The architects of the K to 12 system fought tooth and nail, sweat and blood, to get it done. What they have accomplished turned out to be the biggest and most difficult change adopted for and by the Philippine educational system. However, that may be an understatement – because the fancied change goes beyond the system itself as it impacts the global scene, gradually reshaping Filipino culture itself towards an unpredictable yet exciting future.

Obviously, the visionaries of the K to 12 system had in mind the global competitiveness of its graduates as more doors are being opened for Filipinos to work and/or study abroad. Although some say this merely perpetuates the “brain-drain” phenomenon brought about by the proverbial Filipino Diaspora, there is no denying that the Filipino workforce has propelled the growth of various economic enterprises around the world.

For example, as of March 2016, the National Health Service (NHS) of the U.K employs 13,797 Filipino nurses, midwives, and other staffs.   They comprised the third biggest block by nationality, next only to the British and the Indians. Take them away and Britain’s health services would be compromised. Of the 1.5 million mariners worldwide, more than 25% are Filipinos.   Without them, world trade would slow down. Should every single Filipino engineer and skilled laborer abandon the Arab deserts, gasoline would not flow, and the world’s cars would rust in garages. And, bringing back our doctors, caregivers, artists, construction workers, and all the OFWs, and world economy would collapse. That may be an exaggeration, but that is not far from the truth.

Ironically, some of us have not really appreciated the global impact of Filipino labor. We may not realize it, but the world has become our hostage.

The K to 12 system – wittingly or not – has strengthened our stranglehold of the world’s economic affairs, even as it gears up to produce new breed of graduates and teachers.   As teaching methods become more pragmatic, students tend to think in terms of the useful and the practical in their concrete situations. The age of spoon-feeding has seen better days, and students now learn to assimilate classroom lessons into their individual contexts, and vice versa, giving them more control over their individual education. They can access an overload of information by their fingertips, and their increasing awareness and sensitivity to the world around them is unprecedented. Hence, our students now are driven by a fast-paced advancement of technology that created news jobs, new ventures, new professions, and new ways of thinking.

In other words, our students’ future is unpredictable – in a positive way. A broader universe has opened up enormous possibilities for them to explore and create like never before. It is rather hope and excitement – not fear and apprehension – that marked their journey toward the cultural and social evolution that is already unfolding right before their very eyes.

Clearly, old paradigms are shifting. The new Filipino is emerging, waiting to hostage the world even more.

(Editorial, Caraga Herald, June-September 2017)