Re-engineer K-to-12 based on PH needs

By July 24, 2022Out of the Fire

By Gonzalo Duque

 

EVEN before President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. can deliver his State of the Nation Address,  his allies in Congress already started working. Even reelected Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is seeking the review of the K-to-12 programs – to see if there is a need to abolish it or continue it with modifications to suit the needs of the times.

When I was a member of the Coordinating Council for Private Schools, I already opposed the implementation of the K-to-12 for many reasons. My motion for suspension was lost by just one vote so I warned then that since the vote was not unanimous, it only showed that the measure did not sit well with the other members of the CCPS board.

I thought then that if we follow the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in K-to-12, but is not prepared for the technology aspect of the program, the program will not succeed.

We posited the view then that the technology aspect may be effective only in the urban centers where TESDA is present but in rural barangays where students are crammed like sardines, there is no TESDA. So, it is bound to fail.

In other words, K-to-12 needed a lot of preparations before it could be put into effect. But what is good is that after years of the implementation of K-to-12, our legislators are finally enlightened.

The bill being proposed by Senator Gatchalian is the right way to improve  K-to-12 to produce the intended results. I think the reason why K-to-12 was initiated then was because we were catering to the overseas job market where one of the requirements for Filipino workers is an additional two-year program in high school.

So, my question to our lawmakers is: Are we going to re-engineer our curriculum in accordance with our national needs or re-engineer  it under an overseas employment mindset?

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Relative to this, my father Francisco Q. Duque, Jr., put up an agricultural school in Lobong, San Jacinto but we had to suspend its operation because we didn’t have enough  students.. Even in the different state colleges and universities that I visited, they  did not have many enrollees in agriculture.

As then CHEd consultant, I headed a committee in charge of searching presidents of state agricultural colleges or universities. I found out that for one to be qualified, he or she should be a graduate of agriculture and with a master’s degree as well as doctoral degree in agriculture.

But when I asked the candidates (applicants) how many students they had in their agricultural colleges or universities, I was shocked to hear from one that it’s almost nil. They even planned on closing the agricultural program because of lack of enrollees.

I once joked that the president of a state agricultural college or university should be the dean of  the college of nursing because part of their enrollees came from the nursing department. That was odd!

So you see that the, agricultural  program has been relegated to the backseat or was unattended for so long! There is nothing wrong if we put the letter “A” in K-to-12’s current thrust: STEM.

It’s time our lawmakers consider including agriculture in the review of K-to-12 program. They need to  be more serious thinking of our development not in terms of overseas employment but of our development in accordance with our basic needs, focusing on food production. Our scholarship programs should be geared towards that end.

My suggestion to improve education are let pupils undergo assessment test after Grade 3 to find out if they can read and write, restore the NCEE and the government should hire more teachers.

Kasi, napako na tayo sa overseas employment. Nakalimutan na nating bumalik sa bukid na doon nagmula ang marami sa atin.  Our very survival depends on agriculture!

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We are seeing a number of people lining up for check-up at the newly opened Dagupan Diagnostic Center, recently opened by Mayor Belen Fernandez. Some of the walk-in patients are not even from Dagupan but from nearby towns in Pangasinan. They had to be told that they have to ask their respective mayors to also put up their own diagnostic centers

The facility offers X-ray, Echo Cardiogram and Ultra Sound services for free to indigent Dagupenos. Very soon, that facility will also offer Computed Tomography Scan (CT Scan for short) as soon as the technicians complete their training. Apparently, only the Villaflor Doctors Memorial  Hospital and the Region 1 Medical  Center have the CT Scan, kaya siniswerte ang mga Dagupeño !

I believe that the diagnostic center in Dagupan put up by Mayor Belen will serve as an example for other LGUs to follow.

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