“We are still true to our promise to implement changes in the education system. Central to this strategy is our investment in our most important resource: the Filipino people. With the K to 12 program, we are confident that we could equip Juan de la Cruz to develop not only himself and his family but the whole country as well.” President Benigno S. Aquino III the Republic of the Philippines President, in his speech during the launching of the K to 12 Program. Hence the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, K to 12 Act or Republic Act 10533 was signed and approved on May 15, 2013, which aims to reconstruct and improve the quality of basic education in the Philippines.
It is a Republic Act which will overhaul the educational system of the country to bring it in line with the educational systems worldwide. It is set to provide Kindergarten and twelve (12) years of basic education, six (6) years of elementary education and six (6) years of secondary education. Secondary education is split into Junior High School for four (4) years and two (2) years of Senior High School, as seen below:
The Enhanced Basic Education Program or K to 12 Education System starts at Kindergarten Education as the mandatory entry point of children to education, it admits at least five (5) year old children. And its whole concept of learning is through play and games, which is the main objective of its curriculum. The main objective of Kindergarten Education is for socialization and adjustment period to formal education, and the language used for instruction is in Mother Tongue or First Language (L1). It refers to the language or languages first learned by the child, it is identified as the native language which he or she identifies with and used in their homes. It is set for the child to easily understand the concepts being taught in school.
Elementary Education refers to the second phase of the compulsory basic education program of the K to 12 Education System. It is composed of six (6) years of basic education and ideal entry age for it is six (6) year old children. In this phase, the first three grade years (Grade I to Grade III) of education are in Mother Tongue (native language in the locality). Meaning the medium of instruction, teaching materials and assessment of learning is in the language of the learners. So that it will promote for the ease of understanding the lessons and increase meaningful learning. And for the next three (3) years (Grade 4 to Grade 5) the gradual transition of Filipino and English as the medium of instruction is introduced. Secondary Education is the third phase of the compulsory basic education.
In total secondary education is for six (6) years, but it is split up into Junior High School which is for four (4) years and Senior High School for two (2) years. The entry age of the learners is ideally twelve (12) years old for Junior High School and sixteen (16) years old for Senior High. The medium of instruction is in Filipino and English, so that graduates of the curriculum will be nationally and globally competitive. The curriculum is highly anchored to the so called “Spiral Progression” for mastery learning. It is where subjects are taught from the simplest of concepts in the lower grades and gradually getting complicated in the upper grades. Like as early as in Elementary Education; pupils gain simple concepts in subject areas such as Biology, Geometry, Earth Science, Chemistry and Algebra. Then it is taught again in Secondary Education but in increasing difficulty.
This is to ensure that the students will have mastery of the knowledge and skills after each level. Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) are the agencies in charge in the development of the curriculum to be use in the different regions of the Philippines. Given that they will confirm with the basic principles which was laid out by the Philippine Government so that the curriculums that will be developed in the different regions will still be in lined with the goals of the law, and these are as follows: (a) The curriculum shall be learner-centered, inclusive and developmentally appropriate; (b) The curriculum shall be relevant, responsive and research-based; (c) The curriculum shall be culture-sensitive;
(d) The curriculum shall be contextualized and global;
(e) The curriculum shall use pedagogical approaches that are constructivist, inquiry-based, reflective, collaborative and integrative; (f) The curriculum shall adhere to the principles and framework of Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) which starts from where the learners are and from what they already knew proceeding from the known to the unknown; instructional materials and capable teachers to implement the MTB-MLE curriculum shall be available; (g) The curriculum shall use the spiral progression approach to ensure mastery of knowledge and skills after each level; and (h) The curriculum shall be flexible enough to enable and allow schools to localize, indigenize and enhance the same based on their respective educational and social contexts.
The production and development of locally produced teaching materials shall be encouraged and approval of these materials shall devolve to the regional and division education units. Different lurking concerns arise in the implementation of the K to 12 Curriculum Program in Grade One. As France Castro, Master Teacher in Mathematics and Second Nominee of ACT Teacher’s Party comment in an interview about the implementation status of the K to 12 Curriculum Program, “We have pointed out even before that the government should address the shortage first before they throw money into the implementation of the K to 12 Curriculum. It is like wasting money while nothing is being solved”. It is very evident that in the two years of the implementation of the curriculum still there are loopholes in its implementation.
The modules for Grade One and Grade Seven, which were implemented last year (2012 – 2013), are not yet complete. Also the teachers who attended the training only had the First Quarter Modules and Guides. This is also true to Grade One (1) Classes in all schools of Tacloban City Division. That there are not enough materials to use, and if there is it is insufficient to the extent that not all teachers have their own copies. What is very hard is that, the teachers are the once to carry the burden of reproducing the pupil’s modules to have their own copies of it. And some teachers have to improvise because there are no teaching guides and modules in Grade One. Also, one concern in the implementation is the confusion of the Mother Tongue as a subject. I’ve been able to talk to several teachers in Grade One, that they are having problems with the terms used in different subject areas.
Like “Hurawbisbis” for January, “Usa Ka’t Duha” for twelve (12), “Tagimpusuon” for violet, “Pilidong” for Oblong and many other terms that even the teachers are confused and unfamiliar. Also the pupils are confused that the medium of instruction used in teaching for all subjects is in Mother Tongue, aside from Filipino and English in the Third Quarter. And the hasty training of teachers with the curriculum is also one major concern, that a teacher can’t fully grasp the gist of the curriculum in just five (5) days of mass trainings of the different subjects. In addition to the different concerns is the acceptability of the new curriculum program to the different stakeholders of the school, namely the administrators, teachers, parents and pupils. It is vital that the curriculum will be fully assessed and appreciated in its two years of implementation. It will also provide on the field feedback to the concerns and observations meet in the implementation process.
Now, with the two years of its implementation with no implementation status update, this study seeks to determine the status of the curriculum implementation in Grade One (1) Classes in the different schools of Tacloban City Division. It will determine the extent of the curriculum implementation in Grade One (1) classes in the different schools of Tacloban City Division, the different additional needs in textbooks, classrooms, trainings and seminars, acceptability of the curriculum as viewed by Administrators, Grade One (1) Teachers with at least one (1) year experience with the curriculum, Parents and Pupils in Grade One (1) classes.