THE Department of Education (Deped) will revise the Kinder to Grade 12 (K to 12) curriculum in order to make it relevant in producing more “competent, job-ready, active and responsible” citizens.
During the presentation of the Basic Education Report 2023 on Monday, January 30, 2023, Vice President Sara Duterte, the concurrent DepEd secretary, bared the department’s “Matatag” education agenda.
It includes making the curriculum relevant to produce job-ready; active and responsible citizens; taking steps to accelerate the delivery of basic education services and provision of facilities; taking good care of learners by promoting learner well-being; inclusive education; and a positive learning environment and giving support for teachers to teach better.
Duterte said that in revising the K to 12 curriculum, the department will reduce the number of learning areas in Kindergarten to Grade 3 from seven to five and instead put focus on foundational skills; strengthen literacy and numeracy programs; revitalize reading, science and technology and math programs by utilizing the gains of previous programs; and improve English proficiency while recognizing linguistic diversity.
She said they will also review the implementation of the mother-tongue based multilingual education policy; intensify the values formation of learners in curriculum and teaching; embed the culture of peace; be transparent with curriculum guides and test scores; share test items with schools and teachers to strengthen the use of assessment; and engage with the Commission on Higher Education and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and various industry partners to address issue of skills mismatch in the Senior High School program.
“We will integrate peace competencies such as social awareness responsibility, care for the environment, value for diversity, self-esteem, positive character, resilience and human security to the various areas of the K to 12 curriculum,” said Duterte.
The Vice President appealed to the industry and employers to accept students in work immersions and hire them after they graduate.
Duterte said the K to 12 curriculum was found to be congested noting that some prerequisites of identified learning competencies are missing or misplaced in the curriculum and that the significant number of learning competencies cater to higher cognitive demands.
Duterte committed to closing gaps in school infrastructures noting the budget allocation for the construction of 6,000 classrooms, with policies to eliminate corruption.
She said the DepEd created a separate strand dedicated exclusively on matters of school infrastructures and facilities.
The Deped also aims the establishment of fully-functional library hubs, the provision of electricity in all public schools across the country and provide e-classroom packages for teaching and learning in which each consists of 46 laptops, two charging carts, two wireless routers and a smart TV to accelerate information, communication and technology in teaching and institutionalize the blended learning programs.
“We will optimize the use of technology both online and offline to ensure that learners have opportunities to learn even in the events of a pandemic or other emergencies,” said Duterte.
Duterte also vowed to digitize essential processes including the national assessments, strengthen the complementarity between public and private schools and launch the National Education Portal (NEP) to provide a dynamic platform for basic education stakeholders.
She said the NEP will substantially cut down the manual process, reduce transaction cost and eliminate errors due to human intervention.
Amid efforts to promote the well-being of learners, Duterte said the department will:
*Provide education to children and youth in situations of disadvantage;
*Strengthen the mechanism in safeguarding learners against all forms of discrimination and dangers;
*Seek out mental wellness experts to form interventions at the school level;
*Strengthen inclusive education programs including alternative learning system, last mile schools and programs for the indigenous people learners and learners with disabilities;
*Establish inclusive learning centers;
*Provide assessment assistive mechanisms to students with disabilities;
*Eradicate literacy through relevant policy issuances, and community literacy program interventions;
*Involve parents and guardians in education of children.
Duterte said Filipino learners are not academically proficient and oftentimes, experience emotional abuse and exhaustion, suffer from psychological fatigue and many of them failed to meet the standards of the demanding and competitive world because of being academically insecure.
She said these are caused and triggered by conditions present at home, in the communities, even in schools, as a result of problems engrained in the system.
“We will improve our learning environment to encourage support, discourage bullying, strengthen the implementation of child protection policies, make students feel safe, respected and belong,” said Duterte.
“We commit to seeking out mental wellness experts to form interventions at the school level. We will also ensure that all learners have access to relevant guidance and psycho-social services, managed and delivered by mental health professionals,” she added.
Duterte said they will work with the Department of Budget and Management to obtain higher salary grades for guidance counselors and propose the creation of additional items that will focus on providing learners support services including guidance related services in schools.
She said that for the teachers, the department will provide more professional development programs; support in terms of innovative, responsive and inclusive teaching approaches; capacitate them in utilizing technology in remote learning to maximize the benefits of digital learning; fast track implementation of career progression policy’ implement merit selection policy; make teacher and education council and secretariat fully functional; and advocate additional benefits for the.
Duterte also noted the importance of a policy on distribution of teacher workload and payment of teaching overload; expansion of coverage for the grant of special hardship allowance; address issues affecting the not-take-home pay of teachers; provision of free annual physical examination; and improved and superior benefits package for all Deped personnel.
She said the heavy workloads of teachers particularly on administrative matters affected the teaching methods in schools.
She said it was found during the review of the K to 12 curriculum that the teaching methods are weak especially in addressing 21st century skills of the learners. (SunStar Philippines)