It’s ‘Unfair’ to Declare K to 12 Program a Failure – PBEd
Amid the ongoing review of the Philippines’ basic education program, the K to 12 system, the advocacy group PBEd has voiced its concerns. They argue that it’s “unfair” to hastily label the K to 12 education program in the Philippines as a failure without a comprehensive assessment.
During the organization’s Annual Membership Meeting, PBEd Executive Director Justine Raagas emphasized the need for a thorough evaluation before declaring the K to 12 program a failure. The meeting, held at the Shang-ril The Fort in Taguig City, also saw PBEd presenting its State of the Education Report. This report outlined the challenges faced by the country’s education system, a crucial aspect of understanding the effectiveness of the K to 12 program.
Raagas pointed out the ease with which critics label the K to 12 program as a “failure.” This perception, she argues, stems from the disappointing results of international assessments. However, she urges a more nuanced view. “We have to consider that the K to 12 program and its first entrants only joined in 2012,” she explained. The first batch of students who went through the complete K to 12 system only graduated in 2022, making it premature to declare the K to 12 program a failure.
She further argues that it’s unjust to label the program as a failure when the graduates who have entered the workforce were products of an older system. This brings us to a critical question: How do we define ‘failure’ in the context of the K to 12 program?
Despite the reported challenges in the implementation of the K to 12 program, Raagas underscores the importance of identifying what constitutes a “failure” in this context. “Does it mean it’s the employability side, or does it mean it’s the learning poverty, or they are not able to read or write?” she asked. These issues, she believes, can be addressed with proper implementation, thereby preventing the K to 12 program from being a failure.
Raagas also cautioned against radical changes to the system. She believes that there are areas within the system that can be improved without a complete overhaul. “We can actually do some implementation and pivots within the system,” she added.
For PBEd, it’s valuable to consider what other countries are doing with their K to 12 programs. “When we moved to a K to 12 system, we were one of the last three countries in the world which were doing K to 10,” she explained. The other two countries have also transitioned to the K to 12 system, aligning with international standards.
Raagas warned that if the Philippines were to revert to the K to 10 system and abandon the K to 12 program, it would be a significant step backward, leading to the risk of the K to 12 program being seen as a failure.