Starting School Year 2012-2013, the Department of Education (DepEd) will implement the enhanced K to 12 (Kindergarten to Grade 12) Basic Education Program, adding two more years to the existing 10-year basic education curriculum. (Last school year, the mandatory kindergarten education was put in place through a law that requires all five-year-olds to enrol and finish kindergarten education before going to Grade 1.) The new program seeks to cure what ails the Philippine basic and secondary education system. However, not everyone agrees that the additional years would result in better-educated, competitive, and employable graduates.
The K to 12 program is starting this year against a backdrop of perennial woes: lack of teachers, shortage in classrooms, school buildings, and textbooks, a curriculum that needs overhauling, and a budget that even education officials call a “survival budget.”
Inadequacies of the basic education curriculum have been observed for many years. Proposals to restore Grade 7 or add an extra year to basic education have been put forward to the President Task Force on Education in 2008.
But even as Congress has yet to pass a law, the government is pushing forward K to 12. The public can simply put their faith on the government providing the necessary budgetary support to address the various infrastructural, instructional, and institutional reforms needed to make K to 12 work.