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Friday, 16 December 2011 19:01

The K-12 Basic Education Program: Perspectives from the private schools sector

Written by  Ms. Evelyn Angeles
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Private schools across the country are coming to grips with the nuances of the Department of Education's K-12 Basic Education Program and its implementation this coming school year. While most schools have long been preparing for this, some are still in a quandary, especially on the initial steps of managing the transition in terms of curriculum, budget and other resources, teaching force, clientele, and other details.

However, unlike public schools, this sector of education does not seem to be totally immersed into this major change in the Philippine Education System. Nevertheless, private schools are expected to conform to the new program because, accredited or otherwise, they are guided by the DepEd curriculum. It is reassuring to know that the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), the largest organization of private schools in the country, expresses its support to the K-12 Program.

Some concerns have randomly emerged during orientation sessions and fora on the K-12 Basic Education Program conducted for CEAP members and other private schools associations. These are related to curriculum enhancement and transition management.

Curriculum enhancement/decongestion is the central focus of the change. The new curriculum is redesigned in line with the desired competencies and skills of a K-12 graduate and with the appropriate learning resources. Deficiencies are filled in and competencies are strengthened especially in the core areas – English, Mathematics, and Science. Unclogged, this uses research-based practices, quality textbooks, and other resources.

Transition management refers to the carefully sequenced implementation of the plan to ensure the smooth passage or movement from one facet of change to the other with the least or zero disruption.

For school administrators, particularly the principals:

K-12

Age

School A

School B

School C

K-12

Kinder

5 y/o

K/Prep

K1

K1

Grade 1

6 y/o

Grade 1

K2/Prep

K2/Prep

Grade 2

7 y/o

Grade 2

Grade 1

Grade 1

Grade 3

8 y/o

Grade 3

Grade 2

Grade 2

Grade 4

9 y/o

Grade 4

Grade 3

Grade 3

Grade 5

10 y/o

Grade 5

Grade 4

Grade 4

Grade 6

11 y/o

Grade 6

Grade 5

Grade 5

Grade 7

12 y/o

Year I

Grade 6

Grade 6

Grade 8

13 y/o

Year II

Year I

Grade 7

Grade 9

14 y/o

Year III

Year II

Year I

Grade 10

15 y/o

Year IV

Year III

Year II

Grade 11

16 y/o

-----

Year IV

Year III

Grade 12

17 y/o

-----

-----

Year IV

11 years

12 years

13 years

Most schools, sectarian or otherwise, have the 11-year basic education curriculum, some have the 12-year, and a few others have the 13-year. How would these schools cope with the two-fold change in the Basic Education Program of the Department of Education (DepEd)?

Observations/suggested practical solutions

On School A

> Has only one level for preschool that may be attached or unattached to the elementary level; has almost the same structure as the proposed sans the additional two levels which are equivalent to the senior high.

Question:  Would  it be safe for this type of school to follow in toto the plan and timeline of the DepEd in the implementation of the new program?

Answer: Yes. This type of school should actively take part in the steps that the DepEd is doing in terms of curriculum enhancement/decongestion and transition management. In addition to the new curriculum, budgetary concerns might take toll of the coffers of the school to address hiring and training of new teachers and the retraining of tenured teachers, provision of new classrooms and the necessary facilities, and the other requirements. To highlight the role of teachers, the school should produce highly qualified and adequately trained pool.

Like the other schools, this school should have the absolute freedom to enrich its curriculum, strengthening the core subjects in Grades 11 and 12; should continue to keep permanent records for the K level, and assessment of students’ talents and skills should be done early on at Grade 9 for their specializations in the Senior High.

On School B

> Has 12 years of basic education curriculum with two levels of preschool – one for five y/o and the other for six y/o, six levels of elementary or grade school, and four levels of secondary or high school.

Question: How would this school adjust its curriculum to conform to the K-12 age and level/grade requirements?

The comparative chart clearly shows that Grade 1 in K-12 (6 y/o) is equivalent to the K2/Prep of this type of private school; Grade 6 (11 y/o) is first year high school. Following the trend, the school should fill in or provide for one additional year for senior high.

Again, adjustments in accordance to the aspects of the two-fold change should be considered. Related work  might be a little less massive and less expensive compared to School A. In terms of curriculum content, the wisest move that this school could do is to observe or follow the DepEd’s implementation plan.

On School C

> Has practically 13 years of basic education curriculum inclusive of two levels of preschool, 7 years of elementary, and 4 years of secondary. In terms of quantity, not to mention quality especially those of accredited private schools, the basic education curriculum of School C suffices to meet the conditions of the new program.

However, adjustments should be made to align the grade levels with the appropriate age requirements. In other words, there is no void grade level to provide for, but relabeling of the different levels such that second preschool level becomes Grade 1, Grade 1 becomes Grade 2, and so on.

There is, however, a need to review, decongest, enrich, and realign curricular offerings in light of the new program. This type of school is also required to observe the senior high plan, as well as the intensive retraining of faculty as assignment of teaching loads become crucial, particularly those who will be assigned to the last two grade levels. While there is not much problem on classrooms and teaching force, there is much concern on the vocational-technology program requirements on facilities.

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