Written by: Dennis M. Flores, Teacher III – Tanato Elementary School
To establish resilience in our education system in the country and to adapt with the challenges and trends brought by the globalization, everyone may agree that major reforms must be done by our national government and its implementing agency – the Department of Education (DepEd) to ensure the quality of education for the elementary and secondary education. In 2010, the Department of Education pronounced the addition of two more years in the previous 10 years of Basic Education Curriculum of the pupils (BEC) , making it the 12 years of the K-12 Basic Education Curriculum. The department firmly believes that the addition of two more years in the education system in the Secondary education – Grade 11 and 12 – will benefit not only the Filipino students but also the whole country as well.
The great challenge rests especially to those small schools, due to limited financial resources from the MOOE and LGU funds, therefore being wary of adequacy and the level of compliance of the school in implementing K-12 Program along (a) Physical Facilities, such as lack of needed instructional rooms and facilities like Science Laboratory, Computer Room, Industrial Arts Room, School Clinic and others. (b) Instructional Resources in the implementation of the K+12 Program, like the sufficiency of the needed teaching and learning materials like Curriculum Guides (CG’s), Teacher’s Manuals (TM’s) and Learner’s Materials (LM’s) (c) and resource management practices to be done by the school to ensure greater and successful implementation.
Our school also experienced conflicts in ensuring the teachers to be capable of learning and executing the teacher-learning strategies, techniques and other related tasks in the K-12.The teachers who are assigned to attend in the national training on the K-12 curriculum also experienced shortcomings on their needed Curriculum Guides (CG’s), Teacher’s Manuals (TM’s)and Learner’s Materials (LM’s) because for example when I was a Grade 3 Teacher, we did not receive sufficient number of Learning Materials for my pupils, resulting to manual printing of the needed lessons of my pupils every day of the week, with the help of the donation of bond paper and printer ink from the Grade 3 parents and very little funding from the school. Until this year 2021, there are still Learning Materials (LM’s) for Grade VI that are yet to be delivered in most schools in the country.
Due to this experience, in addition to the experiences and feedbacks from the other teachers and parents, we find that the learning competencies provided by the curriculum for every grade level were too difficult to be mastered by the pupils as these competencies were in a spiral progression. There are lessons wherein the primary grade levels are “culture-shocked” by the content and difficulty of the competencies which are some of them are formerly being taught in the intermediate levels.
The parents and teachers were also bothered and burdened by the required materials and resources needed by their pupils in the creation and submission of their assigned learning tasks (like portfolios, reading and testing materials). The pupils were also burdened by insufficient learning materials and equipment in performing their individual and group tasks like experiments, presentations, etc.
Moreover, this curriculum also resulted to sudden increase in the number of drop –outs and failure in most of the schools. It is because of the above reasons, wherein some pupils with difficulties, although subjected to intervention and remediation programs, were very much burdened in their lessons. It only alleviated their lack of study habits and learning discipline and management because there is no continuity of learning at their own homes.
The lukewarm acceptance and support of some parents in the programs and projects of the school to amplify our efforts to the implementation of K-12 curriculum is also evident.
The lack of parental supervision and support of the parents in their children because of their work is also one of the factors. There are instances that the parents are very much vocal on their frustration and disappointment in the sudden change in the curriculum, despite we as teachers are very much patient and resilient in understanding and balancing their demands, expectations and excuses.
As a teacher, I believe that the true intention of the K-12 BEC is for a better education system for our elementary and secondary students, but as we look back to the shortages, insufficiencies and unpreparedness of our government for a fully implemented K-12 curriculum, some of us cannot help but to think that our country was “hostaged” by this hastily, half-baked, and partially inapplicable education reform. The government and its agency (DepEd) must put themselves into consideration the situation of the common Filipino families that many of them are struggling enough just to send their children to school and follow the sudden big changes in their studying – the added years of expenses, time and effort – just to finish their studies and hoping for the opportunity that these K-12 curriculum that they endured will bring them success and fortune to uplift their families from poverty.
The government must provide sufficient, continuous and sustainable efforts to address the issues and concerns of the schools throughout the country like shortages of classrooms, teachers, school facilities, learning materials of the pupils and necessary compensation to the teachers before we can say that the government is successful enough in its herculean ambition to make our country a “K-12 World Class Educated Country”.
And last, I firmly believe that is needed for us to change the mindset of the Filipino people in how they are going to accept this shift in education system, by instead of negativity, we as teachers must move forward and be role examples of dedication, perseverance, enthusiasm and commitment in ensuring the learning of their children, so that one day, all of our parents in the school community will embrace this K-12 curriculum with open mind and open heart.