overhaul K-12 - ACT
ACT Press Release
February 27, 2020
QUEZON CITY – As
the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture tackles today the
‘long overdue’ review of the K to 12 program, the Alliance of
Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines issued its urgent call for the
government to re-orient the Philippine education system towards a
‘nationalist, scientific, and mass-oriented education.’ The group
said that since their long time call for a thorough evaluation of K
to 12 has finally been granted, the government shall take bold
measures to correct the ‘problematic program,’ which will entail a
‘complete overhaul’ in the service of national interests.
“The key issue with the K
to 12 program lies in its core objective, which aims to produce
graduates who are immediately ready to work as semi-skilled and
cheap laborers here and abroad. The program exploits the majority of
impoverished Filipinos for the gain of foreign capital, foregoing
the objective of honing the country’s human resource to serve the
purpose of national industrialization and development,” criticized
ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio.
Basilio also hit the
curriculum’s removal and weakening of integral subjects for the
development of nationalism and core values among the youth. ACT
cited the removal of Philippine History in high school, the
shortening and simplistic presentation of Araling Panlipunan, the
faulty implementation of the mother tongue-based multilingual
education (MTB-MLE), and the conservative and individualistic
approach to Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao (EsP).
“These are clear
manifestations of the neoliberal and colonial character of K to 12.
It retards instead of advances the process of molding patriotic
youths whose aspirations are interlinked with that of the entire
nation and who shall later contribute to national development,”
Further exemplification of
the problematic program, said ACT, can be seen in the curriculum’s
emphasis on producing ‘outputs’ at the expense of the development of
higher-level literacy, critical thought, and scientific approach in
problem solving. The group cited that not only was time allocation
for each subject shortened but an even smaller portion is dedicated
to discussion, while the bigger share of time goes to activities
supposedly meant to exhibit students multiple forms of intelligence.
“K to 12 curriculum was
implemented alongside an array of policies for teachers, which
included a very strict budget of work in our congested daily lesson
logs. Little focus is given to the thorough digestion of lessons as
both students and teachers are pressured to produce multitude of
outputs on a daily basis. Such follows the neoliberal framework of
efficient production in which output is generated at record time for
maximum profit,” said Basilio.
Add to that the spiral
progression approach of the K to 12 curriculum, which ACT claimed
‘messed up and fragmented’ students’ education.
“In the old curriculum, an
entire school year is dedicated for the learning and mastery of
different subjects, which progresses into more complex and advanced
levels as students likewise proceed to higher levels of schooling.
The new curriculum, however, integrates a little of everything
without honing mastery, then immediately moves on to the next field,
all within a single school year. Students will then go through the
same cycle of subjects and fields but with more complex contents in
the following year,” lamented Basilio.
ACT notes that these
issues do not yet mention the haphazard implementation of K to 12
and the government’s failure to provide the budgetary, logistical,
and administrative requirements of the program, which led to a host
of other serious problems such as the worsened shortages in learning
resources, the perennial problem of insufficient classrooms, wanting
training for teachers, lacking education support personnel at the
school level, among others. All these created a substandard quality
of education, which is mostly made up for by overworked and
underpaid public school teachers, added ACT.
ACT also cited the results
of the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA),
the National Achievement Test (NAT), and the Philippine Informal
Reading Inventory (Phil-IRI) as proof of the further decline of
education quality under the K to 12 program.
“These are enough causes
for alarm to reorient and overhaul the program, not to mention the
grave injustice and dire consequences of the dismal state of
education to one whole generation of Filipino youth and to our
country. What we need is an education based on Philippine context
and one that responds to the requisites of national development.
Hence, we urge the government to maximize the ongoing review and
finally take the necessary measures to establish an education system
that follows its constitutional mandate of contributing to national
development, instilling patriotism and nationalism, and espousing
total human liberation,” concluded Basilio.