The directive by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to have a thorough review of the K-12 program was a step in the right direction to put a semblance of order in the country’s education system.
The K-12 program was trumpeted by the associates of then president Benigno Aquino III, who signed the K-12 law, as his administration’s legacy in education.
Despite the plea of teachers, parents, and other stakeholders in the education sector to delay the implementation of the program that was deemed raw in guidelines and inadequate in funding, the education department under then secretary Bro. Armin Luistro pushed through with it.
Luistro called it the “biggest education reform” not done in past decades.
The K-12 program enabled the birth of junior and senior high school, increasing basic education from 10 to 13 years.
It turned out to be a dud. It proved to be just a waste of money, a waste of time for parents and students for the two years of delay in completing a four-year college course.
The curricula under the programs do not respond to the actual need of the students, especially those who come from poor families struggling to have their children finish college education in the hopes of uplifting their family’s quality of life.
Studies on the program were inadequate, resulting in underemployment.
Education officials pushing for the program bragged that after the two-year extension, senior-high graduates are deemed legitimate for employment and can perform their jobs effectively. There’s no such thing. Absolutely zilch.
If at all, the K-12 program is more effective on technical courses where students who passed junior and senior high can become either a graphic designer or small machine mechanic, two of the most sought-after labor nowadays.
In business courses, two more years of extra education should enable the graduate to be accepted as an accounting clerk or licensed realtor. But there were no such particular objectives.
With no less than Vice President Sarah Duterte leading the education department as its secretary, there should be more thorough assessments on the pros and cons of the K-12 program and more research should be done on the implementation of either new or returning programs, including the re-introduction of the Reserved Officers Training Course (ROTC).
It was scrapped during the administration of Cory Aquino because of various complaints of abuses and corruption by instructors and student officers.
The instructions in the old ROTC were no longer serving the very purpose of developing a responsible and honest officer and a gentleman ready to serve the country in times of war.
The K-12 must serve as a lesson that new programs in the education system should not be done in a hurry. In these times of uncertainty, ROTC is a must but it can wait.
Stop flirting with our country’s educational system. Let us not spoil our next generation.