Readers speak out on K to 12

Queena N. Lee-Chua

By Queena N. Lee-Chua
Philippine Daily Inquirer, April 8th, 2012

Allan Leynes says: “I read your article (‘Straight Talk on K to 12,’ March 19). Are private schools included in the implementation? My child is supposed to be a first year high school student this June. Will she be included in the six years of high school?”

Elvin Uy, the Department of Education’s (DepEd) coordinator for K to 12, says: “The transition plan for each private school is based on their resources and curriculum content. For your particular school (name withheld), there may be an additional one or two grade levels. (To get) a clearer answer, please ask (the school) administration to call DepEd. Your school needs to undergo a curriculum review before we can decide the best way for it to adapt to K to 12.”

I have received messages from parents and students, inquiring about how their schools will respond to K to 12. Some complain about the way their institutions are handling the transition and ask me to intervene.

For the record, I do not have the authority, the know-how, or the inclination to insert myself in what should be a private matter among parents, students, teachers and school administrators.

The most that I can do is to pass along these messages to DepEd. You may also e-mail DepEd directly at kto12.secretariat@gmail.com or Uy at elvin.uy@gmail.com. Call DepEd at 6337203.

Creative ways

Education Secretary Armin Luistro has said Grade 1 is reduced to half a day so as not to tire out Filipino schoolchildren who have to travel far to and from school (“Straight Talk on K to 12”). Scientist Angel de Dios, who is based in the United States, suggests creative ways of addressing the problem.

“In Paete, there are sitios situated in the mountains,” De Dios says. “Children from these villages spend a long time going down and up the mountain to reach the elementary schools in the poblacion. The people of Paete decided to build a school inside the sitio. This way, only the teachers need to make the daily travel to and from the school.” Go to http://paete.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=11037.

“In Layag-layag, children used to swim their way to and from the school,” De Dios says. “But now, boats have been donated to help these children reach their destination quickly and without getting wet.” (See “Student Heroes,” Nov. 28.)

Private seminars

Personnel of several private schools, who declined to be identified, say that since last year, they have been attending seminars and fora on K to 12, given by different groups. The sessions reportedly vary in quality and accuracy of content.

Moreover, people pay to attend the sessions.

“Our school is already stretching its resources for K to 12,” says a coordinator. “Because we don’t know what is happening, we had no choice but to attend the seminars, but I wish we did not have to pay for them. Not all private schools are rich.”

Luistro says sessions on K to 12 given by DepEd are free.

Uy says several private groups organize their own fora and invite DepEd officials as speakers or resource persons.
“Some are able to secure sponsorships to cover their costs, such as venue, food, handouts,” Uy says.

He cites the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines, which has received funding from the Fund for Assistance to Private Education and book publishers, though participants still have to pay a minimal fee.

He admits that DepEd does not have a policy on groups doing seminars. “Some don’t have our imprimatur, but we are still in the process of deciding what to do about them,” he says.

“We hope that the groups invite the right resource people,” he says. “For those fora … wherein the groups approach us, we try our best to give them experts.”

Uy says, “We are organizing to disseminate K to 12 information ourselves to our stakeholder schools. In this way, we can cut out the middleman.”

Training

Some public schools claim they have not received concrete details on how to do K to 12. Grade 7 starts this June, and they say they do not know how to start.

Uy admits that “in the past month, we have focused on private schools with Grade 7 in order to help them with the transition plan.”

But, basically, the problem is one of scale. There are several thousands more public schools than private ones, and “admittedly, K to 12 planning may not have reached some of them,” Uy says.

But he says division offices will be instructed to provide the information to the schools in their area.

From April 23 to 29, Grade 1 national trainers will be trained at the Development Academy of the Philippines.

Grade 7 trainers will be trained from April 17 to 29 at the Philippine Normal University, National Institute for Mathematics and Science Education at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Arellano University, Centro Escolar University, University of the East, Technological University of the Philippines, Philippine Science High School, University of Santo Tomas and Rizal Technological University.

Mass teacher training will be done the entire month of May for more than 130,000 Grades 1 and 7 teachers.

Uy says, after training, the teachers are expected to serve as point persons for their respective schools, apart from school heads who will also be trained.

For more information, e-mail DepEd at kto12.secretariat@gmail.com or call DepEd at 6337203.

E-mail the author at blessbook@yahoo.com.

4 thoughts on “Readers speak out on K to 12

  1. I would like to share the email that I sent to Queena from which some of my statements were quoted:

    I saw a response made by the DepEd secretary when asked why the
    K-12 plan has shorter hours for grade school while in other countries
    K-12 gradeschools are full day.

    First, he states that in other countries, students do not have
    to travel that far to get to their schools.

    In the US, if a student lives beyond one mile from the public
    school assigned, transportation by school bus is provided,
    otherwise, students here walk.

    Second, if this is the reason why school hours are shorter then
    it illustrates how badly policies are drawn by DepEd. There
    are much better solutions:

    (a) provide transportation
    (b) build school extensions
    (c) copy what the Bernidos do (instead of reducing every
    school day meet less frequently during the week). I think
    this is a more intelligent choice – one makes the efforts
    of the students in getting to school more worthwhile and
    with MT and ThF as full days and Wed as a holiday –
    students need to walk only 4 times a week….

    —————————————————————————-

    And the specific examples for (a) and (b) are:

    In Paete, there are sitios situated in the mountains.
    Children from these villages spend a long time going
    down and climbing up the mountain to reach the elementary
    schools in the poblacion. The people of Paete decided
    to build a school inside the sitio. This way, only the
    teachers need to make the daily travel to and from the
    school.

    http://paete.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=11037

    In Layag-Layag, children used to swim their way to
    and from the school. But now, boats have been donated
    to help these children reach their destination quicker
    and without getting wet.

    https://www.facebook.com/philippine.funds

  2. The problem with the current program of DepEd initiated by WVSU to be inserted in the K-12 program is that it was based on a study made by Dr. Aguilar way back in 1950s…during those times, the barrio life and city life is a world apart. Nowadays, Filipinos have become global. Wala na yatang bahay sa amin ngayon sa bukid na walang cellphone…may mga laptop pa nga iba kasi may broadband…we also have dream satellite TV here everywhere. We in the barrios desire a better life for our sons and daughters. Little of our children would want to remain here as farmers or carpenters. They want to work elsewhere but bring back their fortunes in our barrio. You’ll see that in most barrios, the improvements there are fruits of such success stories.We aspire greater things and we are not that idiots to be just given “mother tongue” for our education. We ALSO deserve more than this. Most of us study to become seamen, police officers, nurses, teachers, caregivers and call center agents…professions that can only be aspired by rural poor like us. And the education that must be given to us is something that could support these dreams of the barrio people.

    The problem with you “intellectuals” is that you always think as if you have the monopoly of human intelligence. You always assume things that are not there. This mother tongue language education had just been pilot-tested last year (SY 2011-2012) and with its results yet coming, the DepEd at the urging of some KSP universities will implement it hastily this 2012-2013. Many of our parents in the barrio complain at the low level of reading ability of their children because of this…English will still have to start in grade 4 as a formal subject. Imagine that? Kung mahurap nga magbasa ngayon eh lalo pa kaya na sa grade 4 pa magka subject ng English? We tell you: we need not to master our language in school. Mother tongue is an oral language and you leran that very well even on the street. Sana naman nag hire kayo ng linguists…ako kasi sa linguistics class ko i know how language acquisition takes place. mai yung assumption na mas madali mag English pag master na yung Mother Tongue or Filipino. Magkaiba pong linguistic family yun…they have to develop at the same time and language aquisition peaks at ages 2-7 years only. teach Englsih to Grade 4? hahah

    Apparently this MTBLE/K-12 is anchored on the following wild presumptions:

    1. Children who got to public schools belong to the poorest of the poor that desires no less but to be criminals like their fathers.

    2. Poor families have very low IQ so they are just right to be given educastion at their level. K-12 empasizes work education (EPP, TLE) unlike the previous BEC that focused in English, Science, math, Filipino.

    3. Poor Filipinos especially in the provinces dont need English. They cant afford college anyway. They’ll just land manual jobs anyway…become prostitutes anyway

    4. Rich or middle class families dont go to public schools anyway. it’s not for them.

    IS THIS DEMOCRACY? Armin Luistro (private school lobbyist)….
    Purita Bilbao (KSP)

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