Ryan Bernido is an educator and writer. He has expertise in Education.
Since the enactment of Enhanced Basic Education Act (Republic Act 10533)or the K-12 Law, the Philippine education system has changed its landscape. The previously basic education system with just 10 years of schooling had been transformed to a system with 12 years, adding a compulsory two years of schoolingGrade 11 and 12. With the new grade levels, the basic education has now a new system called Senior High School where students can choose between four tracks: academic, technical-vocational, sports or the arts. Of these changes in the basic education system, the Department of Education (DepEd) remains committed to its mandate, to its vision and mission. The agency’s primary dream is to help Filipinos become patriotic possessing the values and competencies helping them grow and develop, and consequently support in the nation-building. The agency has planned to achieve this vision by protecting and promoting the right of every Filipino to quality, equitable, culture-based, and complete basic education.
Prior to K-12 policies, the government has already set to improve its system as evident in its previous 2005 Basic Education Reform Agenda with its five key thrusts:
(1) school-based management;
(2) the development of teacher education;
(3) national learning strategies;
(4) quality assurance and accountability; and
(5) changes to the administration of DepEd, using the latest technology to ensure more effective use of resources, whether staff or funds.
In 2015, the Philippine Government, in support with K-12 curriculum and Education for All Initiative, has set four specific key objectives, these are: (a) providing education options for all out-of-school adults and young people; (b) eliminating drop-outs and repetition during the first three years of school;(c) encouraging the completion of a full cycle of basic schooling to a satisfactory level at every grade by all Filipino children; (d) and committing to the attainment of basic education competencies for everyone (OBG, 2021). These educational aims and objectives of the country’s education agency speaks of its vision to keep thriving and improving in response to the changing society and increasing societal demands and needs.
The implementation of the K-12 curriculum helps accelerate the mutual recognition of Filipino graduates and professionals across the world (Dizon, Calbi,Cuyos, & Miranda, 2016). However, in the early implementation of the curriculum many challenges have been seen as evident in the studies conducted by many researchers.Among these challenges include the lack of preparation and professional development among teachers, excessive academic burden on students, and a challenge on integration of lessons in the real-life context (Ednave, et al., 2018). Redesigning the curriculum, deployment and training of teachers, sustainability of the program, and infrastructure have been recognized also among the disputes of the K-12 curriculum as cited by Dizon et al. With the increase of enrollees in the basic education due to the additional Grade 11 and 12 levels, Dizon et al. added that a physical facilities and educational resources were the greatest need for schools to implement the K-12 program effectively and efficiently; financial resources were a major problem. Along challenges on the deployment and training of teachers, Acosta (2016) posited that there are predisposing factors to ensure stability of the K-12 program and to encourage and protect the health of the faculty involved and other workers: qualifications, hiring requirements, streamlining of courses, management of surplus labor, and alternative programs to assess the readiness of senior high school teachers.
With the foregoing challenges of the early implementation of the K-12 curriculum, the government has taken actions to solve the problems mentioned in this paper. One of the best actions provided by the government is the DepEd’s Sulong EduKalidad program which have KITE as its four key reform areas: (1) K to 12 Curriculum review and update; (2) Improvement of learning environment (3) Teachers’ upskilling and reskilling; and (4) Engagement of stakeholders for support and collaboration. This program has covered mainly all the challenges and problems which had arisen in the first 3-years of implementation of K-12. K to 12 Curriculum review and update is a measure to keep improving the curriculum; improvement of learning environment is answer to the lack of facilities in many schools in the country; engagement of stakeholders for support and collaboration is DepEd’s way to make the program implementation smooth and easy; while teachers’ upskilling, and reskilling is a measure to provide support among teachers along their professional development become adept in their respective fields.
The basic education system of the Philippines has already adopted in the new and improved curriculum. However, in the late 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has startled the education sector. Face-to-face classes had to be suspended due to the risks brought by the pandemic. In this light, the DepEd has immediately designed and implemented the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan. Among the principles that guided the agency are the following (DepEd-LCP, 2019):
a. Protect the health, safety, and well-being of learners, teachers, and personnel, and prevent the further transmission of COVID-19,
b. Ensure learning continuity through K-12 curriculum adjustments, alignment of learning materials, deployment of multiple learning delivery modalities, provision of corresponding training for teachers and school leaders, and proper orientation of parents or guardians of learners,
c. Facilitate the safe return of teaching and non-teaching personnel and learners to workplaces and schools, taking into consideration the scenarios projected by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases in the Philippines (IATF), complemented by other credible sources, and balanced with DepEd’s own risk assessments,
d. Be sensitive to equity considerations and concerns, and endeavor to address them the best we can, and
e. Link and bridge the BE-LCP to DepEd’s pivot to quality and into the future of education, under the framework of Sulong EduKalidad and Futures Thinking in Education.
Guided by these principles, DepEd has set learning strategies and modalities.One of the strategies is the streamlining the curriculum into the Most Essential Learning Competencies (MELCs), competencies that a learner needs to continue to subsequent grades. These MELCs are aligned with national standards or frameworks, connect the content to higher concepts across content areas, applicable to real-life situations, are important for students to acquire, even if a student drops out from school, and cannot be expected to be ordinarily learned by students if not taught in school. These MELCs are also considered as the result of the curriculum review which the agency has directed prior pandemic. Further, with the aims to offer quality education and continues learning to learners, the agency has identified different learning modalities which include the distance learning (modular distance learning, online distance learning, TV/Radio-based Instruction), blended learning, and homeschooling. In addition, to successfully implement the Basic Education Continuity Plan, DepEd has never failed to prepare the teachers and school leaders for multiple learning delivery modalities. Teachers and school leaders were capacitated through various online trainings.
Despite the pandemic the education agency has become the trailblazer in continuing the education. The agency has remained on track on achieving its aims to every Filipino graduate of basic education, that is to equip every Filipino graduate with information, media, and technology skills, learning and innovation skills, effective communication skills, and life and career skills. These skills are helpful in making them ready to go into different tracks –education, employment, or entrepreneurship.
The educational aims and objectives of schools in the Philippines is always anchored on its current implemented curriculum. Aims and objectives of education have been evolving based on the needs of the changing society. Just like other countries, the Philippines has adopted K-12 curriculum to keep its graduates at par with other countries’ and be globally recognized and competitive. The vision and mission of the education agency always guide the institution in pursuing and achieving its goals and objectives.
The Philippine education curriculum has evolved many times until it becomes K-12 curriculum. However, despite these changes, the agency has remained committed to fulfilling its roles to the community by means of implementing intervention that would best respond to the arising challenges and needs. To improve the system, it is indeed necessary to develop the teacher education in the country. Hiring equipped,knowledgeable, skillful, and value-laden teachers is always better than hiring who are less. The management of school resources and assuring quality services, together with observing accountability among school administrators and leaders are also contributing factors in achieving the goals and objectives of schools. Use of technology is also best in upgrading and systematizing services to inside and outside clienteles. These are just few of the many actions that DepEd has taken to improve its services in the achievement of its educational objectives.
In the K-12 era, DepEd has never failed to continually offer a reliable service and support to its clienteles, among students, teachers, school leaders, and many other stakeholders. The implementation of KITE program is an innovative move to the success of the curriculum. This program with four key areas is responsive to the previously identified problems which arose in the early implementation of K-12 curriculum. It is undeniable that DepEd is doing its job right and relevant. However, it is also notably true that there are lapses in many things especially in the implementation of infrastructure and technology integration in the learning environment or schools. DepEd has seemingly not successful when it comes to improving the learning environment because of many observed failures in infrastructure and technological facilities. There are still schools which have congested classroom due to ballooning enrolment but lack facilities. There are also schools who have no power supply, and other ICT facilities due to lack of financial support from the agency. These problems must be solved because its impact would be greatest in the succeeding years. Not to mention, the onset of pandemic has really affected the basic education because of these problems. Many public schools resorted to modular distance learning because online distance learning is difficult to implement due to lack of facilities, e.g.,lack of internet connection.
Despite the issue on the new platforms of education due to pandemic, DepEd has made its optimum work to help teachers and school leaders implement and still offer quality education. Regular online trainings are provided to teachers which are beneficial to them. It is also commendable that the agency offered mental health support programs to teachers and staffs. Additionally, the collaboration of DepEd with Department of Health, and Inter-Agency Task Force to facilitate the safe return of teaching and non-teaching personnel and learners to workplaces and schools is beyond commendation. The implementation of the BE-LCP guided by the principles established by the education agency is a great step to attain its goals and objectives amidst COVID-19 pandemic.
The preceding review on the critical perspectives of the educational aims and objectives of our schools in the country today offers the most updated objectives, challenges, and responses of the education system to the current curriculum. It also discusses the situation of the Philippine education amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. After reflecting on the perspectives of educational aims and objectives of schools in the Philippines, the following are advanced:
1. Education curriculum must continue to adapt to the needs of the learners, society, and global demands. This means that a comprehensive and careful review of the curriculum must be regularly done by the education agency. The use MELCs must still be revisited, improvements can still be made.
2. It is necessary to recognize the challenges and problems that arise along the implementation of a curriculum. Recognizing these challenges means providing responsive solutions to the problems.
3. Support to teachers is beneficial in achieving the goals and objectives of the education sector. This means that DepEd regularly offer programs and services that would upskills and reskill them. Programs promoting mental health and physical health is also necessary especially in pandemic time.
4. Learning modalities regardless of situation must always be learner-centered and contextualized. The BE-LCP is a good response to the on-going pandemic.
5. Roles of all education stakeholders must be highlighted in planning the programs and intervention to better achieve the goals and objectives of education. Collaboration between agencies must done to offer best solutions to problems.
2020. Learning opportunities shall be available. Retrieved at https://www.deped.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/DepEd_LCP_July3.pdf
About DepEd. (2021). Retrieved at https://www.deped.gov.ph/about-deped/visionmission-core-values-and-mandate/
Acosta, I. (2016). Teachers’ Perceptions on Senior High School Readiness of Higher Education Institutions in the Philippines. Universal Journal of Educational Research,4(10):2435-2450
DepEd (2019). Sulong Edukalidad: DepEd’s battlecry moving forward. Retrieved at https://www.deped.gov.ph/2019/12/03/sulong-edukalidad-depeds-battlecry-movingforward/
Dizon, R., Calbi, J., Cuyos, J., & Miranda, M. (2019). Perspectives on the Implementation of K to 12 Program in the Philippines: A Research Review. International Journal of Innovation and Research in Educational Science, 6(6):757-765
Ednave, R. et al. (2018). Problems and challenges encountered in the implementation of the K to 12 Curriculum: A Synthesis. Retrieved at https://www.academia.edu/39704530/PROBLEMS_AND_CHALLENGES_ENCOUNTERED_IN_THE_IMPLEMENTATION_OF_
Oxford Business Group (2021). Education reform in the Philippines aims for better quality and more access. Retrieved https://oxfordbusinessgroup.com/overview/thorough-examination-substantial-reformhas-brought-it-variety-challenges
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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