By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
To provide context to and articulate its context, features, and programs, the Department of Education (DepEd) issued policy guidelines on the K to 12 Basic Education Program.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones, in DepEd Order No. 21 series of 2019 issued to undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, bureau and service directors, regional directors, schools division superintendents, public and private elementary and secondary schools, announced the issuance of the “Policy Guideline of the K to 12 Basic Education Program.”
“The Policy provides a comprehensive explanation of the K to 12 Basic Education Program and its components across all key stages,” said Briones in the newly-issued DO. “It also provides a clear framework for the monitoring and evaluation of the program,” she added.
Briones said that the newly-issued policy “integrates many of the existing policies and guidelines on the K to 12.” She added that the Policy will also provide “a reference point for ongoing/or future review of any of its components” as may be directed by the DepEd Secretary.
Ultimately, Briones said that DepEd issued these policy guidelines “to unify the understanding of the K to 12 and to improve the implementation of each component, project, and activity under it.” In particularly, the newly-issued policy aims to “explain the K to 12 curriculum and the programs for each stage, describe the learner and his/her capabilities at each key stage and show the curriculum, instruction and assessment for each key stage”; to “establish the components required to ensure effective implementation of the curriculum”; as well as to “establish the framework to be used for monitoring and evaluation.”
Moreover, the policy also aims to “set the frameworks for the different dimensions of the K to 12 Curriculum” and to “guide the central, regional, and schools division offices, and schools, in effectively organizing and managing the implementation of the K to 12 Basic Education Program.”
Aside from guiding concerned DepEd offices and schools in effectively organizing and managing the implementation of the K to 12 basic education program, Briones said that the policy also aims to provide “concrete basis for developing programs, policies, and issuances” relative to the K to 12 implementation “at each governance level” of the department. “The policy also benefits other stakeholders, such as partners ad partner schools, NGOs, parents, and advocates, among others, by providing a comprehensive explanation of what the program is, so that they may contribute to its effective implementation and improvement,” DepEd noted.
The K to 12 Basic Education Program, DepEd said, is “considered to be one of the most significant educational reforms in the country” because it “introduces programs and projects that aim to expand and improve the delivery of basic education in the country.”
In particular, DepEd said that the K to 12 Program seeks to “provide the Filipino learners with the necessary skills and competence to prepare them to take on the challenges of the 21st century.” As a result, the implementation of the K to 12 Program is expected to “make the basic education system in the Philippines at par with international standards by ensuring that it is appropriate, responsive ad relevant to the learners.”
In January 2012, the Kindergarten Law (Republic Act No. 10151) was passed – making kindergarten education mandatory for all learners. In May 2013, the K to 12 Law (RA No. 10533) was also passed which added two years of Senior High School (SHS) “to broaden the goals of high school education for college preparation, vocational and technical career opportunities as well as creative arts, sports, and entrepreneurial employment.” In 2016, DepEd welcomed the first batch of SHS learners. Two years later, it welcomed the first batch of graduates SHS graduates which has “exceeded” DepEd’s expectations.”
Six years after the K to 12 law was passed, teachers’ groups – particularly the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines and the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) – continue to oppose the program’s implementation. For both groups, K to 12 only “worsens” shortage in basic education resources such as classrooms, teachers, learning materials, and other schools facilities which “continue to hound the public schools nationwide” especially during school opening.
TDC and ACT are asking the government to review the K to 12 Law and consider the government’s “capacity and political will” in further implementing this program.