”

  4. joe padre is right, how about the family which is one of the population below poverty line? It doesn’t mean that most of you wanted the k+12 but think of the people who can’t allocate any money for another 2 years. You cannot also assure that this 2 years that has been added has a quality education, more books, more educated teachers, new classrooms. The question is, can the government can allocate a budget of the following, even in the public schools nowadays has one book for 8 students.

  5. one thing is certain. change is inevitable and unavoidable. the act of debating and bickering on whether we choose to accept it now or later is an act of avoiding it all together. there’s a reason for why leading countries consider the 10 year cycle obsolete. its because it is. they all did their debating and bickering too before they switched to the 12 year cycle. look where it brought them. the effects of this change for us could take 5 years, 8 years maybe even 10 years. it doesnt matter. whats important is the long run. what’s assured is that the future generations get the benefits of the sacrifice made by us, the generation now. sorry to say but its the past generation who were too selfish and cowardly to stand firm on tough decisions and endure it for the future generation. (and im not just talking about the education system on that one). we were that future generation. now look what happened to us. now is the time to make right what they have done wrong. lets end this cycle of cowardice and selfishness. stand firm.

    • Excuse me, but I am part of that “past generation”, and by most measurements, we — collectively — did, or are doing, just fine. I probably could attribute that to our generation being less “distracted”.

      If you’re still so convinced that the length of the school cycle is the reason for “your generation’s” perceived education problems, I suggest you read a bit more about the education problems facing those nations who have long adopted the 12-year basic education cycle, some of them as “progressive” or “developed” as the United States.

      In fact, I refer you to an empirical study, ‘Length of School Cycle and the “Quality” of Education‘, written by a former Deputy Minister of our own Department of Education and the current Executive Director of the Fund for Assistance to Private Education (FAPE) published in the Philippine Education Research Journal (http://www.perj.org/) last year. Based on a review of the relation between length of formal schooling and “quality” of education using TIMSS-published data and UNESCO information about the educational cycles of TIMSS-participating countries, the study concludes, “there is no basis to expect that lengthening the educational cycle, calendar-wise, will improve the quality of education.”

      If you wish to wade “deeper” into the K+12 basic education cycle debate, I invite you to check PERJ Blog which has quite a collection of the pros and cons thereto.

  6. I totally don’t agree to this. Additional year is not the solution, they have to improve the quality of their teachers. It will be an additional burden to all the parents, doesn’t matter if they are rich, middle class or poor. Specially the poor families. This is ridiculous! As a single parent like me, it’s hard to send your kid to a private school, long years of struggle & now will be more longer? Philippine Government, hey come on, wake up! Stop corruptions & think of a better way to improve your countrymen.

    • In addition to that, the students also will be bored if they will have to wait for another 2 years before they can go to college or find a job. Most students wanted to help their parents after they graduated. I have been a student before, i know the feeling. Whoever is the head of DECS, you better re-think of this matter. This is f***cking STUPIDITY!!!!!!

  7. Para sa akin ang dalawang taong pagaaral ay makatutulong sa ating bansa, sa lipunan at ekonomiya.
    Kung iyong titignan halos lahat ng mga maunlad ng Bansa ay ganito ang Pamamaraan ng edukasyon.. ngayon kung tayo ay sumunod sa State o Pagaya natin sa lhat ng bansa itoy nakakatulong sa isang indibidwal na pilipino upang umunlad.. bakit?..

    e2 bibigyan ko kau ng halimbawa kung ang isang pilipino ay nakapagtapos.. Oo nga nakapag tapos sya at itong Pilipinong nakapag-tapos na ito ay mangangarap ng maayos na buhay. kung maayos na buhay ang hangad ng pilipinong ito kailangan nya ng trabaho.. ngunit nasusoportahan ba ng pilipinas ang trabaho eh sa panahong ito isa sa problema ay trabaho.. so ang pilipinong ito ay hahanap ng trabaho sa ibang bansa pag itong taong itoy nasa ibang bansa na at may trabaho… kung ang tingin d2 sa ating bansa sya ay Engineer kung sa ibang bansa itoy technician lng bakit..? sapagkat kulng ang pagaaral at kaalaman nya dahil ang ginagamit na basihan ay ang kabuuang mundo eh tayo iilan lang tayong bansang ganito kababa ang kalidad ng edukasyon….

    kaya para sa akin mahlaga itong desisyon

    • Naniniwala ka ba na kailangan pa ng 2 taon para maging globally competitive ang mga Pilipino? Actually, tingin ko dito, hindi na kailangan ng 2 taon pa, pwede namang integrated yang Tech-Voc. noon pa man kung balikan natin ang sistema ng edukasyon sa panahon ni Marcos ay may workshop na tinatawag kung saan ang skills ang dinedevelop, mula nuon pabau-bago na ng curriculum from NESC,NSEC ni Cory, RBEC, BEC tapos naging SEC tapos UBD pa.. Di naman ang kurikulum ang talagang problema, ang tunay na problema? ANG MASS PROMOTION na kung saan “quantity” based ang pagpasa ng estuyante hindi QUALITY, at nagsimula ito sa panahon ni CORY.Simula nuon, humina na ang kalidad na nagtatapos na estudyante, hanggang sa walang sawang pabagu-bagong sistema. Pero kahit naman ngayon magagaling ang mga Pinoy na nangingibang bansa, malikhain at maparaan ang mga Pilipino, katunayan ang mahihina dito sa atin pagdating sa ibang bansa ay nangunguna, kulang lang tayo sa mga kagamitan di tulad ng mga mayayamang bansa. Maraming Pilipino ang kinukuha sa ibang bansa upang magtrabaho kesa sa mga ibang nasyon sapagkat tayo ay mas maaayos, bukod sa matiiisin. Dahil dito nanggigil ang ibang bansa sapagkat kahit di man natin sila nauungusan sa teknolohiya, nauungusan naman natin sila sa ating mga kakayanan sa paggawa. Marahil di lang sinuportahan ang mga Pilipinong siyentipiko at mga eksperto na bagkus dito lumikha para sa ating bansa ay nangingibang bansa na lang.Ang Singapore, Japan, Thailand at ibang bansa sa Asya ay dito pa nagsipag-aral lalo na sa UP at ang ilang opisyal na sundalo ng Thailand ay sa PMA nag-aral dahil maganda ang kalidad ng ating edukasyon, at ginamit nila ito sa kani-kanilang bansa. Pagkatapos ng ilang taon naungusan na nila tayo, ang tanong bakit?? Ano ang ginawa ng ating Mga nagdaang gobyerno?? Marahil dapat nating balikan ang kasaysayan ng ating lahi, subali’t napansin ko hindi lahat ay naisulat ng tama.. Nanggagalit ang mga historian natin sa mga ibang sulatin na kulang sa impormasyon at ang karamihan ay maniplado ng iilang sektor para paniwalaing tayo ngang mga Pilipno ay mahina. Parang inuulit lang sa kasalukuyang panahon ng tayo ay Pinapalabas na mga “Indiyo” ayon sa mga Kastila na walang katotohanan. KINONTROL nila tayo dahil sa GLOBALISASYON at pati ang ating edukasyon ay pinakikialaman na rin. Nawala na sa mga kabataan ang pagmamahal sa ating bansa, na “corrupt” ang kanilang pag iisip ng di magandang impluwensya ng kasalukuyang neo-kolonisasyon, kung iyong titingnan sa mga bansang maunlad sa Asya, higit nilang minamahal ang kanilang bansa. Marahil ang dapat rin nating buhayin ay ang NASYONALISMO at “PATRIOTISM”.
      Kung ekonomiya naman ang pag-uusapan, di ba kaya tayo ay naghihirap dahil sa mga kurap? Wala na bang alternatibong paraan ang ating Gobyerno para hindi gawing “SIrko” ang ating edukasyon?

  8. Actually, we can’t tell whether the addition of 2 years on the basic education would be beneficial or not until this is applied. Sometimes we need to take risks in order to know whether or not this is what we really need.

    • di naman siguro pwede e trial and error ang kinabukasan ng mga bat. paano ang mga batang di pa nga makatapos ng 4 years, mag dadagdag pa.

  9. pra sa akin mas pag tounan ng pansin ang mga probinsya dahil sila ang mas higit na nangangailangan. kahit nga mga graduate sa college walang makuhang trabaho ang highschool grad pa kaya.. mag isip nman kayo dep ed.. mag dagdag kayo ng mag guro sa mga lugar kung saan ma baba ang rate ng edukasyon. di sagot ang madaming taon. kailangan ng mga guro. dapat ang pamahalan ay mag bigay ng tulong sa mga teacher at sa ibang mga graduates to pursue masters degree so that they will be able to effectively educate the children. ang dapat sanay gastos para sa dagdag na pag-aaral ay e ukol nlang sa mas makabulohang bagay, tulad ng dagdag na silid aralan, libro, at dagdag sahod pra sa mga guro.. nakakahiya kayo dep ed…..?////////

  10. The 2-year additional to Basic Education Cycle is only applicable to those who could afford in sending their kids to school. An additional burden to the poor, on the other hand. For three years now, I have been bridging abroad-based friends who wish to send some poor high school students to a public school with a cash education assistance of Php5,000 per school year (money being deposited at the school mini bank where students could withdraw their money with the use of their passbook). The more I deal with poor kids, the more I acknowledge the problem they encounter in school.

    At the beginning of every school year, more than 10 thousands students are enrolled in public schools. By mid school year, more than half of the population would drop out. At first I couldn’t understand why as such happens when the government is already making education affordable to the poor. Later I found out the reasons behind the dropping out of students from school:

    1- very poor kids could no longer bear attending classes with empty stomachs
    2- no money to buy materials for their projects and public schools though are said to be “free” require their students to submit numerous projects.
    3- couldn’t pay the PTA contribution. And when I inquired about this fee, I was told that out of this PTA fund, the school gets money for the payment of the school security guard’s salary..
    4- lack of school paraphernalia and no textbook.
    5- no money to buy shirt and jogging pants which are required of them for PE activities and other materials needed for school activities.

    Thus, the K+12 Basic Education Cycle is not the solution in honing the students’ skills further. If the government wants the additional year to be the Year of English as what they claimed it to be. Probably they shouldn’t have those English movies and cartoon shows on TV be translated to Filipino.

    My sister was so surprised to hear her 3-year old daughter speak correct English when she allowed her to watch English cartoons on a cable. Now that she’s 4, the more surprised she was to find out that her little girl could read and comprehend story books well without her teaching her.

    More exposure to English films will make our students be at par with other students from neighboring countries or in other continents if promising jobs can only be found abroad. http://mlephil.wordpress.com/2010/08/26/on-12-year-basic-education-additional-years-more-problems/#comment-form-guest

  11. I agree to add 2 additional yrs. on the basic education for us students to be ready for college life and even we can’t graduate college we can still establish our own business.

  12. Students need an additional two years of schooling. The extra time would allow them to reinforce their lessons. Most of the students that I teach (second year highschool) cannot write a complete sentence. Their reading comprehension is way below where it should be and their grammar is functional at best. If these students wish to have a chance outside and even within The Philippines, they need more education. There will always be families who cannot afford to send their children to school, lessening the time that their children attend school only reinforces the cycle of poverty. Improved infrastructure, and increased funding of the school system would also help in improvement.

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