K12. this is what they want to call DepEd’s new plan to fix the country’s ailing educational system. It isn’t new. The United States uses K-12 system of education. Judging by the state of the US’s education system, I’d doubt we’d want to follow that path.
I will not belabor what others have already said about quality vs quantity.
The problem isn’t years of study, its what we study. I know. I’ve gone through the same system and I’m horrified to realize now how many years I wasted learning stuff I do not need to learn. Basic Education is such a misnomer.
Subjects aren’t what’s need to be taught. Skills are. We’re stuffing our kids with so much trash. Religion one of them. Catholic catechism in schools is such an abomination of religious freedom. They can wield this power because there are no secular school in this country even worth going to. The government is supposed to provide this need, but instead, it’s foisting Catholicism to others who are not even Catholic. I’ve met classmates who are non-Catholics who feel marginalized and discriminated being forced to attend Religion in our school. No wonder our Muslim brothers are up in arms. I wonder if they are trying this foolishness in Mindanao.
Nutrition. Before kids can learn, they need to be fed. Hungry mouths learn nothing. Instead of providing dole-outs, the government should re-channel the funds to host feeding centers in schools. That’s right. To get the food, kids have to go to school. That’s one way of making sure they go to school everyday. Feed them in schools. That will not only stop lazy parents who use their kids to receive the dole-outs and then forces these same kids to work, but it will also provide incentives for poor parents to send their kids to school just so they won’t have to feed the kids. Public schools in the US have their cafeterias subsidized by the government don’t they? Let public schools put up cafeterias that are subsidized. Serve 2 meals (breakfast and lunch). Dinner na lang po-problemahin ng magulang. Enlist the private sector’s help in subsidizing these cafeterias. We have no lack of food conglomerates willing and able to take this opportunity for some free publicity. To save even more, serve mainly fruits and vegetables, and other cheap root crops, and serve meat and fish only once or twice a week.
Skills mismatch in employment. Why does this happen? Because right from the start, kids are never guided to what courses they should take. Instead of taking up courses which they have a natural aptitude for, they take money-courses. Courses perceived of being able to rake in the jobs which would bring money. Lots of it preferably. So today we see a lot of nursing students who probably would’ve been our future Juan Lunas, Lea Salongas, Nick Joaquins, Fernando Amorsolos, Lino Brockas – if they haven’t been badgered into submission by their parents to take nursing. Instead of pushing them into paths where they would flourish, we push them into a corner where they would forever be mediocre. I guess the world wouldn’t be the same if Einstein became a nurse instead of a mathematician. We’d rather have sons and daughters who are mediocre professionals than sons and daughters who are giants in their field. As long as they bring in the money, you say. But haven’t any of you learned? No one got rich doing what they hated to do. Subsisted yes.
Bill Gates didn’t hate computers. He loved it.
Tiger Woods didn’t hate golf. He loved it.
Oprah didn’t hate hosting. She loved it.
Each of these people became rich doing what they love and what they do best.
Discovering latent talents. The government seriously needs to revamp the educational system to focus on this. Instead of stuffing down our kids’ throat what they should learn, we should discover where their aptitudes lie and enhance those instead. There are already diagnostic tests existing which should easily tell where the kids’ aptitude lie.
In kindergarten up to grade three, kids should be taught the basics. Math, Science, analytical thinking (logic) and Values Formation (not religion). Nothing else. All throughout these years, the school would be trying to discover the kids’ non-academic talents (in sports, arts, public speaking, etc). If a kid is proven to be especially talented at something, they are pushed to train in these areas further. IMO, if a kid can read write, do basic math, and think analytically, he is set for life. Everything else can be acquired as needed.
By grade four, practical skills should be taught. Cooking, carpentry, electronics, plumbing, typing, shorthand, etc. A quarter of the day can be set for practical skills training, another quarter for academics, and the other quarter set aside for the kids’ latent talent training. (in a natural 8 hour schedule that’s 2 1/2 hours each). And yes, at least I agree with Luistro on this.: no assignments. A tired brain and a tired body is useless. If the whole day has been utilized correctly, there’s no need to even think of assignments.
By high school, kids should be entering the apprentice stage for their chosen careers based on courses where they score highly in. No one can take up a course where they haven’t met the maximum passing score (that’s right. there are no minimum passing scores. just pass or fail). This should stop students from wasting time on courses they have absolutely no chance of being successful doing. In these years, students would be studying but would be interning at the same time. Partnering with private corporations, the government not only utilizes a huge labor force but also allows students to learn best from the only university that matters, the university of life. By the time they’re 18, graduation would only be a formality for these students as most of them are already working (interning) in jobs they will most probably get. It may even be just a simple process of being promoted from intern to regular employee. No one graduates jobless. No one hates their jobs. Productivity increases, and industry improves. Our culture is enriched as the arts can only be enriched by a policy of talent discovery in the early stages of a kid’s life.
An intelligent and well educated country would be a delight to behold.
In education, it isn’t how much you know, but what you know. If you know a lot which turns out to be trash, you may as well know nothing.
You aren’t fixing the problems if you’re adding years. What you’re doing is just basically lengthening the years by which the students are studying under same broken system. Fix the system. Then add the years if you still think it’s lacking.
You’d be surprised if it would even take that long.
edit: i forgot to include. history should be taught all throughout a student’s life. probably on Mondays, since learning history seems to be good at the start of a week.