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 firstname.lastname@example.org or Uy at email@example.com. Call DepEd at 6337203.
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.)
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.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call DepEd at 6337203.
E-mail the author at email@example.com.