Damages should ensue from adverse K to 12 review results
TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag (The Freeman) - December 30, 2019 - 12:00am

The ongoing review of the K to 12 Program, which added kindergarten and two more years of high school to the basic education curriculum beginning in school year 2016-2017, should go beyond determining what may be wrong with the program. It should include determining culpability of those who insisted on implementing it at the time they did despite the now-obvious unpreparedness of the system to carry out the program.

More importantly, the review should consider compensation, awarding damages to those who lost time, money and effort going through two more years of high school without learning anything from it. For that is the sad reality suffered by the pioneering batches of K to 12 graduates, specifically Classes 2016 and 2017, who would have been graduating from college in 2020 and 2021.

Instead, because of the forced implementation of K to 12, these classes are still in their second and first years in college. Now that would not have been such a wasted sacrifice had these classes actually learned anything as the pioneering batches of Grades 11 and 12 in senior high. But they did not. Those first two years, according to the school directress of one exclusive girls’ school in Cebu, was real "touch and go."

Now that is a polite way of saying learn as you go, which in turn means there was no specific program or module to follow and schools were left to their own devices on how to cope with the forced implementation. Students who went through those first two years had no certified teachers qualified to teach senior high. The most training they had were seminars that ran for a week or two and that was that. They had no books, for God's sake.

And if it was "touch and go" for an exclusive girls’ school in a big city, consider how it must have been in the provinces, in the rural barangay high schools that also had to contend with lack of facilities like classrooms and chairs. If the review finds that K to 12 was rammed down the country's throat half-cooked, then those who suffered consequently from lost time, money and effort should be compensated, and the perpetrators jailed.

And by perpetrators I mean Noynoy Aquino and Armin Luistro who, against overwhelming nationwide opposition, implemented K to 12 for no other reason than that the Philippines was one of the few remaining countries in the world that did not have a 12-year basic education curriculum. To the duo, it was all for appearances. They had to go 12 years because the world was, and never mind if no one in the Philippines was prepared for it.

I am not against K to 12. In fact I am for it. What I object to was its untimely implementation that resulted in wasted years, wasted money, and wasted effort. And just to make my position clear on a related matter, I do not think K to 12 is to blame for the Philippines' dismal showing in a global assessment of 15-year-old students, where we placed last among 79 countries in reading comprehension, mathematics and science.

If the students performed dismally at 15 at the time the assessment was made in 2018, that means they had been trained dismally very much earlier, in fact long before K to 12 came to be. And that can only be because the Philippine educational system must inherently be in a dismal state. As they say in this day and age --garbage in, garbage out.


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