Jeryl Shawn Tan H4-E One of the issues that the Philippine government is still trying to solve until today is the issue on education. Based on what is happening right now in the Philippines, the educational system has not reach to its fullest. In fact, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization or UNESCO, the Philippines is the only country in the world that still follows a 10-year basic education cycle. And so, last October 2010, President Noynoy Aquino proposed the Kindergarten plus 12 or the K+12 program to catch up with the rest of the world having a 12-year basic education cycle.
However with all the issues on education the country still has, I express disapproval with President Aquino’s plan of strengthening the Philippine education system through the Kindergarten plus 12 or K+12 program. Frankly, President Aquino has good reasons on proposing this program as the additional years can help as a preparation for the next chapter of a student’s life: college. In fact, it is also a good way to strengthen the educational system in the country. However, the cons are more than the pros. The program is not yet the immediate solution to the current problem the country has on education.
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And so I stand firm that there are still other issues on education that the Aquino regime needs to take into consideration. The government has planned to allocate a budget of 207. 3 billion pesos from the original 300 billion pesos budget for 2011. But according to the Philippine Business for Education or PBEd, if the government wants to push through with the plan, the government still needs around 65 billion pesos a year for the additional classrooms and teachers needed for the plan. In fact, the government still needs more funds for the proposed plan to push through.
In relation to that, for the past weeks, a lot of students rallied near the Department of Education to condemn on this K+12 plan. According to the students, they condemn the plan of the government because it is a waste of time and money, and what the government needs to do is for them to increase the budget on education and not on the number of school years. Surely, the students have a point there. For some Filipinos, they compare Aquino’s first year run in the government to Marcos’s government in the 1970’s.
Ferdinand Marcos, together with his wife, thought first on less important issues, the arts and tourism to be specific, and so the more important issues of the society at that time were jeopardized. Right now, President Aquino is concentrating on a solution that is not the real solution to the current problem the country is facing on education. But as the students mentioned as they rallied, the government did not take into consideration the major problems of education, which includes the lack of classrooms, lack of school materials and equipment and lack of teachers.
In short, the quality of education in the Philippines is more like a junk. According to the Department of Education secretary Mona Valisno, out of 24 million Filipino students coming to school this year, around 20 million Filipino students are in public students, which means 14 percent of the students are studying in private schools. And as I notice the different public schools in Manila, there is surely a problem in the lack of classrooms and the quality of these classrooms: hot, dirty and crowded.
Speaking of crowded, given the data of the total number of Filipino students studying in public schools, the classrooms are cans of sardines as the public school students are having a hard time with the crowdedness of the classrooms. At the same time, because of the lack of funds for education, there are a lot of students who do not have the necessary materials for their school needs. They do not have pencils, books, pad papers and other materials needed. Imagine a situation where the public school students, who are lacking school materials, are suffering inside a classroom with 60 students and a teacher compacted together.
Is this necessary for the Aquino government to implement a program given the obvious problems seen today? Another problem on education is the lack of teachers. Last year during my Filipino period, my class watched a documentary concerning the education in the Philippines today. And one of the highlights of the documentary is the lack of teachers. The teachers are considered to be the second parents of the students, but what will happen if the second parents will leave the classrooms?
According to the documentary, because of the lack of funds on education, less salary is given to each teacher working. Because of this, the teachers have lost their zest in teaching, and so, they decided to stop teaching. Another threat that some people have in mind if the implementation of this program will happen is if this will improve on the grades of the students. Recent results of the National Achievement Test or NAT have indicated that the scores of most of the students are disappointing.
With a 64 percent failing average for elementary school students and a 46 percent failing average for high school students, is it right for the government to implement this program without improving on the intelligence of the students first? 54,060 teachers, 4,538 principals, 6,473 head teachers, 61,343 classrooms, 816,291 seats and 113,051 water and sanitation facilities. These are all the numbers that the Alliance of Concerned Teachers or ACT gave six months ago on the expected number of shortages for the incoming school year 2010-2011.
Given the massive quantities, is it the right time for today’s government to implement a program without solving the more important and immediate problems on education? As our national hero Jose Rizal once said, “The children are the hopes of the society. ” But how will they be the hopes of the society if they are not wise enough to help country due to the lack of necessities needed for their education? The reason why I disapprove with the implementation of this program is with the possible perils it will give to the young Filipino citizens on their education.
And to be frank, it is still happening in the society until now. Possibly, the challenge that the young Filipino citizens are offering to Aquino’s government is the challenge of thinking and analyzing the whole situation of the Philippine education today to make immediate solutions to the major problems on education. And we will find out if Aquino’s government fulfilled the challenge. SOURCES: Tubeza,P. (2010, June 16). DepEd chief wants ‘zero backlog’ for 2011 budget. Retrieved December 15, 2010 from http://newsinfo. inquirer. et/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20100616-275826/DepEd-chief-wants-zero-backlog-for-2011-budget Porcalla,D. (2010, August 10). 2011 budget: No new positions, no new vehicles, infrastructures. Retrieved December 15, 2010 from http://www. philstar. com/Article. aspx? articleid=601319 Quismundo,T. (2010, October 5). DepEd to announce K+12 program Tuesday. Retrieved December 14, 2010 from http://newsinfo. inquirer. net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20101005-295996/DepEd-to-announce-K12-program-Tuesday Sison,M. (2010, April 25). Scrounging Funds to Finance Public Schools in the Philippines.
Retrieved December 15, 2010 from http://www. unesco. org/education/efa/know_sharing/grassroots_stories/philippines. shtml Domingo,R. (2010, September 9). Education budget hiked to P175B. Retrieved December 14, 2010 from http://newsinfo. inquirer. net/breakingnews/nation/view/20100901-290015/Education-budget-hiked-to-P175B QTV: Students rally at DepEd vs proposed K-12 education system [Video]. (2010, September 8). Retrieved December 14, 2010 from http://www. gmanews. tv/largevideo/latest/66982/qtv-students-rally-at-deped-vs-proposed-k-12-education-system