June 5, 2012
ANGARA: K TO 12 WILL MAKE FILIPINO GRADUATES
Senator Edgardo J. Angara allayed the fears of some sectors about the implementation of the K to 12 basic education curriculum during a public hearing held earlier today on the program's enabling law.
"That is what this hearing is for, to iron out the details and provisions of Senate Bill No. 2713 filed by Senator Ralph G. Recto, and to see how the additional two years would affect the families of the incoming students and how the government would fund it," said Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture.
The veteran legislator and education advocate reminded attendees that the Philippines has been lagging behind its ASEAN neighbors in terms of the overall competitiveness of its graduates for years, in part because of having the lowest total number of years spent in school.
"We are the only country in Asia with less than 11 years of basic education. Globally, we are among the last three countries with a 10-year curriculum. The other two are African nations--they are our peers in this regard, " said Angara.
Angara emphasized that a 12-year basic education curriculum is required for Filipino graduates to be eligible for employment under the Washington Accord for engineers and the Bologna Accord for the EU.
"This is about putting our graduates on a par with the rest of the world," he stressed. "Some of our nursing graduates abroad work as nursing aides, while our engineers are deemed under-qualified because of the significantly shorter education they had in the Philippines," he lamented.
"Our graduates can get much better employment and directly compete with the best from Asia, Europe and the United States if our basic education standards can meet just the minimum requirement followed all over the world," said Angara.
Undersecretary Yolanda Quijano of the Department of Education enumerated the four main goals in extending the pre-college program in the Philippines: "First, we want to decongest the curriculum to improve the students' mastery of basic competencies. Second, we want to ensure seamlessness of primary, secondary and post-secondary competencies. Third, to improve teaching through enhanced pedagogies and medium of instruction. And fourth, to reduce job-skills mismatch by expanding the graduates' job opportunities."
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