The following is a March 11, 2011 press release by the Department of Education published in the Official Gazette of the Office of the President of the Philippine:
The Department of Education continues to pursue its key basic education programs, even as the groundwork for the eventual roll out of the enhanced curriculum under the K+12 Program is underway.
Education Secretary Armin A. Luistro said all the current programs being implemented by the department are now carefully studied for integration in the K+12 curriculum being drafted by experts from the DepEd, Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Technical Education and skills Development Authority (TESDA) and educators from public and private schools.
“What we want is a seamless transition from the current to the enhanced curriculum that is more responsive to learning needs of students and the community,” added Luistro. “This is why we are seriously considering the inclusion of all the best features of our current programs.”
K+12 is a major education reform program that extends basic education from 10 to 12 years to better prepare students for the world of work, higher education, and global employment. K+12 also calls for the unclogging of the curriculum and the inclusion of various career tracks that students can choose from, depending on their inclination.
K+12 starts with kindergarten, which becomes mandatory for all five-year olds in public schools starting June this year. This will be followed by six years of elementary school, four years of junior or regular high school, and two years of senior high school where students will be given various career/livelihood tracks for their mastery.
Following closely the intent of the Basic Education Reform Program (BESRA), another flagship program of DepEd, Luistro explained that one of the recommendations under BESRA is the expansion of the basic education curriculum from a 10- to a 12-year cycle.
“The same holds true under School-Based Management, which gives school heads greater elbow room to provide for the needs of their schools and be answerable for the educational outcomes,” Luistro pointed out. He added that SBM and BESRA will become even more relevant when K+12 is implemented.
Meanwhile, DepEd Undersecretary for Programs and Projects Yolanda Quijano stressed that the DepEd’s alternative delivery modes such as the Drop-out Rate Reduction Program (DORP) and Alternative Learning System (ALS) will also be pursued earnestly, as these programs target learners who have unique needs not provided by the formal school system.
“K+12 is inclusive, which means it will reach out to all kinds of learners regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, and social status which is in keeping also with the goals of United Nations—initiated Education For All,” Quijano said.
DepEd will also push for the strengthening of technical-vocational schools which currently number more than 250 nationwide. Tech-voc education is one of the tracks to be included during the 11th and 12th under K+12.
DepEd also believes that by putting equal emphasis on the skills and talents of students, the stigma of nondegree courses being inferior to a college diploma will be demolished.
“Magandang pagkakataon ang K+12 upang bigyan ng pantay na importansiya ang mga kumukuha ng tech-voc, music, arts, entreprenuership na dati-rati ay mababa ang pagtingin kumpara sa mga college graduates,” Quijano stressed.
Quijano also explained that multilingual education will be continued, saying that children learn better if the mother tongue or the langauge used at home is used from preschool up to the third grade. “Pati multilingual education may puwang sa K+12.”
Luistro, on the other hand, added that while DepEd fine-tunes the proposed curriculum, the department continues to address the resource gaps in basic education such as teacher shortage, classroom backlogs, quality textbooks, ICT equipment, and other learning supplement, among others.
“It’s a two-pronged approach to address what ails the country’s public school system,” Luistro said.