The
Revised General Education Curriculum (RGEC) takes the assumption that the
implementation of a 12-year basic education curriculum will cause the reduction
of tertiary education into three years from the current four. Here are the
innovations enclosed on the GEC: (1) The RGEC of an institution for higher
education will be taken by all students in that institution, regardless of
major – a departure from current practices stemming from the difference made by
GEC-A and GEC-B; (2) The RGEC consists of 36 units, reducing the 63 units of
the GEC; and (3) Courses under the RGEC can be taken in the first year of
college education or spread out across the curriculum levels, unlike the GEC
courses which are normally taken in the first years of the tertiary education
(Cruz, 2011C).

Cruz
(2011C) quotes TPGE’s understanding of General Education: “The objective of
Philippine education on the tertiary level is the holistic education of
Filipinos who contribute humanely and professionally to the development of a
just and economically-robust society in an environmentally-sustainable world
through competent and innovative leadership, as well as productive and
responsible citizenship. General Education (GE) on the tertiary level addresses
the development of the human being.

“Some
of the outcomes expected of students finishing GE are: an appreciation of the
human condition, the ability to personally interpret human experience, the
ability to view the contemporary world from both Philippine and global
perspectives, the ability to reflectively and critically discern right and
wrong in today’s world, the ability to tackle problems methodically and
scientifically, the ability to appreciate and to contribute to artistic beauty,
and the ability to contribute personally and meaningfully to the development of
the Philippines” (Cruz, 2011C).

 

K to 12
Education

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Prior to the implementation of the K+12
curriculum, the Philippines was one of only three countries in the world and
the only one in Asia that still had only 10 years of basic education. Some
students find the system problematic when they tried to compete in the
international job market which requires 12 years of basic education. Therefore,
aside from hoping to provide higher quality of education to Filipino students
by having longer educational cycle, the Philippine government implemented K+12
program or the Kindergarten and the 12 years of elementary and secondary
education in order to decongest the pre-collegiate curricula aiming to address
the lack of competencies among high school graduates.

The implementation of K+12 is closely linked
with the Education for All (EFA) Plan of Action Critical Task No. 5 which
mandates the expansion of the basic education in the country (SEAMEO Innotech,
n.d.). Such task aims not only to develop the individual Filipino students but
also to improve the social condition of the nation. In addition, to keep
abreast with the needs and demands of the 21st century education and
consequently the world labor market, it is deemed critical that the Philippine
education system be reformed.

To strengthen the basis of such reform, the
Philippine Department of Education (DepEd), through the National Education for
All Committee (NEC), engaged SEAMEO (Southeast Asian Ministers of Education
Organization) INNOTECH to review the curricula of four Asian countries: +Brunei
Darussalam, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines (SEAMEO Innotech, n.d.).
SEAMEO INNOTECH is an intergovernmental organization among Southeast Asian
countries in order to promote cooperation in science, culture, and education by
identifying and solving common problems and needs. The results of the review
show that:

1. The
educational goals of the Philippines must be improved to make them more
focused, clearer, relevant, and anchored on the 21st century
competencies;

2. Subjects in
the Philippines are overcrowded and cover much technical content;

3. The time
allotment for all subjects is longer than the other three benchmarked
countries; and

4. Among the
four countries, the Philippines is the only country that does not have national
level examinations that are internationally recognized.

 

In other Asian countries like Singapore which
already practices K+12 education, reform is also deemed crucial in fully
addressing the needs of the changing world. The Technology Outlook for
Singaporean K+12 Education 2012-2017 was compared to Technology Outlook for
Australian Tertiary Education 2012-2017. After the evaluation, Singaporean
experts believed that their country’s K+12 should adapt more “online, hybrid,
and collaborative model” (Horizon Project, 2012:7). These models do not only
foster teamwork but also informal peer-to-peer learning and commutation among
students. The government of Singapore also acknowledges the need to transform
its textbooks to enhance both formal and informal learning, and therefore must
direct its publication in a way that learning the material is tied to academic
life and the community around them.

In the United States of America, the complex
core engineering concepts of systems and optimization and skills in
representation and experimentation were incorporated in their K+12 education
(Committee on K+12 Engineering Education, 2009). In order to successfully
include these concepts and skills, a study was conducted and the committee
suggested the following:

1. Allocating
sufficient classroom time for students to develop core concepts through
immersion in extended design activities;

2.  Encouraging iterative, purposeful revisions of
student designs; and

3.  Sequencing instruction to build from the
easiest-to-learn aspects of core concepts to the more difficult-to-learn
aspects.

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