Four years into the K to 12 program, implementation still haphazard – Teachers

“The burden is on us. The Department of Education wants the teachers to be more creative and innovative in teaching. But we only had five days of training. Teaching materials and guidelines were not even provided.” Luisa Ramirez, grade 9 teacher

By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – It is now the fourth year of implementation of the K to 12 program and yet public school teachers are still complaining of the lack of training in the implementation of the program from the Department of Education.

The K to 12 program began with the implementation of “universal kindergarten” in public schools all over country during school year 2011-2012. The following school year, the new curriculum for grades 1 and 7 were also implemented. For school year 2013-2014, the new curriculums for grades 2 and 8 were initiated. For this school year, the new curriculums for grades 3 and 9 would be instituted.

The Department of Education (DepEd) provided five days of training for teachers on the new curriculums during the last week of May.

Makeshift classroom at Payatas B Elementary School. (Photo from ACT Teachers' Partylist/ Bulatlat.com)
Makeshift classroom at Payatas B Elementary School. (Photo from ACT Teachers’ Partylist/ Bulatlat.com)

“The burden is on us. The Department of Education wants the teachers to be more creative and innovative in teaching. But we only had five days of training. Teaching materials and guidelines were not even provided,” Luisa Ramirez, 50, grade 9 teacher at F. Calderon Integrated High School, said.

Louie Zabala, president of the Manila Public School Teachers Association (MPSTA), said the first two days were dedicated to understanding the concepts. During the last three days of the training, trainers gave inputs on micro-teaching and semi-demo teaching. Zabala, a grade 9 teacher in F. Calderon Integrated High School, added that the five-day training is not enough for them to integrate the principles, methodologies and styles in the new curriculum.

Ramirez said she is still groping how to teach the subjects that are not part of her specialization. Ramirez teaches chemistry, but under the K to 12 program, she is expected to teach other branches of science as well, such as earth and space, biology, and physics. “My specialization is in chemistry and my knowledge in other branches of science is not enough to enable me to teach it properly,” Ramirez said in an interview with Bulatlat.com. “I studied chemistry for four years as my specialization. It is impossible to learn everything about the other branches of science because each of these is being taught for four years in college.”

Zabala said the division-level training in Manila was held in a poorly ventilated venue. He said two teachers died of heart attack because of the heat during the training. “There was no proper ventilation and electric fans were lacking,” Zabala said.

Alex Delos Santos, 29, a grade eight science teacher, lamented that there are no follow-up trainings for teachers who have previously taught the K to 12 curriculum. “The previous trainings that we got are not enough. And these trainings are being compressed in only one week. It could have been better if we would take a masters program or another course so we could be more efficient in teaching the new topics,” Delos Santos told Bulatlat.com in an interview.

DepEd not ready

“Clearly, the DepEd is not prepared to train our teachers. Trainings should have done in a conducive environment. The quality of education is once again at stake here,” Zabala said, adding that teachers also experienced information overload because the training lasted up to eight hours a day.

“Teachers are always prepared to teach the students. But in terms of implementing the new curriculum, the DepEd appears unprepared. Trainings for teacher have not been sufficient; teaching modules and guidelines are lacking,” Zabala added.

According to the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), there are no books for grades 7 and 9 students.

In a statement, Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon criticized the “haphazard implementation of the new curriculum,” adding that teachers and students suffer from it.

Charlotte Velasco, spokeswoman of League of Filipino Students (LFS) said, “By forcing the youth to suffer the worst schooling conditions and depriving the majority of the population their right to education, Aquino shows that he doesn’t aspire to mould learned individuals out of our students. Instead, he enforces policies such as K to 12 in order to produce semi-skilled labourers and peddle them to foreign capitalists. The whole education sector is fast becoming a large exploitative machine,” Velasco said.

Zabala added the DepEd told them that teaching the new curriculum should be technology-based. This means using gadgets such as USB drives, laptops, projectors, among others. However, Zabala said no budget was allotted for this mode of teaching.

“Because of the DepEd’s directive, teachers are forced to loan just to buy gadgets to use for teaching,” Zabala said.

Encarnacion Sicat, 57, a teacher for 28 years, said that she has spent almost all her savings not only for paying loans but also in buying materials needed for her classes. “I needed materials for my teaching so that the students will know what I am talking about,” Sicat told Bulatlat.com in an interview.

She said she only takes home P3,000 a month ($68.34) from her salary. “Yes our salary is P18,549 ($422.53) a month but there are loans I have to pay. I have children to send to school; they are both in college. I could not afford to send them to college without getting a loan.”

“And the DepEd wants us to innovate. I agree with that, but the department should provide funds for teaching equipment and materials,” Sicat said. She is a Technology and Livelihood Education (LTE) teacher and teaches welding. She said she bought materials such as a claw hammer and ballpen hammer using her own money.

The ACT has been demanding for a salary increase for teachers. ()

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