Change the K-12 Education System! #EducationThatHelps #LearnNotLabor
Change the K-12 Education System! #EducationThatHelps #LearnNotLabor
Why this petition matters
Over the course of the last decade or so, a lot of people have criticized the hallmarks of K-12's implementation throughout the Republic of the Philippines. Many have remarked against several aspects such as the financial cost on the side of the student body, disregard for overall student wellness and individual strengths and weaknesses by identifying all metrics of skill and capability through a very broad spread of subjects and syllabi, the heavy focus on schoolwork as a means of measuring this exact metric while also negatively impacting their mental and physical health, and so on.
A lot of these have been addressed by numerous Filipinos with little to no response on the side of the people in power; mainly, The Department of Education. Either this is currently deaf ears or the beliefs of the collective department believe the system to be functional and well-implemented as it is now, the current standing is that the K-12 Curriculum, as it is currently instated, still needs a lot of work.
HOW TO GO ABOUT IT
Education as a foundation of our society cannot be understated in its impact on it. Whatever the students of today get to learn, it would shape them for decades to come. And it's important that what and how they learn these things be thought out carefully; if either or both aspects of education are maladapted, it can cause serious harm towards all other aspects of our country.
For starters, here are some examples where effective, and considerate implementation of education can give rise to positive changes:
- FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE - As it stands right now, a lot of people struggle with the usage of language (may it be their native tongue or a secondary language) when it comes to expression, both personal and otherwise. It's important that the curriculum we aim to have helps to mitigate this issue, but not by spoon-feeding language and communication simply through syllabus-necessary stories and grammar checks. A slower yet active and pragmatic move towards the understanding of both native and foreign language instead of a purely systematic method of teaching said language would help fresh, young minds to better comprehend the words that they speak. Moreover, this practical philosophy applies to other fields of education, not just language: Mathematics, Home Economics, Information Technology, and the Arts. Most of the texts that we use to teach about these topics are theoretical in nature; but by shifting towards a more practical approach, more students who are not as easily tuned with the abstract would more easily get acquainted with such complex topics. After all, experience is the heart of the mind.
- LEARN, NOT LABOR - While one of the more talked about points of argument against K-12, it is still always worth mentioning. As it stands, K-12's dependency on supplementary work and obligation has led to a lot of criticism from the student body, making note of its huge negative impact on their livelihoods when it comes to free time, mental and emotional state, and so on. While there are several ways to think about this problem, this petition has one statement: Learn, not labor. Too much focus lays on the idea that students need to do their work at a certain point in time to help them learn, but we believe that deadlines hurt more than they aid. This only sets a precedent that time is never our friend, and while right now this does apply to the world at large, fresh students do not need to sacrifice their personal time just to be able to pass their requirements. It is cruel to ask someone to focus on studying instead of getting the rest that they deserved. Moreover, it is unhelpful; several studies have shown that not letting people get the rest they need only leads to a detriment in performance both academic and practically speaking, at work. While education is more active than it is passive most of the time, it certainly does not have to be aggressive. The K-12 curriculum needs to lessen the workload, and instead make use of that extra time on making sure they get to fully comprehend what they are being taught. It does not help that the workload that is applied towards the student body can not possibly comply with the individual needs and quirks of each head; not everyone learns the same way, and that should be taken into effect.
- TEACH FOR THE WORLD OF TODAY - And we don't mean simply just teaching Information Technology. The needs and wants of the Philippines we live in now do not match up with what it thought necessary before. Times change, and along with it come new changes in regards to what we need to know, such as new industry skills or livelihood skills. On a broader scale, education as a whole has not progressed much since the Age of Industrialization, where certain jobs have proven unnecessary to be accounted for thanks to the help of automation and mechanics. Moreover, another group of subjects that we should be teaching and focusing on is more individualized and personal aspects, such as managing Social Media, a now integral part of society. Other less immediately applicable lessons too must be given the spotlight, like Mental and Emotional Health or Morality, Parenting, and so on. Acknowledging the more secluded parts of our lives that do not immediately progress or benefit the country is just as important as the skills that do. While the connection between education and job opportunity is also an important conversation, it is not a key point of our petition. Right now, what we want is a more focused and applicable curriculum.
- INTEREST, NOT INCOME - Right now, education frankly relies on the basis that you have good enough financial backing to even apply for education in the first place. As early as elementary schooling, tuition fees alone bear a steep price to pay for the families who wish to give their children a chance to be taught well. Considering that tuition fees are currently not at all the only price to pay when it comes to education (institution-recommended books, dormitory fees, school activity fees, etc.), it's important that the bar for entry for education be lowered. While this petition focuses mainly on the topic of curriculum, which does not usually haggle with the actual costs, accessibility of the information that is being taught alone should be more than enough of a goal worth striving for. For example, the aforementioned recommended books should have their necessity status be reconsidered for the sake of letting students rely on other tools in the classroom that could teach just as well.
WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW
Here are some bullet points to get started when it comes to sending the message. It's important that we start small and local, and then build our way up towards the higher-level institutions. It's more important that we get our voice heard somewhere instead of immediately heading to DepEd's doorstep! As part of the student body, you can...
- Talk with your fellow students and teachers. The best way to raise awareness about a certain issue is just to start conversations about it! Making sure that other people near you are just as informed about the negative impact a flawed curriculum can cause on the students is more than enough to spark a flame.
- Start more petitions like this one, outside or on the web! Websites like change.org are great places to organize with like-minded people for a specific cause such as this one. After starting the petition, getting people to sign for it is also a great way to quantify how much support you have locally over a specific issue.
- Campaign! The best way to think about campaigns is by seeing them as more involved petitions. Instead of just signing a form that acknowledges that you support the cause, rally people up! Get moving! Find people who have the means to combat this issue of educational malpractice, such as faculty members; education board members, so on and so forth. The better you can convince someone in power that this cause is worth fighting for, the better!
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE
Considering the current state of affairs, what with the Pandemic and all, it is more important than ever that we reconsider the way the system that teaches works. After all, Education is the cornerstone of everything we do. Just like this petition, we hope that you all do everything in your power to speak up against the problems that the K-12 Curriculum lays down with its implementation, and hope for the best in the future. And remember: Learn, not Labor.
Join us on our journey to help change the K-12 Curriculum for the better. Sign now!
All references and key topics can also be further investigated through this Padlet. Is K-12 Really Helping Our Education System?
Evaluating the Academic Performance of K-12 Students in the Philippines: A Standardized Evaluation Approach Almerino, P. M., et al., (2020)
ACTIVITY 7 in Empowerment Technologies, Hispaniae - Group 5 | Rivera, Velarde, Tingson, Reyes