Enhanced K to 12: A Few Misgivings

After learning through the Senate of the Philippines website that Senate Bill No. 3286, otherwise known as the “ENHANCED BASIC EDUCATION ACT OF 2012″, was passed by both houses of Congress and that on April 4, 2013, enrolled copies of the consolidated version of SBN-3286 and HBN-6643, were sent to the House of Representatives for the signature of the Speaker and the Secretary General, I decided to watch the above video posted at the bottom of all the K to 12 guides published in the NCR website. As happens, I found some pronouncements by Dr. Marilyn D. Dimaano OIC, DepEd’s Bureau of Elementary Education, to wit: “We are introducing mother tongue as the medium of instruction in most of the subjects except English, of course, and Filipino, and we are having mother tongue as a subject…”  Now, now, where did Dr. Dimaano learn that? Didn’t she read DepEd Order No. 74, otherwise known as “INSTITUTIONALIZING MOTHER TONGUE-BASED MULTILINGUAL EDUCATION (MLE)” and its Enclosure 1 which directs those concerned re “The use of the learner’s First Language (L1) as the primary medium of instruction (MOI) from pre-school until, at least, grade three.  During such period, L1 shall be the main vehicle to teach understanding and mastery of all subject areas like Math, Science, Makabayan, and language subjects like Filipino and English.”  Assuming the kindergarten child is raised in a home where neither Filipino nor English was spoken, how in Lubuagan is the teacher going to teach the poor kid English or Filipino without using the child’s L1? Wasn’t that the reason we ditched the old bilingual system of using only English or Filipino as MOI (even levying fines in some instances on those students who spoke anything but English or Filipino in the classroom) because it definitely made life miserable for those starting without any English or Filipino background?

Also, in the voice-over portion of the video, I heard this: “The Philippine Department of Education believes that we must transform our basic education system so that it adequately responds to local needs while allowing our graduates to maximize opportunities beyond our shores. This is what K to 12 is all about.” I hate to go holier-than-thou in this instance being that I did try to maximize my opportunities in spite of my 1 to 10 (Grades 1-6 + 4-year high school) bootstraps by looking west — but definitely failed as I’m still poor as a church mouse, ha-ha. And I keep looking back through the rearview mirror, tsk-tsk.

Crab Mentality

Crab Mentality

That’s why I keep going back to this alleged “Korean’s essay” because it never fails to touch me. I have seen how true it is that Koreans love and support their fellow Koreans. When a new Korean arrives in the U.S., it would seem like the entire Korean community and established Korean businesses pitch in to help the new arrival. When that Korean student did something awful at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute on April 16, 2007, I tried to talk about the massacre with my Korean neighbors who live across the street. Even though I could see the grief in their eyes, they politely turned away from me without saying a word. I knew their silence was golden and that even if that Korean student did something reprehensible, my Korean neighbors would not openly condemn him because he was one of theirs. I guess the point I’m trying to drive here is that what education, such as K to 12, should be all about is that in addition to the lifelong learning it is expected to provide our young, it should make it a point to aggressively divest us of that well-known but nefarious Filipino “crab mentality” (that kind of selfish, short-sighted thinking which runs along the lines of “if I can’t have it, neither can you”), teach us to love one another, love our country, and ingrain in our minds and belief system a sense of pride in who we are and what we have — instead of worrying about producing “graduates who could maximize opportunities beyond our shores” or whetting up our incredible appetite for almost anything western over our very own. You probably came across this “Korean’s essay” before, but anyway, it bears repeating to soak in the message:

by Jaeyoun Kim

Filipinos always complain about the corruption in the Philippines. Do you really think the corruption is the problem of the Philippines? I do not think so. I strongly believe that the problem is the lack of love for the Philippines.

Let me first talk about my country, Korea. It might help you understand my point. After the Korean War, South Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world. Koreans had to start from scratch because entire country was destroyed after the Korean War, and we had no natural resources.

Koreans used to talk about the Philippines, for Filipinos were very rich in Asia . We envy Filipinos. Koreans really wanted to be well off like Filipinos. Many Koreans died of famine. My father & brother also died because of famine. Korean government was very corrupt and is still very corrupt beyond your imagination, but Korea was able to develop dramatically because Koreans really did their best for the common good with their heart burning with patriotism…
Koreans did not work just for themselves but also for their neighborhood and country. Education inspired young men with the spirit of patriotism.

40 years ago, President Park took over the government to reform Korea. He tried to borrow money from other countries, but it was not possible to get a loan and attract a foreign investment because the economic situation of South Korea was so bad. Korea had only three factories. So, President Park sent many mine workers and nurses to Germany so that they could send money to Korea to build a factory. They had to go through horrible experience.

In 1964, President Park visited Germany to borrow money. Hundred of Koreans in Germany came to the airport to welcome him and cried there as they saw the President Park. They asked to him, “President, when can we be well off?” That was the only question everyone asked to him. President Park cried with them and promised them that Korea would be well off if everyone works hard for Korea, and the President of Germany got the strong impression on them and lent money to Korea. So, President Park was able to build many factories in Korea. He always asked Koreans to love their country from their heart.

Many Korean scientists and engineers in the USA came back to Korea to help developing country because they wanted their country to be well off. Though they received very small salary, they did their best for Korea. They always hoped that their children would live in well off country.

My parents always brought me to the places where poor and physically handicapped people live. They wanted me to understand their life and help them. I also worked for Catholic Church when I was in the army. The only thing I learned from Catholic Church was that we have to love our neighborhood. And, I have loved my neighborhood.

Have you cried for the Philippines? I have cried for my country several times. I also cried for the Philippines because of so many poor people. I have been to the New Bilibid prison. What made me sad in the prison were the prisoners who do not have any love for their country. They go to mass and work for Church. They pray everyday. However, they do not love the Philippines. I talked to two prisoners at the maximum-security compound, and both of them said that they would leave the Philippines right after they are released from the prison. They said that they would start a new life in other countries and never come back to the Philippines.

Many Koreans have a great love for Korea so that we were able to share our wealth with our neighborhood. The owners of factory and company were distributed their profit to their employees fairly so that employees could buy what they needed and saved money for the future and their children.

When I was in Korea, I had a very strong faith and wanted to be a priest. However, when I came to the Philippines, I completely lost my faith. I was very confused when I saw many unbelievable situations in the Philippines. Street kids always make me sad, and I see them everyday. The Philippines is the only Catholic country in Asia, but there are too many poor people here. People go to church every Sunday to pray, but nothing has been changed.

My parents came to the Philippines last week and saw this situation. They told me that Korea was much poorer than the present Philippines when they were young. They are so sorry that there are so many beggars and street kids. When we went to Pagsanjan, I forced my parents to take a boat because it would fun. However, they were not happy after taking a boat. They said that they would not take the boat again because they were sympathized the boatmen, for the boatmen were very poor and had a small frame. Most of people just took a boat and enjoyed it. But, my parents did not enjoy it because of love for them.

My mother who has been working for Catholic Church since I was very young told me that if we just go to mass without changing ourselves, we are not Catholic indeed. Faith should come with action. She added that I have to love Filipinos and do good things for them because all of us are same and have received a great love from God. I want Filipinos to love their neighborhood and country as much as they love God so that the Philippines will be well off. I am sure that love is the keyword, which Filipinos should remember. We cannot change the sinful structure at once. It should start from person. Love must start in everybody, in a small scale and have to grow. A lot of things happen if we open up to love.

Let’s put away our prejudices and look at our worries with our new eyes. I discover that every person is worthy to be loved. Trust in love, because it makes changes possible. Love changes you and me. It changes people, contexts and relationships. It changes the world. Please love your neighborhood and country. Jesus Christ said that whatever we do to others we do to Him. In the Philippines, there is God for people who are abused and abandoned. There is God who is crying for love. If you have a child, teach them how to love the Philippines. Teach them why they have to love their neighborhood and country. You already know that God also will be very happy if you love others.

That’s all I really want to ask you Filipinos.

There’s another misgiving I have on SBN 3286-Enhanced Education Act (which  I believe should be eventually signed by Pres. Benigno Aquino III considering this is one of his pet legislations) — which I consider most egregious — but I’d like to dedicate the next post for it.

5 thoughts on “Enhanced K to 12: A Few Misgivings

  1. I hear ya! But I think there is too much resistance to the idea of using the L1 to teach L2 and L3. Plus, no one really knows how to do it. I think someone needs to come up with a guideline and curriculum for how to do it. Until that happens there isn’t much hope of that significant a change. I tried during the first year of training, but since I couldn’t clearly define a protocol there was no acceptance. Let them first figure out how to teach the other subjects in the L1. That in itself will be a challenge, in addition to attaining L1 literacy. Once they develop that a bit then consideration of teaching English through the L1 is more feasible.

  2. What about the concept of using L1 to “scaffold learning” when teaching English or Filipino to secure some level of understanding, especially by those who have exposure in only the L1 but limited or none in either English or Filipino? Item 7 of Enclosure 1 of DO 74 distinctly provides: “When the pupils are ready, Filipino and English shall be gradually used as MOI no earlier than grade three. However, L1 shall be effectively used to scaffold learning.”

    For them to be effective, teachers who teach English and/or Filipino in Kindergarten and even up to Grade 3 should know L1 in the first place.

  3. Pingback: Aquino Should NOT Let Enhanced Basic Education Act Repeal Rizal Law | Multilingual Philippines

  4. Thank you for another excellent post. Where else may just anyone get that kind of info in such an ideal manner of writing?
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