In the matter of proposed measures for basic education curriculum reforms

15 02 2012

Updated position paper of the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines for K+12 (please see previous post: https://scapnational.wordpress.com/2010/10/06/k-12-is-bold-yet-untimely-pnoy-should-address-education-sector%E2%80%99s-immediate-needs/)

Source: https://i1.wp.com/philippinefoundation.org/articles/student.jpg

February 15, 2012 — That the state of Philippine education is dismal is a statement of fact. Among others, shortages in classrooms, lack of adequate facilities, and overworked and underpaid teachers all paint a bitter picture which do not reflect our professed aspiration of providing quality and accessible education for the children of the nation.

The Department of Education [DepEd] has been exploring various methods to address problems plaguing the current system. In this instance, the current administration seeks to usher in reforms in the basic education sector through its Enhanced K+12 Basic Education Program, which adds kindergarten and an additional two (2) years of secondary education following a K-6-4-2 model. Alternatively, several measures have been filed in both houses of Congress seeking the same end of increasing the number of years of schooling in the primary and secondary levels, though differing in the models and schemes used.

The Student Council Alliance of the Philippines [SCAP] welcomes developments which seek to introduce reforms in the basic education curriculum, and see the same as positive steps towards addressing the troubles besetting our education system.

MORE YEARS DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN BETTER INSTRUCTION

While there are certainly merits to the proposals of the DepEd and our legislators, SCAP is of the belief that more years does not necessarily amount to better instruction. Noble as the cause of adding more years of school with the view of raising the Filipino student’s competitiveness and the standards of education may be, doing so in the absence of other reforms may prove detrimental.

Satisfying the fundamental requirements of offering an adequate basic education program seems to be the aspect of the education sector that warrants the most serious concern. The Alliance believes that it does not suffice that the number of years be extended, let alone expansion in the absence of satisfactorily meeting the basic challenge of adequately providing for education regardless of the model used.

Initiatives seeking to introduce changes in the curriculum and structure of primary and secondary education must go hand-in-hand with other reforms. In the absence of innovative ways of dealing with perennial problems such as, among others, classroom shortages, undermanned schools, decline in teaching competence, and dearth of facilities necessary for proper instruction, adding more years may only serve to exacerbate the Philippine education situation.

NEED FOR SAFETY-NETS

We also urge policy-makers to look into the effects of these proposed initiatives on the Filipino household, particularly the poorest of the poor. Adding additional years of school will inevitably burden families of limited means who will be saddled with the problem of having to support the education of their children longer. We fear that this may heighten the inaccessibility of basic education, and lead to more children being forced to drop-out due to material circumstances.

To meet this concern, SCAP believes that provisions for programs that would cushion the socio-economic impact of the proposed initiatives are indispensable. Adequate safety nets must be put in place to ensure that no family would be unjustly prejudiced by the implementation of these proposals. Elevating the standards of basic education must not come at the expense of further marginalizing the marginalized.

SUPPORT FOR MTMLE

Senate Bill No. 2713 introduced by Senator Recto contains a provision which mandates the use of the mother tongue or native language of the student as the medium for instruction from kindergarten to Grade 3. This is to be accomplished through the development of a Mother Tongue-based Multilingual Education (MTMLE) framework by the DepEd in collaboration with other institutions.

SCAP voices its support for the introduction of the MTMLE in our schools. The Philippines having over 170 languages and dialects, the rationale behind such a program in the basic education system is clearly seen. Basic instruction in the early primary levels administered using local dialects forming the foundation of a child’s linguistic capabilities has been proven to enhance children’s comprehension of elementary concepts. #

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One response

21 02 2012
Tony D. Igcalinos

Thank you SCAP for airing support on the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education. We have just concluded our successful 2nd Philippine Conference on MTBMLE in Iloilo from Feb. 16-18, 2012. We shall count on your support as we push for the institutionalization of MTBMLE beyond the DepEd’s DO#74. The pending MTBMLE HB 162 by Magi Gunigundo certainly needs our help. Incidentally, we also celebrate today, February 21, the International Mother Language Day. You may visit http://mlephil.wordpress.com/ and http://www.mlephilippines.org. for more information.

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