With the school year 2011- 2012 over, and the implementation of a new Philippine educational system K+12 (or K12 or K-6-4-2 or whatever it's really called) starting immediately after summer vacation for school year 2012 - 2013, I can't help but think about the impact of this system to the majority of Filipinos.

I've been hearing a lot about the advantages and disadvantages of this system and frankly, I was as surprised as everyone else when a few Months back during a school meeting it was announced that the new system would be implemented starting next school year.

I think from the looks on the faces of the teachers during the meeting that they too, are not that fully aware of the new system.  Only the school principal seems to know a lot about the system but of course she was talking behind a podium and reading a manual or something.  So I began to wonder if the schools in the Philippines are prepared for this change.  I'm sure the parents that I was with during the meeting are not too thrilled to hear about it.  Because for them, an additional two years in school is an additional two years of back-breaking labor especially if you are barely earning for your daily needs.  An additional two years in school means an additional two years of expenses for tuition, projects, field trips, uniforms, transportation and food.  Of course, for school administrators and owners who obviously favors this move it would mean an additional two years of income for their business.

I'm still very much undecided about this issue.  I am for the welfare of my kids, if the K+12 system will be able to ensure them a better future then I am up for it but if the Philippine educational system is just doing this to keep up with the neighboring countries and using my children as a guinea pig for something that they are not ready for and making us pay for their experiments, then I'll have to kick the ass of those who brought this idea to the table.

I recently made an informal survey over at some facebook blogger group pages to find out what they think about the K+12 system and have received some mixed reactions about it, here are their comments:

"I still believe in quality over quantity. :)" - Alvin

"I've got lots of posts about the K to 12 Program bro. We've been in this education rut for so long. It's time to take a bold change. Philippines is one of the few countries who has not taken the additional two years in their educational system because we have a very conservative system. If we do not do it now, when? And who will lead? I think the current DepEd Secretary is one of the few people who can take us to this course."  - Noria

"The government must update the teachings first!  Kahit na baguhin ang systema kung pangit naman ang turo at outdated. wala ring kwenta. - my opinion." - Eymard

"The K to 12 is a good way to enhance the education program. However, the government should do something first about the economic situation before they push through this educational system." - Robi

"It's good but not timely, with the present economy situation of our country, lalo lang dadami ang OSY.  Isa isahin muna nila mga public schools at ng makita nila kung gaano karami ang mga batang nagtitiis na nagsisiksikan na parang sardinas sa classroom, not yet to mention na meron nagka-klase sa mga entablado at ilalim ng puno.  Magdagdag muna sila ng matitinong classrooms, irepair ang mga nasira ng mga nagdaang bagyo dito sa malapit na elem. public school sa amin 3 shifts ang classes 6-10, 10-2, 2-6 ano pa matutunan sa ganun short span of time lang ng pag aaral?  Umupo din sila sa loob ng classroom whether private or public para malaman nila kung paano magturo ang mga teachers ngayon, hindi lahat ng guro ay guro na marunong magturo, iilan na lang ang mahuhusay sa metro manila pa lang yan, pano na yun nasa probinsya na ultimo sa grade one e hindi maipasok ang mga bata, pasok ng school, naka-tsinelas, iisa notebuk minsan wala pang lapis, ang mga textbooks kundi luma na at punit punit e kulang para ipahiram sa mga bata.  Maganda ang k12 kung iimplement sa tamang sitwasyon at panahon." - Joy

"Go lang.  Ithink tama lang yan.  May mga call center jobs na at least 2 years in college ang requirement.  Pag ginawa mo yung k12, kahit HS grad, ok na sa call center.  Di na need ng college level." - Pepi

"I dont agree to dis k12 coz another burden to the parents.nsa bata yon kung tlagang mag aaral sya." - Susan

"Nde me sang ayon lalo n s hirap ng buhay naun! :(" - Charmaine

"I think the K to 12 is not worth it kung same pa rin yong approach na gagawin.  Dadagdag mo lang ng pasakit ang mga magulang.  Just my thought." - Marco

"Not applicable to Philippines. countries w K-12 can support that system that's why it works (not for all of them though). besides, they are so rushing in changing it. i bet they are not prepared. it needs time to train/orient teachers-admin about the system. besides, we lack thousands of classrooms and teachers. our current system just needs to be fully sustained and we're fine. we are still competitive and can produce quality professionals." - Rowena

"Additional burden na naman on the part of our parents. Hirap na hirap na ngang mapatapos ang anak ngayon, dadagdagan pa ng taon ang paghihirap --- baon, pamasahe, projects etc." - Jerms

"Sa kin po hnd po ako pabor may iba pa kc alternative na pwedeng gwin bukod sa k-12 system. sna pina-igting na lng po nla ang training ng mga guro pra maka sabay sa pagbabago sa educational system, bigyan ng tamang pasahod ang mga guro pra hnd na mag-isip nang ibang pagkakakitaan bagkus pag- ibayuhin na lang nila ang kanilang pagtuturo. maglagay ng mga dagdag na classrooms pra maging condusive ung learning ng mga bata. marami pong paraan baka nalimitahan lng cla. isina-alang alang din sna nila na mahirap ang buhay ng mga taong ng-aaral sa public schools. nkaka lungkot lng na malaman na ung iba makatapos lang ng grade 6 ay sapat na . " - Dhez

Okay, so on my count it's still pretty much a 50/50 reaction about the issue.  I'd like to thank everyone who participated in this mini survey.

I also found some interesting articles about K+12 and I'd like to share one of them, this is like a comprehensive report about how and why implement the K+12 educational system in the Philippines.  I gather this from a local Deped independent site. 

How are we planning to implement the K+12 program? 

After considering various proposals and studies, the model that is currently being proposed by DepEd is the K-6-4-2 Model. This model involves Kindergarten, six years of elementary education, four years of junior high school (Grades 7 to 10) and two years of senior high school (Grades 11 to 12). The two years of senior high school intend to provide time for students to consolidate acquired academic skills and competencies.

Features of K 6-4-2 

(1) Kindergarten and 12 years of quality basic education is a right of every Filipino, therefore they must be and will be provided by government and will be free.
(2) Those who go through the 12 years cycle will get an elementary diploma (6 years), a junior high school diploma (4 years), and a senior high school diploma (2 years).
(3) A full 12 years of basic education will eventually be required for entry into tertiary level education (entering freshmen by SY 2018-2019 or seven years from now).

• An open and consultative process will be adopted in the development and implementation of K+12.
• Change is two-fold: (a) curriculum enhancement and (b) transition management.

What is the proposed implementation plan of DepEd?

Phases of Implementation
(1) Universal kindergarten will be offered starting SY 2011-2012.
(2) DepEd will begin unclogging the basic education curriculum in SY 2012-2013.
(3) The enhanced 12-year curriculum will be implemented starting with incoming Grade I students of SY 2012-2013.
(4) Incoming freshmen of SY 2012-2013 will be the first beneficiary of a free Senior High School education that will be made available by DepEd in public schools beginning SY 2016-2017. Electives to be offered in Senior HS (arts, music, tech-voch..etc)

In implementing the K-6-4-2 proposal, DepEd will take into account the issues and concerns of all stakeholders, including the high school graduates before 2016. The mechanics and other details of the transition plan will be threshed out with HEIs in coordination with CHED, TESDA and other critical stakeholders

What is Senior High School? 

• 2 years of in-depth specialization for students depending on the occupation/career track they wish to pursue
• Skills and competencies relevant to the job market
• The 2 years of senior HS intend to provide time for students to consolidate acquired academic skills and competencies.
• The curriculum will allow specializations in Science and Technology, Music and Arts, Agriculture and Fisheries, Sports, Business and Entrepreneurship.

How much will this cost?

• The immediate cost for the program will not be needed until 2016 when the first year of the two additional years is implemented.
• Meanwhile, we will continue to close the resource gaps in basic education – the President ordered DepEd to its close resource gaps in 2 years.

o At this time, we estimate the total funding requirement to procure all needed resources at P150 billion.
 This means 152,569 new classrooms
 Some 103,599 more teachers
 95.6 million more books
 13.2 million seats

What will the society gain from K+12 

• K+12 will facilitate an accelerated economic growth.
• K+12 will facilitate mutual recognition of Filipino graduates and professionals in other countries.
• A better educated society provides a sound foundation for long-term socio-economic development.
• Several studies have shown that the improvements in the quality of education will increase GDP growth by as much as 2%. Studies in the UK, India and US show that additional years of schooling also have positive overall impact on society.

Are private schools obliged to follow?

• While we enjoy the support of private school associations, we are still going to discuss with them the implementation of the program.

Why add two more years?

• Decongest and enhance the basic education curriculum
• Better quality education for all
• Philippines is the only remaining country in Asia with a 10-year basic education program
• K+12 is not new. The proposal to expand the basic education dates back to 1925.
• Studies in the Philippines have shown that an additional year of schooling increases earnings by 7.5%.
• Studies validate that improvements in the quality of education will increase GDP growth by 2% to 2.2%.
• Minus 2 instead of plus 2 for those families who cannot afford a college education but still wish to have their children find a good paying job. Right now, parents spend for at least 4 years of college to have an employable child. In our model, parents will not pay for 2 years of basic education that will give them an employable child. In effect, we are saving parents 2 years of expenses. The plan is not “Plus 2 years before graduation” but “Minus 2 years before work
• Inspire a shift in attitude that completion of high school education is more than just preparation for college but can be sufficient for a gainful employment or career.

What is K+12? 

• K+12 means Kindergarten and the 12 years of elementary and secondary education.
• Kindergarten refers to the 5-year old cohort that takes a standardized kinder curriculum.
• Elementary education refers to primary schooling that involves six or seven years of education
• Secondary education refers to high school.

“We need to add two years to our basic education. Those who can afford pay up to fourteen years of schooling before university. Thus, their children are getting into the best universities and the best jobs after graduation. I want at least 12 years for our public school children to give them an even chance at succeeding.” – President Benigno S. Aquino III

Where are we at now? 

• Insufficient mastery of basic competencies due to congested curriculum. 12 year curriculum is being delivered in 10 years.
• High school graduates are younger than 18 years old and lack basic competencies and maturity. They cannot legally enter into contracts and are not emotionally mature for entrepreneurship / employment.
• Other countries view the 10-year education cycle as insufficient.

K+12 Education Vision 

Graduates of Enhanced K+12 Basic Education Program will:
• Acquire mastery of basic competencies.
• Be more emotionally mature.
• Be socially aware, pro-active, involved in public and civic affairs.
• Be adequately prepared for the world of work or entrepreneurship or higher education.
• Be legally employable with potential for better earnings.
• Be globally competitive.
• Every graduate of the Enhanced K+12 Basic Education Program is an empowered individual who has learned, through a program that is rooted on sound educational principles and geared towards excellence, the foundations for learning throughout life, the competence to engage in work and be productive, the ability to coexist in fruitful harmony with local and global communities, the capability to engage in autonomous critical thinking, and the capacity to transform others and one’s self.