By CNN Philippines Staff
Published Jan 30, 2023 8:14:10 PM
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 30) — Changes to the K to12 program to make it more responsive to the times, more than half of school facilities needing repairs, private schools closing down, and the need for a more inclusive system.
These issues and more are facing learners and teachers, said Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte in her report on the basic education system on Monday.
Duterte said out of 327,851 school buildings, 189,324 need repairs, including over 89,000 needing major work. Of these structures, 21,727 are no longer safe.
With around 28.4 million enrolees for 2022-2023, there was a substantial decline in private school enrolment, resulting in some 1,600 private schools closing down.
Duterte also mentioned inclusivity issues where education is not available to learners from indigenous peoples in isolated and poor areas.
“We need to improve their participation rate in basic education,” she said.
K to 12, literacy
The vice president also mentioned flaws in the K to 12 program.
“The ongoing review of the K-12 curriculum has revealed that the curriculum content is congested, that some prerequisites of identified essential learning competencies are missing or misplaced, and that a significant number of learning competencies cater to high cognitive demands,” said Duterte.
She said the program is burdened by “weak” teaching methods that don’t address new realities in education.
Earlier, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the DepEd has until July to finalize its review of the K to 12.
Duterte said the education department is also looking at literacy issues, referring to a 2018 study that showed Filipino learners are having trouble with basic math, among others.
“But studies like these are opportunities for us to thoroughly examine our system and the defects that hurt our children’s abilities,” she said.
Full support for teachers
Meanwhile, Duterte noted the critical role of teachers, calling them the “lifeblood of the Department of Education.”
She said while teachers are dedicated, support for them is lacking.
“The sad reality is that the system has failed them,” she said, explaining that the education system burdens teachers with administrative tasks with not enough opportunities for professional growth.
To address these concerns, Duterte said the department is implementing the MATATAG Agenda, which will hopefully result in a “Bansang Makabata at Batang Makabansa [A child-centered country and a nationalistic child],” she said.
MATATAG, or sturdy in English, refers to DepEd’s targets, which are as follows:
– MAke the curriculum relevant to produce competent, job-ready, active, and responsible citizens;
– TAke steps to accelerate the delivery of basic education facilities and services;
– TAke good care of learners by promoting learner well-being, inclusive education, and a positive learning environment; and,
– Give support to teachers to teach better.