K to 12 and MTB-MLE: An Indispensable One-Stop Reference

Judging from comments or requests for information/clarification regarding the K to 12 and MTB-MLE programs — which reached a fever pitch the last few weeks as the new school year, 2012-2013, rolled in — there is quite a heap of confusion regarding the implementation of both programs. But rather than curse the darkness, let’s light some candles.

The apparent cause of the confusion among teachers and students alike appears to be that the appropriate info and implementation guidelines on both the K to 12 and MTB-MLE programs have not properly filtered down to those teachers out there in the field on whose shoulders rest the burden of implementing an ocean change in the basic education system.

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Planner’s Guide For The Introduction of African Languages and Cultures in the Education System


For it to be useful to as many countries as possible, the guide is based on a general conceptual design. However, since the concern is to show that the introduction of African languages and cultures in education is feasible in Africa today, the guide draws inspiration from concrete cases of the African reality and, more specifically, from success stories in the area under consideration. To that end, the guide is based on a set of assumptions.

  • A “fictitious” country: This guide does not explicitly mention any country. However, it refers to the experiment of a multilingual basic education continuum in a country of Francophone West Africa. This continuum comprises three elements: A nursery (3 years), en elementary school (5 years), post?primary education (4 years).
  • The use of African languages as media of instruction?learning is a decision obtained in the framework law on education and its implementing orders now need to be issued.
  • The use of African languages as a media of instruction – learning is a constituent of a more extensive programme, that of the global reform of the education system without which the use of national languages would not have a solid basis.
  • The model of bilingualism adopted in this guide is additive bilingualism. Contrary to the widespread practice consisting in using African languages during the first two or three years of schooling and abandoning them immediately after to switch to a foreign language, this guide suggests the coexistence of the national African language and French throughout primary school and during the early part of the post?primary cycle, in proportions that are well defined in the contribution of each medium to learning.
  • The experiment envisaged here covers a 10 year period: a primary education cycle of 6 years and 4 years of post-primary education which generally corresponds to the junior secondary level.
  • Another 10 year period is spent expanding the innovation with a view to its progressive generalization.

For the complete document, click on “Planner’s Guide For The Introduction of African Languages and Cultures in the Education System”.

World Data on Education Seventh edition 2010/11

For the folks, especially those interested in a more fact-filled dialog on the K+12 basic education cycle, the following world data on education may prove extremely useful. Please watch out for the next post showing how some of the participating countries from the list below performed in the TIMSS 2007 International Mathematics Report and the TIMSS 2007 International Science Report. [The latest TIMSS 2011 International Reports are “forthcoming” according to TIMMS 2011.]. It is interesting to note that Singapore [a country whose basic education cycle consists of pre-school/kindergarten, 6 years of elementary school plus a choice of 4 or 5  or 6 years of secondary school] was among the top 3 performers for both 4th graders (Grade 4 in the Philippines) and 8th graders (2nd year high school in the Philippines), outperforming some countries, including the United States. with a basic education cycle of K+12.

Here’s what we found out about Singapore’s educational system in an earlier post here:

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Little books for early readers

On May 17, 2011, Ms. Mailin Locsin (second from left in photo at left), Head of School of Beacon Academy in Biñan, Laguna, posted this comment:

Beacon Academy is a secondary school in Biñan, Laguna. As part of a community and service project, we initiated the creation of early readers by our students. These little books are written in Filipino and then translated into various Filipino languages. We have made them available online so that schools that need early literacy books can download them and print them. We also ask teachers to translate them into their various mother tongues. We will continue uploading titles and translations as they come in. Access the site at

Best way to get in is:

a. Go to Beacon Academy Mail –
b. Username – guest
c. Password – beaconacademy
d. Go to “SITES”

Many thanks.

[I recommend you use this link,, username=guest, password=beaconacademy.]

The material is intended for early readers, most probably those getting into kindergarten. (Let’s hope that Senate Bill No. 2700, which prescribes the child’s mother tongue as medium of instruction for pre-school/kindergarten, gets enacted soon.)

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Mastery in the MOI first before overloading on other foreign languages

Sec. Luistro

That DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro comes out swinging — as reported in the accompanying article — on the idea that public school teachers start training in foreign language teaching is a surprise — and a difficult one to understand — considering that majority of his own teachers have not even mastered the constitutionally mandated medium of instruction (MOI) used in school namely, English. Is this the reason why he is for K+12 which adds 1 year of kindergarten, 1 year of junior high school and 1 year of senior high school, or 3 more expensive years to the old 10-year basic education cycle so he can justify adding non-essential subjects to the basic curriculum? For sure, knowing some foreign languages gives one an advantage in the global stage, but in this day and age when there’s a glut of FREE, self-paced, and self-help language learning resources on the internet, why can’t we just leave those who have a need to learn other languages to so learn on their own? So many of our students won’t even have a chance to use the foreign languages they are taught, so why do we keep beating this path?  The draft, World Bank Education Strategy 2020″, released by the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) for comment (comment phase already closed), contains an appeal “to governments, donors, community leaders, and employers to focus more on education that prepares young people for the jobs market rather than on the time they spend in school. Unless you can convince me that majority of our students will be working in environments where their foreign language skills are required — like outside the country — then the push to train public school teachers in foreign language teaching is rather a misguided course of action in the scheme of priorities. — JP

Public school teachers start training in foreign language teaching

By Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) Updated April 28, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) has started the summer training of all its public school teachers teaching foreign languages under its Special Program in Foreign Language (SPFL) wherein it seeks to teach French, German, Spanish, Japanese, and Mandarin in select public high schools.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro said that the continuing education for the public high school teachers was part of their thrust to invest in their teachers, and consequently, the millions of public school children. Continue reading

On World Teachers Day, DepEd bares K+12 by 2012

[The complete text of the “DISCUSSION PAPER ON THE ENHANCED K+12 BASIC EDUCATION PROGRAM” (DepEd discussion paper) as announced by Deped Sec. Armin Luistro on 05 October 2010 is available at Philippine Education Research Journal.]

A. Luistro (second from left)On World Teachers' Day, October 5, Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro presented the 12-year "Enhanced Kindergarten-Grade 12 (K+12)" basic education program that the government hopes to implement by school year 2012 to 2013.

To implement the program, the Department of Education (DepEd) has to work with Congress to amend the existing law, Batas Pambansa 232 or the “Education Act of 1982,” which states that the basic formal education is a 10-year program.
To amend the law and peg the basic education program at 12 years, DepEd has to conduct consultations until the first quarter of next year.

“After consultation, the law can be passed by 2013, before the next elections,” Luistro said, adding that political will is needed to make this program possible.

“The crucial part is how to insulate this from partisan politics that the education system has been subjected to,” he said.”What is essential is that the plan is accepted widely and that we are able to implement it soon.”

“DepEd is taking bold steps to enhance the basic education curriculum. The K+12 model will provide quality 12-year education that every Filipino is entitled to,” Luistro said.

The K+12 model specifies one year of kindergarten and 12 years of basic education.

The new program adds two years to the current education model in the Philippines, the only Asian country still implementing a 10-year basic education program. Continue reading

Proposed 12-year basic education cycle