DepEd’s New ‘Matatag’ Curriculum: Addressing the Learning Crisis in the Philippines
On Thursday, August 10, the Department of Education (DepEd) unveiled its innovative “Matatag” (Firm) curriculum. This initiative emerges as a strategic response to the prevailing learning crisis in the Philippines.
Key Features of the “Matatag” Curriculum:
- Focus on Core Skills: The revamped curriculum emphasizes decongesting foundational subjects. This approach allows learners to channel their attention on vital literacy and numeracy skills.
- 2024-2025: Introduction to kinder, grades 1, 4, and 7.
- 2025: Expansion to grades 2, 5, and 8.
- 2026: Incorporation of grades 3, 6, and 9.
- 2027: Integration of grade 10.
- By 2028, DepEd envisions a full-scale implementation across all levels. Notably, select schools will pioneer this curriculum, refining its facets for broader application.
Why the Shift?
Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte highlighted the concerning performance of Filipino learners in both national and international evaluations. A study by the World Bank revealed a staggering 90% of learners grappling with age-appropriate texts.
The crux of the issue? An overloaded curriculum. Teachers and students alike found themselves overwhelmed with a plethora of subjects. This congestion compromised the mastery of essential skills, such as reading and basic arithmetic. Jocelyn Andaya, the DepEd curriculum director, mentioned a significant 70% reduction in the current curriculum’s content.
What Stays and What Goes?
While the senior high curriculum (Grades 10-12) remains intact, it’s under review with changes expected by 2024. The restructured K-10 curriculum will spotlight:
- Reading and Literacy
- Makabansa (Patriotism)
- Good Manners and Right Conduct (GMRC)
Interestingly, the “Mother tongue” will transition from being a standalone subject to being integrated into other subjects, fostering a more localized approach to language instruction.
Private Schools and the “Matatag” Curriculum:
Private educational institutions can adopt the “Matatag” curriculum. However, they retain the flexibility to introduce additional subjects, like religious education, which public schools don’t mandate.
A novel feature of this curriculum is the infusion of “peace competencies.” Learners will be equipped with non-violent strategies and conflict-resolution skills, primarily through the “makabansa” (nationalist) subject.
Upcoming Learning Materials:
Preparations are underway for the 2024-2025 academic year, with DepEd rallying textbook suppliers to craft and refine the resources aligning with the new curriculum.