Philippine education has undergone several changes, modifications, innovations, and customizations. From its crude beginnings wherein enculturation was the utmost objective, the Philippine educational system [its frameworks and curricula] has stood up and has adapted to the changes and needs to be brought about by the tides of time. We have witnessed the drastic moves initiated by the Department of Education (DepEd) to continuously cater to the needs of the learners in the 21st century. A lot of programs have been launched, but one of which has taken a great toll: the implementation of the K to 12 Program which aims to ensure that the teaching process, learning process, and ultimately the nation-building process is properly carried on and observed.
To begin with, the learners in the 21st century or what is more popularly called the “second renaissance” have peculiar needs which no previous generation has experienced. The advent of new forms of technology and the unique character traits make the whole teaching process all the more diverse and challenging. With students manipulating a lot of devices in the present era, administrators, curriculum makers, teachers, and soon-to-be teachers have to keep up and be able to make use of these recent breakthroughs in technology. More so, these things have to be integrated with whatever specific curriculum we have to offer. We have to make sure that the needs of the students are kept in check and are addressed to the best of our abilities. Our schools, stakeholders, community, and other learning institutions have to work all together to see what’s best for the learners for them to reach their optimum potential. And in framing out a specialized curriculum to resolve these modern exigencies, we have to make sure that the following general components are met: coherence, sequence, core knowledge, specific knowledge, rigid criteria, high-performance expectations, inquiry-based pedagogical method, hands-on activities as a guide in teaching and learning, and values integration. Then, we have to update our knowledge to keep in track with the latest teaching trends, strategies, techniques, and information concerning our profession. And for this reason, the K12 Program is launched to help in addressing contemporary demands, concerns, problems, and challenges that go with this new epoch.
In a likewise manner, we also have to give due importance to the key phrase: “learning process” since it doesn’t ring a bell that much to a commoner. Like when we hear this particular shibboleth, we ask the question: what exactly do we mean by it? Then, we tend to give an answer which goes like, “It’s when a teacher discusses a lesson, and we listen to it.” or “It’s when we are told to read some pages of a book and memorize the facts therein.” But by now, we know that all of these answers are a far outcry to the question. With our considerable learning nowadays, we are already informed that the learning process isn’t just the delegation of tasks by the teacher to a student or students. It is a cycle in which the teacher primarily acts as a facilitator of the learning activity. The students are the main participants in the cycle, and they have to discover for themselves the knowledge and the skills they need to acquire. In this process, the learning activity is more proactive and engaging on the students’ end; therefore, the retention of the skills and information is comparably higher than the traditional way of learning. The students can be more expressive, liberal, and exploratory which in a way is a good thing because they see their environment as a big laboratory. On the other side of the coin, teachers like us get to learn and discover new things as well, possibly on how to be more effective in our teaching or getting new knowledge as we go on with the whole learning experience. We have to be more creative in finding ways and solutions to help our students get the best learning that they should possibly have and to deliver positive results.
Fundamentally, the goal of education and its programs is the continuous building of our nation. The different curricula that we have and the implementation of the K to 12 Program are geared towards the relentless development of our country. We are taking bold measures to ensure that the children and students of today are going to be the leaders and the prime movers of the society in the future. We are educating them to be equipped with the necessary skills and values that would help this country to prosper several generations from now. Hence, we, teachers, have the greatest responsibility in shaping our learners to become responsible citizens—the ones who uphold upright living and the ones who show great concern as to where this nation should be taken. Truly, our curriculum should not just outline the skills, performance, and competencies that are expected from the learners; it should also contain the necessary attitudes and values which are expected to go along with these skills to check and balance their holistic development. The gravity of our role is no joke since it concerns not just the students but all of us. If we fail to do our responsibility, it is expected that our country would suffer. However, if we succeed, we can expect a much better society to live in.
In conclusion, the 21st century is an age we still have to discover. And with its presence, we are confronted by new problems, demands, concerns, and challenges that have been brought by the unavoidable changes of time. In terms of education though, we are dealing with new perplexities in pedagogical methods, curriculum implementation, teaching-learning process, and nation-building process. We are dealing with completely different types of learners who call for specific needs and attention. We are faced with fast-changing modernization as made evident by the arrival of new forms of technology. And for these reasons, some of us are afraid to take on the challenge; however, we can’t just let this fear eat us all up alive. We need to change, and to adapt to our new environment to survive in this new period. We need to cope with the situation so we can help the present generation and the other generations to come. We have to remember that we have the responsibility of continuing the posterity of our country—its people and their welfare. All these things should be taken into consideration by all stakeholders, institutional heads, and community leaders before vamping a particular type of curriculum.