EDITORIAL – More red flags raised over K to 12
(The Freeman) - February 18, 2015 - 12:00am

In about a year's time, the government will start fully implementing the highly controversial K to 12 program. The K part of the program has already started with the introduction of Kindergarten into the basic education curriculum. What is expected to be implemented by 2016 is the Senior High School component of the program, which essentially adds two years to high school to bring to 12 years the basic education requirement of the country.

Despite widespread opposition, and despite all the red flags that suggest the country is unprepared for such an ambitious but ill-timed project, the government just would hear none of it. The education secretary, Armin Luistro, who has not been honest and straightforward about the preparedness of the country and acceptance by Filipinos of K to 12, appears to get a big kick about having his way and never mind if he brings the country all the way to hell.

The latest red flag to be raised calls attention to the quality of teachers being produced by some schools, teachers who will soon be called to duty to teach the senior high school component of K to 12. The Philippine Business for Education, an NGO, is asking the Commission on Higher Education to promptly shut down teacher schools that have been performing dismally in the licensure exam for teachers.

According to the PBEd, 60 percent of all schools for teachers nationwide failed to score even a 50 percent passing rate for their graduates. Again, 60 percent of all schools for teachers nationwide failed to score even a 50 percent passing rate for their graduates. That is a very dismal performance indeed. Worse, it inspires no confidence in those who did manage to pass considering that the successful examinees still came from these very same schools.

And because the country only has 600,000 teachers to take care of the 21 million students in public schools, that means some 80,000 teachers will have to be hired to handle those who, instead of going to college, will have to take two more years of senior high school. What these two more years of high school will mean in the hands of poorly qualified teachers is anybody's guess.

But do not expect Luistro to be bothered by the quality of education. What consumes Luistro is only for the Philippines to join other countries in the world that have adopted the 12-year basic education curriculum. Luistro does not care if Filipino students are taught garbage in school. What is important to him is that they get 12 years of garbage instead of just 10.

Aside from the quality of education, another suspect component is infrastructure. Not only is the Philippines way behind in classroom-to-children ratio, the situation has been made worse by the natural calamities that came one after the other, perhaps as God's way of showing displeasure over Luistro. Right now, many kids are still having classes under trees or in tents in Yolanda-stricken areas, if they are having classes at all. Yet, it is all systems go for K to 12 and Luistro.

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