Sen. Bongbong Marcos: We can learn from Albert Einstein on how to effectively implement DepED’s K-12 program

24 February 2011

24-Feb-2011-Deped-K12At the Senate committee hearing on 22 February 2011, the Department of Education (DepED) revealed that the rationale for the proposals on where to inject the additional two years of schooling in the K-12 Program was borne out of practicality. DepED said that these proposals were arrived at because of cost considerations and because they were the “least disruptive”.

Senator Bongbong Marcos, while acknowledging the importance of the additional two years of schooling, lamented the fact that the rationale for the proposals was more impelled by budget constraints rather than by research and educational theory. Senator Bongbong said that, for him, it would be more prudent to add the two years as much as possible to the earliest stages of schooling, where they would be able to benefit more students. Senator Marcos cited the statistics on dropout rates that prove that Filipino student population diminishes as the students progress through school levels. Thus, he said, more students would be able to benefit from the K-12 program if the 2 additional years were placed earlier, since in the earlier levels, the classrooms would be more populated.

Interestingly, Senator Bongbong added that dual benefits may be derived from placing the additional 2 years to the early stages of schooling, since younger children have more ability to learn. He recalled the anecdote of Albert Einstein, who is claimed to have said that he would rather prefer teaching physics to young high school students rather than higher-level students, because the younger ones have more ability to learn. Senator Marcos’ claim was partly supported by the National Early Childcare and Development Council, which said that ages 0-6 is the “foundation cycle” of learning, during which 50% of the child’s ability to learn is developed.

Touted as one of the most drastic and controversial programs of the PNoy administration is the K-12 Program of the Department of Education (DepED), which proposes to add another 2 years to the basic education curriculum. Part of the educational reform program of the Aquino administration, the K-12 Program simply means the kindergarten pre-school year plus 12 years of regular schooling. According to the program’s proponents, the 12-year educational curriculum is the present global standard, to which the Philippines has not been attuned, being the only country in Asia that still has a 10-year curriculum.

Proposals on where to tack the additional 2 years are varied, however. One view proposes to add one year to grade school (plus grade 7) and another to high school (plus 5th year). Another view proposes to add two years towards the end of high school, which shall be “senior high school”, after the regular 4-year “junior high school”.