24 Oras report: DepEd to phase in 12 years of basic education
The Department of Education (DepEd) will reveal a draft curriculum of the new 12-year basic education program referred to as "K+12" (kindergarten plus 12 years) on October 5, Teachers’ Day, report Inquirer.net and GMANews.tv. Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro said the program aims to teach students employable skills so they can get jobs even without a college diploma, and to conform with the global standard of having 12 years of basic education.
Two more years of school will be added to the current 10-year program dedicated to teaching students practical skills in agriculture, aquaculture, sports, arts and technical-vocational courses, according to Inquirer.net. News program 24 Oras reports that the additional two years would be comparable to a two-year course in a vocational or information technology school, but the tuition fee would be free in public schools. The report said it is not clear yet if the two years would be added to the elementary or high school level, or split between the two levels.
Inquirer.net reports Luistro said, "What we should be thinking about is not plus two but, really, minus two. What we want are high school graduates who are really prepared to be productive citizens, can be employed and really prepare for it." He added, "We must really have in mind the 84 percent (of the student population) who may not be able to finish college. It’s not a program meant for the elite who are capable of getting a college degree."
For the budget of K+12, the DepEd said they would ask for help from the Congress. 24 Oras reports that the Department of Budget and Management had said that education funds would be the focus of the next national budget. Luistro said the DepEd would consult with stakeholders starting October 5, according to Inquirer.net.
However, Milwida Guevara of non-government organization Synergeia that focuses on public school education quality said in a report by GMANews.tv, "Our immediate focus should be just improving basic education. The dropout rate is very, very high and the quality of education is very, very low." She said the additional two years "will address the problem of the lack of quality of students in (high schools and universities), but it (will) not address the problem in earlier years of schooling." She added that 30 percent of those who enroll in the first grade drop out before they reach the sixth grade, with a higher percent of students doing so in some areas of Mindanao.
Pres. Noynoy Aquino mentioned the concept of the 12-year program in his first State of the Nation Address.