An Open Letter to former Deputy Minister of Education Abraham I. Felipe

Dear Abe,

I’ve been following the opening days of the new school year 2012-2013 through some YouTube videos and commentaries (compiled by Dr. Angel de Dios in his blog, Philippine Basic Education) and, boy, does DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro get an earful in spite of his claim that the related negative chatter is minimal… How have the more sensible segment of our society been left out in defusing some of the attendant issues? Congress saw it fit to pass legislation for kindergarten. Why would the same Congress act so slow to react to K+12 — whether it be to go along with it, OR to stop DepEd from arrogating unto itself the power of legislating something as big as K+12 which requires the power of Congress to legislate and appropriate the necessary funds therefor, OR for Congress to come up with an alternative to K+12 involving the more practical technological solutions to improving education — and therefore, our students, our graduates — which may be more palatable to the financially strapped masses.

I thought Sen. Ralph G. Recto’s bill (S.B. 2713) requiring 2 years of kindergarten and adding Grade 7 to the original 6-year elementary curriculum and retaining the original 4-year high school curriculum would be adequate for as long as mastery learning in all courses, including those at the tertiary level, is incorporated using the proven techniques utilized (demonstrated) by the Bernidos in their Ramon Magsaysay Foundation award-winning “Learning Physics as One Nation (LPON)” research. Like you and those in Singapore, I believe the years in a rigorous and properly run 2-year pre-school/kindergarten program could be the difference maker in steeping the young to become better thinkers/learners and problem solvers in subsequent years in school as well as in the real world. But whatever happened to the Recto Bill?

I happen to believe that DepEd’s insistence in adapting K+12, without congressional action and/or appropriations, diverting funds appropriated for specific programs to pay for teachers’ K+12 training and other related activities is unconstitutional. It appears the Aquino administration, without benefit of careful impact studies and results-oriented planning, is determined to rush us to a precipice of “educational reforms” with lots of money, wasted opportunities and pain and grief, which might take us years to get out of. Isn’t it just self-serving that those articulate enough to voice their support for K+12 are doing so to further their interest and their children’s interests so that the latter would fare better in foreign graduate schools or compete for foreign jobs? Those articulating for the status quo and who are for improving the educational system but who are not keen about lengthening the number of years their children have to stay in school because of financial reasons, those whose children — and they are in the majority — don’t have the wherewithal to even consider studying abroad or going out to compete in the global job market find their voices drowned out in the process. And we call this democracy in action?

In the meantime, I do wish you health and peace, Sir. Cheers!

Sincerely,

Joe Padre

2 thoughts on “An Open Letter to former Deputy Minister of Education Abraham I. Felipe

  1. Dear Joe:

    In the second phase of the K to 12 implementation, Grades 1 and 7 will be new – which means new materials are necessary to address mother tongue instruction as well as the spiral approach, and the new MAPEH subject. Do we know who is furnishing these new materials (I guess, textbooks, modules, activity sheets)? At this second phase, both teacher training and production and reproduction of materials for Grades 1 and 7 will account for the additional expenses of DepEd (in addition to the Kindergarten year – which requires classrooms and new teachers). Do we know who stand to gain additional business?

    -Angel

    • Your guess is as good as mine. Some weeks ago, I suggested to Dr. Ricardo Nolasco to invite/involve the regional writers experienced in writing in the regional languages to/in MTB-MLE training seminars especially in the preparation of learning materials in each regional language (say, those initially sanctioned by DepEd) since some of these regional writers have concerns that DepEd teachers so required to create learning materials do not know how to write in the regional language chosen as MOI in the respective communities where they’re supposed to use the local mother tongue.

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