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Instituting Reforms in Philippine Education

MANILA, Philippines — The winds of change are blowing in the Philippine Education Sector. A new curriculum for school year 2012-2013 will be unveiled, with high expectations that it will lead to sweeping reforms in the country’s basic education program. The new curricula for Grade 1 and first year students will start in June 2012 as part of the Enhanced Kindergarten to 12th Grade (K-to-12) Basic Education Program, the flagship program of the Aquino Administration to institute reforms in the educational system that will bring more relevant education to Filipino students.

The phased implementation of the K-to-12 program started in school year 2011-2012 with the offering of the Universal Kindergarten Program, requiring all children to finish kindergarten first before they get accepted to Grade 1. Full implementation of the program – with the additional two years of senior high school – is expected by school year 2016-2017.

Under the K-to-12 program, the current 10-year basic education program of six years of elementary and four years of high school will be extended to 12 years – six years of elementary, four years of junior high school (Grade 7 to 10), and two years of senior high school (Grade 11 to 12). The shift to 12 years of basic education curriculum is expected to improve students’ competencies in English, Math and Science and prepare them for college. Students may choose a specialization – arts, sports, agriculture, technical-vocational courses – in the additional two years.

A feature of the new curriculum is the institutionalization of mother tongue-based teaching, in which students from Grades 1 to 3 will be taught in their native language. The Department of Education is developing learning materials in the country’s major regional languages so as to make it more interesting for students.

The success of the K-to-12 new curriculum will depend to a great extent on the support given to it by various sectors of education. Private institutions, the academe, lawmakers, parents, and students are urged to give the program their full support. MABUHAY!

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