K-12 for all, use of mother tongue now law

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino yesterday signed the K to 12 Basic Education Program law, which adds two years to basic education and makes enrollment of children in kindergarten compulsory.

Aquino signed Republic Act 10533 or the “Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013” barely three weeks before the opening of classes in public and private schools nationwide on June 3.

Under the K to 12 program, children are required to enroll in kindergarten before they can begin six years of primary education.

Two years will be added to the four-year high school curriculum.

The law also mandates the use of the mother tongue as the medium of instruction from kindergarten to third grade before English is introduced.

The additional years will serve as a specialization period for senior high school students, whether in vocational skills, music, arts or sports. They will be prepared in middle-level skills development, entrepreneurship, employment and tertiary education. 

Senior high school graduates will then have an option to take either short-term technical vocational courses, wherein employment is immediate, or pursue college education.

The implementation of the law aims to provide sufficient time for students to master “concept and skills, develop lifelong learners and prepare graduates for tertiary education, middle-level skills development, employment and entrepreneurship.”

Aquino said the new education program will strengthen the basic education requirements of students which, in turn, will bring them closer to the fulfillment of their dreams.

“We now know that our traditional 10-year basic education cycle is deficient,” Aquino said during a ceremony at Malacañang where he signed the law. 

“Given that our young people are at a disadvantage in terms of basic education, how can we expect them to compete for employment and other higher pursuits?”

The President also said the government remains focused on providing quality education for Filipino students, as his administration continues to introduce reforms and programs designed to improve the delivery of knowledge and learning in schools.

The government said it was building tens of thousands of new classrooms, hiring nearly 18,000 teachers, and printing tens of millions of textbooks this year to implement the new education program nationwide. 

Aquino said the education department budget has been raised to P232 billion this year, up 44 percent from 2010 levels, largely to pay for the extra services.  

Aquino, halfway through a six-year term, also reiterated that one of the main goals of his presidency is to create a more inclusive society in the impoverished country of 100 million people. 

Twenty-nine percent of the workforce is jobless or underemployed, according to the latest government data.

Nearly 10 million Filipinos have been forced to seek better-paying jobs abroad.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. as well as Senators Ralph Recto, Franklin Drilon and Edgardo Angara, and Representatives Neptali Gonzales II of Mandaluyong City, Sandy Ocampo of Manila, and Juan Edgardo Angara of Aurora province witnessed the signing. 

Recto lauds signing of K-12 law

Recto, one of the principal authors of the Senate version of the K to 12 bill, lauded the signing of the measure into law.

He said a longer learning period would improve the quality of Philippine education and would keep the country at par with other nations.

“Our graduates would no longer be discriminated against by their length of campus stay and would be measured by their talent, proficiency and world-class skills,” Recto added.

Recto also noted that the signing comes in the wake of a successful midterm election and “this refocuses our poll-distracted lenses to give a 20-20 vision to our children’s future and to the much-needed reforms in education.”

He said the signing into law of the K-12 bill provides an impetus for the incoming members of the new Senate to take up reforms in education as part of their legislative agenda.


Use of mother tongue

Recto included into the measure the use of the mother tongue as the medium of instruction from kindergarten until the third year of primary school – another major reform under the K-12 program.

Recto cited latest global studies which confirmed that learning through the use of the mother tongue results in “quicker comprehension.”

He also noted that in the country, the average Filipino is multilingual and can understand several local dialects aside from English.

“Scientific studies and global trends point to multilingual-based education using the mother tongue as becoming the standard teaching method for basic literacy all over the world,” Recto said.

The language of instruction will then gradually shift to English from grades four to six in primary school.

Subjects will be taught in English throughout high school, as the country considers English proficiency by its workforce as a competitive advantage in employment.

New tech-voc curriculum under K-12

Meanwhile, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority has completed the new curriculum for technical vocational education and training courses for students under the K-12 program, TESDA director general Joel Villanueva said yesterday.

“Teachers can already use the new curriculum in the coming school year,” Villanueva said.

The TESDA chief said curriculum guides, learning modules, and teachers’ guides for 23 technical vocational courses have been developed for incoming Grades 7 and 8 students.

Review of these materials for Grades 9 to 10 is ongoing. 

Technical vocational courses that will be offered are automotive servicing, mechanical drafting, computer hardware servicing, horticulture, shielded metal arc welding, consumer electronics servicing, aquaculture, dressmaking and tailoring, and masonry. 

Care-giving, household services, plumbing, agricultural crop production, fish capture, handicraft, carpentry, RAC servicing (DomRac), electrical installation and maintenance, bread and pastry production, tile setting, animal production, food (fish) processing, and beauty care (nail care services) will also be offered.   – With Christina Mendez, Mayen Jaymalin, Helen Flores,









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