By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
Around 4,000 education leaders of the Department of Education (DepEd) convened on Tuesday to review and reassess the goals, as well as the challenges, in implementing the K to 12 Basic Education Program.
The Association of DepEd Directors (ADD) organized the three-day convention held from Sept. 24 to 26, anchored on the theme “Challenged Leaders: Embracing the Future, Braving the Changes.”
Education Secretary Leonor Briones, in a memorandum issued earlier, underscored the assembly’s aim to “provide the education leaders the opportunity to strengthen their capabilities in achieving the goals” of the K to 12 Basic Education Program.
Among the participants in the convention were DepEd directors, superintendents, chiefs of offices, and school heads.
Briones, in her message, also urged the education leaders to continuously keep pace with the changes in the department.
“It is imperative that you must always be ready to inspire and support our teaching and non-teaching personnel toward achieving our goal of producing holistically developed learners equipped with the 21st century skills and competencies,” she said.
The participants were likewise challenged to stay committed to achieving the goals of the education department.
“As we brave through the changes and embrace the future, your accountability, integrity, stewardship, servitude and trust would serve as our compass toward the attainment of our goal,” Briones explained.
For ADD President and Bureau of Curriculum Development (BCD) Director Jocelyn Andaya, this year’s convention – which is now on its 3rd – highlighted the “intricacies and demands” of organizational management and the educational leaders’ commitment to provide the best public service to the Filipino children and the nation. “The selected speakers in this year’s assembly are challenged leaders themselves who have shown considerable courage, derring-do, and ingenuity in navigating the leadership landscape,” she ended.
Considered as the biggest education reform to date, the K to 12 Program added additional years in the country’s basic education cycle – the mandatory Kindergarten and the two-year Senior High School (SHS) Program. It also paved the way for an enhanced curriculum across all basic education levels.
Implemented by DepEd, the K to 12 Program is mandated by law under Republic Act No. 10533, the “Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013.” In its early years of implementation, the K to 12 Program has been opposed by some sectors – including teachers groups.
Despite this, DepEd maintained that the implementation of the K to 12 Program has been seeing “numerous gains” for the basic education system. Amid continued opposition from various groups, DepEd maintained its stand that the K to 12 Program is a “prompt necessity” and pushing it back “might prove detrimental to the accelerating and increasing demands on education.”
DepEd also acknowledged that “challenges still abound” when it comes to the implementation of the K to 12 program. Thus, it continues to enjoin the support of the national and local government, stakeholders in the private sector and the community in the implementation of the program.