PASIG CITY, March 26, 2018 – “There have been changes and there will be more changes,” Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones reaffirmed on Wednesday as the country draws closer to welcoming the first batch of graduates of the K to 12 Basic Education Program in April.
With the increasing demands of the ever shifting world, the Education chief emphasized that catching up with change can no longer be done on a “one at a time” basis.
Thus, despite calls to abolish the K to 12 Program, DepEd, under the leadership of Briones and with the support of President Rodrigo Duterte, pushed through with the implementation as it balances between solving problems of the elementary and junior high school levels and dealing with the birth pains of implementing senior high school (SHS).
This year, 1,252,357 learners are anticipated to comprise the 1st batch of SHS completers. Of this figure, 61.13% (765,588 enrollees) took the Academic track; 38.32% (479,866) took the Technical-Vocational-Livelihood track); 0.38% (4,758 enrollees) from the Arts and Design track; and 0.17% (2,145 enrollees) from the Sports track.
“Sa Department, what I’m trying to introduce and strengthen is the sense of urgency, kasi ang gusto ng iba ayusin muna lahat bago pumunta sa sunod na antas pero at the rate things are changing and the demands on education are accelerating, the expectations of the public is increasing. Kung maghihintay tayo kailan maaayos ang Grades 1 to 10, baka maghintay tayo forever considering our political, social, and economic challenges. By the time ma-solve mo yung isang bagay, mayroon nang ibang problemang lumalabas,” Briones pointed out.
Quality of PH education
The Secretary noted that with several reforms being put in place, it is important that other sectors stay abreast of the noteworthy improvements in the education sector to enable them to contribute effectively and significantly. She further underscored that the challenges must not discount the many changes that have already happened.
“Palagay ko, this is the year of our Lord 2018, hindi naman tayo makasabi na walang nangyayari, hindi naman natin masasabi na walang nagawa yung predecessors ko. . . Kung maghintay tayo kung kailan magawa ang isang bagay bago tumuloy sa susunod na problema, maiiwanan talaga tayo ng panahon at demands sa edukasyon,” Briones stated.
Determined in continuously improving the quality of Philippine education, the DepEd chief expressed that she “expects a measure of improvement” as the Philippines participated for the first time in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) on March 2-23, 2018.
“We cannot stay where we are,” the Secretary added as she recalled the country’s dismal ranking (third from the bottom) in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) in 2003.
She conveyed the same credence in the K to 12 learners’ academic performance as determined by the National Achievement Test (NAT), the latest of which have been conducted in 2016 (results released in 2017) and in 2017 (results to be released next month).
The Secretary encouraged stakeholders: “Yung mga dati nating paniniwala, hindi naman pwedeng ganun na lang yan forever yung tingin natin sa edukasyon. We are doing ourselves a disservice if we insist that we are failing in education. We’re doing all that we can to correct whatever [needs to be corrected]. We are not saying we are perfect or your [critics’] statistics is perfect, but there are significant reforms and that has to be recognized!”