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Sotto, two 19th Congress senators welcome K-12 review

Outgoing Senate President Vicente Sotto III and 19th Congress Senators Nancy Binay and Francis Escudero on Tuesday welcomed the incoming administration's plan to review the K to 12 curriculum.

"I think, it's a good move. Mapapag-aralang mabuti 'yan. Iba kasi 'yung nag-propose e, ibang admin ang nag-propose[It will be studied closely. Another administration had proposed it], the administration before this present administration...The incoming administration would be in a very good position to review and study the K to 12," Sotto said in an interview.

The outgoing lawmaker said the next Department of Education leadership must assess if the curriculum must revert to the four-year secondary education.

"Siguro yung curriculum, ano ba 'yon? Ini-spread out lang ba o talagang kasya lang na four years na high school?" he asked.

[Was the curriculum just spread out, can it actually fit in four years of high school?]

Senator Nancy Binay also said that while it is "high time" to conduct a review of the K to 12 curriculum, the evaluation should not be intended to stop its implementation but to find ways to improve it.

"Kailangan talaga natin na talagang 12 years ang schooling ng mga bata kasi if I remember it correctly, napagusapan namin 'yan sa floor na nagiging disadvantage doon sa mga kababayan natin na nagta-trabaho abroad kasi dati may kakulangan sila sa number of years na pumasok sila," she explained.

(We really need 12 years of [pre-tertiary] schooling for the children because, if I remember it correctly, we discussed it on the floor that it was a disadvantage for Filipinos working abroad that they have fewer years of schooling.)

Binay, who sits as a board member of the Philippine Science High School, said the K to 12 curriculum was effective in the country's top science school.

Meanwhile, Senator-elect Francis Escudero said the law implementing the K to 12 program has a provision which mandates the review of the curriculum.

"The law itself mandates a review in order to see its implementation, efficacy, viability and sustainability. It's actually about time," he said in a text message.

"This is especially true given that we are reeling from the effects of a worldwide pandemic that gravely affected the education of the Filipino youth as well as their mental health," he added.

On Monday, outgoing Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Vice President-elect Sara Duterte, who was named as the incoming DepEd secretary, will face a very difficult challenge, claiming that 90% of Filipino students aged 10 are not able to read.

In an interview, Duterte disclosed that she was instructed by Marcos to review the Department of Education’s implementation of the K to 12 curriculum.

The K to 12 program was pushed under the administration of late former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. This was part of his 10-point proposal for fixing the Philippines' basic education system.

The new curriculum mandates Filipino students to undergo one year in kindergarten, six years in primary school, four years in junior high school and two years in senior high school.

Duterte earlier said she would look into three issues as Education chief including the effects of the pandemic on learners, the full implementation of face-to-face classes, and a thorough discussion on the K to 12 program.

Some Filipinos have already expressed their desires for the direction Duterte will take as the next DepEd Secretary. Some asked Duterte to stop the K to 12 program while others said there should be no erasure of history.

Duterte said she is willing to have dialogues and consultations with teachers and parents' groups to tackle the country's education system. — BM, GMA News