What now DepEd?

AS A MATTER OF FACT - Sara Soliven De Guzman - The Philippine Star

Graduation is almost over, the school year has ended and another school year is about to begin. Well, I hope it does – in June.

I’m actually still keeping my fingers crossed after Education Secretary Luistro assured us that there will be no changes in the schedule of the opening of classes in June. As we all know, the Department of Education has this penchant for giving last minute instructions to schools. Somehow they have not managed to perfect foresight in their work.

Even within the school year after all schools have finalized their school calendars, DepEd supervisors or regional directors have a tendency to issue memorandums to schools requiring them to join or create activities pertaining to a particular topic, schedule national exams on the last minute (without advance notice), submit certain surveys that need to be on their desk within a given period (short notice) as if all schools have a magic wand.

When they announced the K-12 educational plan for national growth and development, they did not even give schools a clear cut guideline on how proper planning, organization and implementation of this new program should be done. Schools were forced to randomly create their own protocols and had to come up with their own solutions jeopardizing the state of being of each growing student. Sanamagan!

So how will Secretary Luistro prove his worth in the last two years of P-Noy’s presidency?  I thought he was going to change the system. He only changed the name of the game and added two more levels. The Department of Education is still the same. It really has not changed. Maybe on the outside it looks like it did but its old decrepit culture is still alive and kicking.

Now let’s talk more about P-Noy’s mighty project, the K-12 program. I know that we restructured our educational system to be at par with the other nations. Before K-12 was implemented, many private schools were doing quite well in achieving the literacy skills of their students. The main problem was that the public schools could not meet the standards (even if the national achievement exams reflected their ‘false’ strengths but this is another story). Their students continued to have difficulty with reading, writing and arithmetic. Anyway, now that both private and public schools were given no choice but to implement this program, guess who is left behind? The schools that are directly under the supervision of the agency that started it all. Susmariosep! They still can’t seem to make heads and tails of the new program.

I guess P-Noy pushed the button too quickly for his pa-pogi points when he started his term. Mr. President, are you now happy with what has become of your K-12 program? Do you realize what a hurricane your administration has created?

Since its conception three years ago, the department has not brought out a good manual to guide the schools. By the way, are you aware that you just caused the schools several millions of pesos in restructuring their programs which include research, teacher training, construction of additional classrooms/ facilities/ laboratories and purchase of different equipment? There is definitely a lack of direction and guidance and a track load full of negligence in the way this program was handled.

Public and private schools do not have the magic wand to suddenly create extra classrooms, laboratories and acquire facilities for the K-12 program. How can schools in the bundoks and isolated islands of our beautiful archipelago achieve this dream? To this day, we still have classrooms under a mango tree and you expect this K-12 program to work in a jiffy? To start with, you did not even bother to do test the program. Instead you aggressively made the whole country do it hastily to meet your deadline. Sanamagan!

There is also this urgent, pressing and legitimate concern raised by many parents of several private schools in the country particularly in the National Capital Region (NCR) regarding the effects of RA No. 10533, the “Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013”.

Parents of students who are entering the 8th and 9th grade this coming June question why their children who went through the same program as the incoming 10th graders (or fourth year high school) and the recent high school graduates cannot be allowed to go through the 4-year high school program to qualify them for higher education. They need a valid and legal reason why their children cannot be accorded the same promotion considering that their children will have undergone the same curriculum.

As a matter of fact, the administrators and the schools they have enrolled in cannot even point out any substantial difference between the old first and second year curriculum. They cannot accept the reasons stated by schools that – it is a DepEd requirement, it is the new law and therefore must be followed. Well, clearly there is some confusion here and DepEd has not clarified nor addressed this issue that has already been raised since the forced implementation of the program.

Furthermore, these parents raised the issue that enforcement of the new law beginning SY 2016-2017 shall result to the impairment of the existing enrolment contracts they have with their respective schools which is a violation of Article III, Section 10 of the Constitution.

The revised 2011 Revised Manual of Regulations for Private Schools Basic Education, specifically Section 120 states — Right to Enroll until Graduation — The pupil or student who qualifies for enrolment is qualified to stay for the entire period in which he is expected to complete his course in a school. It is pointed out that when these parents enrolled their children to start secondary education in SY 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, the high school program required for these students to complete in order to qualify for college was merely the four years secondary academic program as mandated to by the Education Act of 1982. The contract they entered into did not require their children to attend the new additional two years of senior high school.

RA 10533 took effect only sometime in the last quarter of 2013 after it was signed by the President last May 15, 2013. It was not in effect at the time when these concerned parents enrolled their children to start their secondary education therefore, it cannot be considered part of the enrolment contract they entered into with the schools. Let’s see what DepEd will do about this clamor. Will they choose to be silent or will they properly address it? Abangan!

Basic is the rule that “laws shall have no retroactive effect unless the contrary is provided”     (Article 4 of the New Civil Code). Although it appears that RA 10533’s effectivity would be prospective, that is in SY 2016-2017, it is actually retroactive when applied to the children of these concerned parents.

This K-12 program is supposedly P-Noy’s pride. But what are they doing about it? The program is doomed to fail due to a lack of foresight. Don’t get me wrong. I believe that adding two years is valid but before we add these years we should plan it carefully and with due diligence on the part of our officials.


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