Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Additional years in school 'illegal'

..MANILA -- Student activists hit Sunday the implementation of additional years in school, saying children and parents will be forced to spend for an education program without the approval of Congress. “There is no statute that states the different levels of formal education pursued by the K+12 program. Thus far, the levels of formal education remain to be elementary and secondary education under the Education Act of 1982. Nowhere does it speak of middle school or senior high school, as outlined in the K+12 program,” said lawyer Terry Ridon, national president of Kabataan party-list. The enabling legislation for K+12 has yet to be passed by Congress, prompting the group to question the legal basis behind the government’s push for the program. “What shall become of these schoolchildren if the K+12 program is rejected by Congress?” Ridon asked. The opening of classes on Monday will be marked by the pilot implementation of the K+12 with focus on changes to curriculum for Grade 1 and Grade 7. Grade 7 is what first year junior high school is referred to under the program. In preparation, teacher trainings for the Grade 1 and Grade 7 enhanced curriculum were conducted in different subject areas per region to develop teachers’ capacity for efficient implementation. “For 2012, there will be no additional years yet for high school. Also, there will be no additional cost to parents because education in a public school is free,” Department of Education (DepEd) communications director Tina Ganzon told Sun.Star. Ridon said the government should focus first on the shortage of facilities and teachers and infrastructure in the public education system as increasing the number of years of study will only stretch thinly the already limited funding of public schools. In Davao Region, the education department will start implementing the mother tongue-based multi-lingual education program on the first day of classes for Grades 1 to 3 pupils. The program, which is also being pushed under the K+12, allows teacher to give lectures in classes using their native tongue. DepEd-Davao Region Jenielito Atillo said through this, pupils will have a better understanding on the lessons being discussed in classes. The DepEd is set to welcome today, Monday, 21.49 million students in public schools, at least a million higher than last year’s actual enrolment of 20.48 million. Of expected enrollees this year, 5.76 million are secondary, 14 million are elementary, and 1.73 million are kindergarten, in over 45,000 public schools nationwide. (Virgil Lopez/Antonio L. Colina IV/Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex) ..