K-to-12 and Restructuring Higher Education

Manila Bulletin, May 8, 2013 | Go to article overview

K-to-12 and Restructuring Higher Education


If the K-to-12 educational reforms are implemented along the priorities envisioned in the roadmap, they will undoubtedly turn out as the most important legacy of the Aquino administration. Among others, such as enhancing the climate for foreign investment, it would provide the long-term solution to the festering labor woes, as well as improve the competitiveness of our educational system in the world market. But if and when the goals are achieved, this reform, the end-product of recommendations from policy studies undertaken over the past decades, would eventually address the current mismatch between existing competencies and the employment requirements of our economy.

The K-to-12 solution (which will add two years) is primarily intended to enable the graduate to fit in the present work environment - in industry and agriculture, the principal providers of employment. Dropout rates in higher education are expected to decrease as there would be fewer entrants to the university or polytechnic level. Those who do not enter the labor force will take up further vocational-technical training.

But to flesh out the vision demands more than restructuring the system through curricular reforms. In the next few years, the challenge consists of a radical shift in governance as well as a shift in financing (additional public investment and institutionalizing public-private partnership, including creative use of existing infrastructure resources ), a shift in locus of decision-making (more decentralized collective management involving school boards represented by stakeholders in communities), flexibility and willingness of stakeholders - parents, students, teachers in accepting and experimenting with innovations in curriculum content and methodology, re-tooling teachers (in all three domains - knowledge, mindsets, and skills), and willingness to learn from experience of other countries. Every sector must also recognize two important reform areas that need to be addressed. In a society that has always equated education with schooling, it is important to change this mindset to the reality that nonformal education - or learning that occurs outside the classroom (from media and new information technology, among others) as well as continuing education, are equally important if one were to "survive and prevail" in our global economy. Another finding concerns the centrality of creativity in the learning process, and therefore the need to continually explore new research findings as well as scientific breakthroughs that could contribute towards the enhancement of creativity. …

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