MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - The Department of Education (DepEd) on Tuesday clarified that the government's proposed 12-year education cycle will be introduced gradually.
The DepEd said the 12-year education cycle or the "Kindergarten + 12" program aims to match basic education cycles in most countries in the world, and to produce skilled and "employable" high school graduates.
In a press briefing, the DepEd unveiled its proposed K-6-4-2 model, which involves kindergarten, 6 years of elementary education, 4 years of junior high school (grades 7 to 10), and 2 years of senior high school (grades 11-12).
It said that the 2 years of senior high school intend to provide time for students to consolidate acquired academic skills and competencies.
The curriculum will allow specialization in science and technology, music and arts, agriculture and fisheries, sports, business, and entrepreneurship, among others.
Those who will go through the 12-year program will program will get an elementary diploma (6 years), a junior high school diploma (4 years) and a senior high school diploma (2 years).
A full 12 years of basic education will eventually be required for entry into tertiary level education (entering freshmen by school year 2018-2019) or 7 years from now.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro clarified that it will take a 4- to 5-year transition period before the program is implemented.
"Ang reform would take a transition [of] 4 to 5 years so as not to be disruptive... we are undergoing a major curriculum review [and it] will take a while before it can be implemented," he said.
Universal kindergarten will be offered starting SY 2011 - 2012. By SY 2012 -2013, the new curriculum will be offered to incoming grade 1 students, as well as to incoming junior high school students.
The target of DepEd is to put in place the necessary infrastructure and other necessary arrangements needed to provide senior high school (SHS) education by SY 2016-2017.
Luistro added that this is not final yet as they will still go to the different stakeholders and regions throughout the country to discuss this proposal. He said they hope to finish the talks by February 2011.
The additional 2 years, which will be applied in 2016 is estimated to cost taxpayers P62.8 billion.
At the moment, the DepEd is targeting to build 150,000 additional classrooms as President Benigno Aquino III promised by 2012.
They have also set the date for the implementation of the new curriculum in grade 1 and first year high school.
In the coming days, Luistro will also discuss with lawmakers if a new law needs to be enacted, or whether an amendment to the law on basic education will suffice to accommodate the new program.
'Political will needed'
Luistro also said that he did expect opposition to the proposal.
"Hindi ko naman inaakala na walang oposisyon. Ang talagang kailangan ngayon ay napag-uusapan ito, at [dapat] meron tayong political will," he said.
"Kung walang mali sa ating sistema, bakit ang mga high shool grad hindi tinatanggap ng mga local na pamahalaan? Sana magawa natin ito sa K+12 para 'pag nag-graduate ng high school ay ready na sila na magtrabaho at employable sa kanila," he said.
Luistro also reminded the public that the Philippines is the only Asian country that has a 10-year basic education cycle. With reports from Niña Corpuz, ABS-CBN News, and the ABS-CBN News Channel