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Notice the Disconnect

A couple of days ago, while having dinner, the Vice President came on the news. ( I mean, the current Vice President.) That’s something. If we had a graph on the media exposure of the President and the Vice President, the former would be far ahead by miles. Not that they should have similar amount of exposure; I just noticed. I don’t think we have been seeing much of her in the news since the time she defended the confidential fund for DepEd, which despite the understandable opposition, still came through, with legislators justifying the approval with the consideration that it’s the first time and the hope that it be spent well. That was simply amazing.

She was saying something about education. It turned out DepEd, under her leadership is launching the Matatag Agenda to supposedly resolve problems in basic education. Surprisingly, I found myself agreeing with some of her points.

For the longest time, many people have been picking on the K to 12 Curriculum, saying that it has problems and needs to be restored back to the previous curriculum. For me, all the ranting is futile and useless since K to 12 Curriculum is a LAW, and diverting from it would be illegal, and we all just have to abide by it, since it is a LAW. (In case you’re not familiar, the K to 12 Curriculum is the program followed by schools for lessons for Filipino kids. This includes the subject of Mother Tongue, and additional two more years of high school which we now call as senior high school.)

One of the problems, the Vice President says, is that the curriculum is congested. Yes it is. The K to 12 curriculum is congested. It’s jampacked. It’s trying to fit so much in a school year. This congestion is cited to cause psychological and emotional insecurity and exhaustion among children. Yes, kids are so tired. There’s just so much, just like those bags filled with books, notebooks and everything else considered as supplementary, that they have to be pulled in trolleys. If we include Music, Arts, P.E. and Health as separate subjects, there would be eight. And what is Homeroom Guidance for?

I agree that language education should start in Mother Tongue. (come on, look at the teens now. They’re more familiar with Tagalog and English vocabulary. It’s ridiculous for inhabitants of a particular area to be aliens to the culture of that area.) Technical skills are good and would be useful in practical situations and opportunities for livelihood. Values education is also important. However, I think the learning areas could be simplified by integrating EsP to Mother Tongue or Filipino. EPP and MAPEH could be taken once a week to lighten the load. In this age of the great significance of technology, very little attention is given to ICT education.

She adds that learning competencies are misplaced in pre-requisites. Yes they are. Learning competencies seem to be misplaced ins sequence. Why do lessons on language features and structures of text come before those on parts of speech and sentence construction? Why does entrepreneurship precede home economics? Should not economics start at home? Why are competencies on Mother Tongue seem to be structured on the grammatical framework of the English language? I trust that the authors are experts, but why all these?

In Finland schools, teachers don’t give homework, but Finnish educational system is top in the world. In Japan, academic education does not start until Grade 4, but technology (which is the application of the knowledge of science) is undoubtedly advance.

I appreciate that people in authority have noticed these issues. With this, we can expect that these concerns would be addressed. Now, here comes that part that I didn’t get. The Vice President proposes that the solution to these problems is the improvement of facilities especially school buildings and classrooms. Wait, wait a minute. Just when I was already nodding my head in agreement, my brow got wrinkled, and my head suddenly felt itchy. There seemed to be a disconnect there. Were not problems in the curriculum cited? So, would it not be logical to solve problems in the curriculum? The curriculum has problems so they would improve the facilities. It’s like identifying bleeding on the arms and wrapping bandage on the foot. What’s worse is that the doctor expects that bandage on the foot would stop the bleeding on the arms.

“Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way. For there is a time and a way…” Ecclesiastes 8:5

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