Speech of the Chairperson of the Commission on Higher Education Patricia Licuanan:
At the launch of the K to 12 Basic Education Program
[As read by Commissioner Nenalyn Defensor at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall, Malacañan Palace, on April 24, 2012]
His Excellency, distinguished officials, and stakeholders:
Today, we mark a significant milestone in Philippine education reform. The K to 12 initiative is probably the boldest innovation embarked on by the education sector that is meant to address several issues in education. A major one is the inadequate preparation of college graduates for work and university, which has been supported by several official studies. As early as the American period, the need to extend the ten-year basic education schooling was already cited. The decade of the ‘50s called for the restoration of Grade 7 and was mandated in the Education Act of 1953. The 2008 Presidential Task Force on Education recommended the benchmarking of years 11 and 12 with programs around the world, and in 2009, a World Bank survey found that employers considered graduates possessing only ten years of basic education lacking in essential work skills such as problem solving and initiative.
There is a corresponding cost to our professionals working abroad. They do not get the recognition and remuneration they deserve because highly technical courses, such as engineering, require two more years of preparation. Thus, K to 12 is the appropriate response to a decades-old problem.
As K to 12 is being launched, CHED has been making the necessary preparations to support it. First, to effect a smooth transition from basic education to tertiary education, the CHED Technical Panel on General Education prepared the College Readiness Standards covering the following subjects: English, Filipino, Literature, Humanities, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science. Science covers chemistry, physics, biology, and earth science. These standards were subjected to a consultative conference with various stakeholders. Comments and recommendations were taken into consideration, and on October 28, 2011, the College Readiness Standards were approved by the commission en banc.
Second, the CHED Technical Panel on General Education is reviewing the present General Education curriculum, to determine which courses in the first and second year college will be incorporated in grades 11 to 12 and vice versa. This is now being subjected to public consultation.
Third, CHED is also in collaboration with DepEd, TESDA, and the industries, to work on the Philippine Qualifications Framework (PQF), another major thrust in the field of human resource development. The PQF aims for a harmonized definition of competencies at every level of qualification. Through this framework, Filipinos will have easier access to employment openings in any country of the world that shares the harmonized definition of qualifications. With PQF, a Filipino civil engineer is equally qualified as any civil engineer in the world. As in the pre-implementation work for K to 12, unrelenting cooperative thrusts for PQF and other educational reforms and initiatives are strategic in the pursuit for quality employment and, consequently, poverty alleviation.
Fourth, along the direction of PQF, CHED is currently reviewing and revising the curriculum of degree programs of the different disciplines for an outcome-based education (OBE). This leads to outcome definition of what every college graduate should be, what he or she can clearly demonstrate as value-added input in the workplace.
Finally, may I mention that in the preparation of teachers for K to 12, the National Network of Normal Schools, which was formed in October 2010 and which I oversee, is also getting ready for their inputs to support DepEd. Philippine Normal University, the National Center for Teacher Education, will be involved in the mass training of teachers in the National Capital Region, which starts this week. Likewise, Cebu Normal University and Leyte Normal University, which have been identified by the Teacher Education Council as the service providers for Region VII and Region VIII, will hold the training of grade 7 teachers starting May. Past normal schools who are now comprehensive universities such as Mariano Marcos University College of Education (formerly Ilocos Norte Normal School), Bicol University College of Education (formerly Albay Normal School), and West Visayas State University College of Education (formerly Iloilo Normal School) will likewise do the same.
The pursuit of reforms in education is necessary if we are to be globally competitive. The time to act is now. This government has shown that it has the political resolve to do so.