By Julius B. Embile
LEGAZPI CITY --- Following the resumption of classes last June 5, the regional office of the Department of Education (DepEd) reported that close to 65,000 Grade 12 students have enrolled in various public schools in the region.
The 65,000 will comprise the first batch to graduate from the Senior High School (SHS) program in Bicol, according to DepEd Regional Director Ramon Fiel Abcede.
The DepEd has reformatted the 10-year basic education program into the present K-12 scheme, which spans from kindergarten to Grades 1-12.
Speaking at “Orolay-Olay: Monthly Media Conference” in Legazpi City last June 5, Abcede hailed the student turnout as “historic development” in the region’s educational system, saying it marks the full blown implementation of the K-12 program.
The K-12 program is a revision in the educational structure in the Philippines, wherein the period of basic education has been raised to 13 years. According to DepEd, the reform is necessary for the country to keep up globally as the Philippines is the last country in Asia and one of only three countries worldwide with a 10-year pre-university cycle.
A 12-year program is found to be the best period for learning under basic education. It is also the recognized standard for students and professionals all over the world.
This year marks the full implementation of the K-12. Initially, K-12’s universal kindergarten was done in school year 2011-2012, followed by enhanced curriculum implementation in Grades 1 to 7 in 2012-2013.
In 2013, the K-12 program was enacted into law, and the curricula for Grades 11 and 12 were finished by 2014. In 2016-2017, the implementation of the SHS began as schools in the country welcomed the first batch of Grade 11 students.
Abcede said the tracks offered to SHS students are like college courses that are designed to provide skills in the fields of academic, technical-vocational-livelihood, sports, arts and design.
This is supposed to provide a competitive edge to students who are short of money to enter college.
According to Abcede, a total of 64,754 students are now enrolled in Grade 12 in the six provinces of the region. Camarines Sur registered the most number of enrollees with 20,426.
Albay tallied a total of 12,566 enrollees, followed by Sorsogon with 9,732. Masbate province recorded 9,574 while Camarines Norte had 7,869. Catanduanes had the least with 4,587. In addition, 30,246 of these Grade 12 students are distributed among schools in the six cities in Bicol.
In reply to a reporter’s question, Abcede admitted that certain schools, especially in far-flung areas, still encountered the same old problems such as shortage in textbooks and classrooms.
“Yes, there are still some concerns to be addressed, but we look for positive approaches to meet the demands. We prioritize giving the schools what they need before improving what they already have,” said Abcede. PIA5/Albay