K12 Curriculum

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Date Submitted: 09/25/2012 05:14 AM

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Section CC

K to 12: More than just decongesting the curriculum

By: Ricardo Ma. Duran Nolasco

Philippine Daily Inquirer

A few days ago, Deputy Majority Leader Magtanggol Gunigundo of Valenzuela City sent me an e-mail about the K to 12 bill pending at the 15th Congress and its repercussions to mother tongue-based multilingual education (MTBMLE). The measure was taken up at the joint meeting of the committees on higher education and on basic education with Education Secretary Armin Luistro and Commission on Higher Education Chair Patricia Licuanan in attendance.

At that meeting, Representative Gunigundo asked Secretary Luistro to show any research evidence to support the Department of Education’s position for an “early-exit” model on first language (L1) instruction. This weak model provides for the use of the learners’ L1 as the medium of instruction (MOI) up to Grade 3 only, after which learners are abruptly shifted to English and Filipino as teaching mediums. Critics of this model have amply demonstrated that it takes six to eight years of L1 instruction before learners develop their literacy and academic skills in that language. This “six to eight” model of L1 instruction is called a “late-exit” model because learners are also taught one or two second languages (L2) to prepare them for high school where the L2 eventually become the primary MOI.

Luistro admitted that DepEd did not have any research data to back its position and that he was not prepared to declare that an early-exit scheme was superior to a long-exit program. He then said that he was open to the idea of expanding L1 instruction throughout the basic education cycle and of deleting any wording in the bill that would peg L1 instruction to an early exit program.

Luistro was also surprised to learn that the 10-year basic curriculum was decongested not too long ago in 2002. Since K to 12 desires to decongest the curriculum, Gunigundo requested DepEd to show the joint committee what the old...