Enhanced K+12 Basic Education Program

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The Enhanced K+12 Basic Education Program, commonly known as K+12, is the new basic education model to be implemented partially starting in the school year 2011 to 2012. It seeks to offer mandatory and universal kindergarten to all five-year-old Filipino children and to extend high school education by two years.

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Rationale

In a discussion paper released by the Department of Education (DepEd) on 5 October 2010, the primary motive behind K+12 is to “enhance the quality of basic education in the Philippines” extending basic education by two years.

DepEd explains that the four-year high school program in the Philippines is “inadequate” in preparing high school graduates for the “world of work” and “higher education”, citing a National Statistics Office report that 70.9 per cent of the unemployed work force are high school graduates. Furthermore, with a four-year high school program, graduates are still underaged for work.

DepEd added that the Washington Accord and the Bologna Accord requires a 12-year basic education program, making the 10-year education program in the Philippines “insufficient.” The Philippines is one of three countries in the world with such a program.

Implementation

Starting on school year 2011 to 2012, the K+12 will be implemented by introducing the universal kindergarten program to pre-school kids aged five. The six-year elementary program will be retained.

In 2016, the six-year high school program (four years in junior high and two years in senior high) component of K+12 will follow. It is expected that high school students under the program will graduate by the age of 18, the legal age in the Philippines.

Challenges and criticisms

Critiques warn the government that it is not yet ready to implement K+12 for various reasons.

According to the Teachers' Dignity Coalition, the “entire system [of Philippine education] is not ready” for K+12 due to lack of budget, teachers, and facilities, aggravated by the increase of enrollees in its first year of implementation.

Furthermore, in a statement issued at the opening of classes on 6 June 2011, militant student group Sanlakas Youth questioned the government's “bias” on the 12-year basic education international standard while allocating only 2.44 percent of the country's gross national product, which is below the United Nations standard of six percent.

In 2010, when the program was introduced, former Ateneo de Manila University president Bienvenido Nebres said that K+12 “does not make sense.”

According to Chito Salazar, president of Philippine Business for Educations, the government must spend P65 billion per year to fund a K+12 system. DepEd's budget proposal of P300 billion pesos for school year 2011 to 2012 was slashed to P207 billion.

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Citation

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