By Lani O. Gargueña
PSDS-Southwest Butuan District

For years, Filipinos expressed mixed reaction to the K to 12 Program. Parents, teachers, students, stakeholders, and even research studies had explored both the merits and demerits of the issue. In view of these, the government implemented the program in 2016.

The first batch of high school students under the K to 12 Curriculum graduated in March 2018. However, these graduates had not really undergone the full-swing implementation of the new curriculum, because they completed their first ten years under the old curriculum. Still, they would go to college or enter the labor force better prepared – as envisioned by the new curriculum. Strictly speaking, the first batch to undergo the full-swing implementation were the Kindergarten learners enrolled in 2016, expected to graduate in 2028.

At present, the Department of Education (DepEd) is still on the process of deciding whether to use the National Career Assessment Examination (NCAE) as a tool to gauge students’ basic knowledge and preferences as to which course to take after high school – college or technical occupation.

DepEd Undersecretary Tonisito Umali says that DepEd now looks deeply into Tech-Voc ties with private firms to benefit 1.5 million 12th graders who prefer occupations in the fields of construction, automotive, computers, health care services, food production, among others. As expected, Senior High School implementers immerse their Grades 11 and 12 students in factories, bakeries, and other business establishments where prospective employers tap their competencies for possible employment. This set-up, it is believed, may solve the job mismatch.

In view of this, Education Secretary Leonor M. Briones affirmed that the K to 12 Program would benefit Filipino learners in particular and the country in general.

Admittedly, the K to 12 is still a work in progress. For it to succeed, local communities must get involved. The private sector must strengthen its partnership with DepEd schools in terms of sharing their expertise and resources. All must support the Program because it will empower the Filipino youth with knowledge and skills to live meaningful lives.

We Filipinos must spend time, effort, resources, and energy to make this Program succeed, because when it does, it will raise Philippine education to world-class level.