LOUD WHISPERS| What you need to know more about K-12 program

THERE is indeed a need for everyone to know more about the implementation of K to 12 program of the government, other than knowing the meaning of K to 12. Why add more years in the elementary level? Where should parents enrol their children who just graduated from   Grade VI?

      Well, dear Readers, here are some questions often asked by many (parents, teachers, students, owners of schools, out-of-school youth, and others). These info, hopefully will clarify some issues and problems that may be encountered in the near future.

     Basically, the first question is: What is K to 12 Program. Ans: The K to 12 program covers Kindergarten and 12 years of basic education (6) years of primary education, (4) years of junior high school, and (2) years of senior high school. The reason is: It will provide sufficient time for mastery of concepts and skills, develop lifelong learners, and prepare graduates for tertiary education, middle-level skills development and entrepreneurship.

     Second question: What has been done to get ready for K to 12? Are we really ready for it? Government says it is ready for full implementation 2016-2017. It is now on the 5th year of implementation. The last mile is the SHS (senior high school). All 220 divisions of the DepEd have finished planning and have figures on enrolment a year in academe. These plans were reviewed by a separate team and finalized upon consultation with other stakeholders. (But, I would like to ask if this is absolutely true because according to some legislators, the government and the schools are not yet totally prepared.)

       According to DepEd’s record, there are now 1,456 private schools with permits to operate SHS and over a thousand more applications being processed.

     Third: Where will the additional two (2) years be added? Answer: The two years will be added after the four (4)-year HS program. This will be called Senior High School (SHS).

     Fourth: Where will SHS be implemented? Answer: Existing public schools may implement SHS. DepEd will be in partnership with CHED, TESDA, and private schools to use their facilities, especially for the transition years. In addition, new standalone SHS will be built.

     Fifth: How will DepEd recruit enough teachers enough teachers for SY 2016-2017 onwards?

With the continuous increase of the DepEd budget, more teachers are being hired to fill all necessary gaps in schools. To aid transition, hiring of l) graduates of Science, Mathematics, Statistics, Engineering, and other Specialists in subjects with shortage of qualified Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET) applicants, 2) graduates of Tech-Voc courses, 3) HEI faculty, and 4) Practitioners will be allowed.

     Sixth: What are the guidelines for hiring teachers for K to 12 Program? Graduates of Science, Mathematics, Statistics, and Engineering and other Specilists may be hired if they pass the LET within five (5) years after their date of hiring to remain as full-time teachers. However, they will no longer be required to pass the LET if they are willing to teach on part-time basis.

     Seventh: What are the guidelines in hiring tech-voc course graduates? Faculty of HEIs and practitioners? Graduates of Tech-Voc courses must have necessary certification issued by TESDA and they have to undergo training to be administered by DepEd or HEIs. Faculty of colleges and universities must be full-time professors and be holders of a relevant Bachelor’s degree. Faculty of TVIs and HEIs will be given priority in hiring for the transition period. The DepEd and Private Education institutions may also hire practitioners with expertise in the specialized learning areas offered by the K to 12 Program as part-time teachers.

     Eighth: How will K to 12 affect the College Curriculum? The College General Education Curriculum is being revised. It will have fewer units with the removal of unnecessary remediation as K to 12 graduates adhere to the College Readiness Standards. With K to 12 the college curriculum will comprise of a year’s worth of General Education subjects and at least two years of major subjects.

     Ninth: What will happen to the curriculum? What subjects will be added and removed? Answer: There is a continuum from Kindergarten to Grade 12, and to tech-voc and higher education. The current curriculum has been enhanced and has been given more focus to allow mastery of learning. In Grades 11 and 12, core subjects like Math, Science and Languages will be strengthened. Specializations in student’s areas of interest will also be offered.

     Tenth : What is the role of the teacher, the school management, and the educators or academe?

     They can help government in info drive and campaign. Education shapes our future as Filipinos; It is our duty to be aware of reforms in basic education that will move our country forward. Let us all help spread awareness. Tell your family, friends, and networks about the K to 12 Program and help them stay informed.

     (For me though, we can’t change the course anymore. The K to 12 Program has been signed into law. So,why don’t we give it a try? There’s no harm in trying, anyway? Who knows, we, our Filipino brothers and sisters, will become better citizens in the next challenging generations to come. (FVS)

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