Yesterday marked the beginning of school year 2015-2016 for public elementary and high schools nationwide. With the full implementation of K+12 curriculum set to happen from 2016 to 2018 with the addition of Grades 11 and 12 otherwise known as senior high school or SHS, this academic year might as well be regarded as the proverbial calm before the storm.
During his 2010 presidential campaign, then-Senator Benigno Aquino III included education reform in his platform. In his ‘Social Contract with the Filipino People,’ Aquino stressed that education should be “the central strategy for investing in our people, reducing poverty, and building national competitiveness.”
In other words, the administration is saying that implementing the K to 12 system (which is already being used in other nations) is a major means by which the goal of enhancing Filipinos’ global competitiveness can be achieved.
Despite this noble objective, many sectors oppose the implementation of K+12 for various reasons. For example, high school students will now have to stay longer in the secondary level by two years, and this anyway you look at it will be an additional burden to parents.
What’s not getting as much attention from the media is the policy’s effect on those teaching in college. Since there will be no secondary graduates for 2016 and 2017 (as mentioned above, they will instead proceed to Grades 11 and 12), tertiary institutions are expecting to get very few new students during those years.
In this scenario, colleges and universities has to layoff instructors, particularly those handling general education subjects that will be moved to SHS. Thousands of tertiary institutions across the country will be offering SHS beginning next year to save the jobs of tenured faculty members.
It’s a gamble with low probability of success since most secondary institutions are also offering SHS. Also, it’s very rare for parents to transfer their kids to another HS midway through. And by the way, what about non-tenured instructors?
“Retooling” is one buzzword policy-makers like to throw around these days. Meaning to say, college instructors who are non-education majors should enroll in a teaching certificate program where they’ll earn the 18 units necessary to take the Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET). That way, they can eventually teach in SHS.
There had been proposals for non-licensed educators to be allowed to teach in elementary and secondary temporarily provided they get a professional license after two or three years. However, as of March 2015, the Department of Education is still requiring applicants for teaching positions in public schools a professional license.
(PS: I rarely write about something that can affect me directly. For a twenty-something educator like me, there’s no problem switching careers. But if you have a family and teaching is your only bread and butter, you can’t afford the uncertainty caused by K+12.)