Directors from the Department of Education assured the Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM 2) that the rollout of the new K to 10 curriculum will be accomplished successfully, despite lingering questions surrounding the plans for the pilot, the procurement of learning resources, and teacher training, a few days before the start of classes on August 29.
“It’s a long time coming. We’ve been talking about this for many years but now it’s a reality. The implementation will make the difference between the success and, hopefully not, the failure of this MATATAG K to 10 curriculum,” EDCOM 2 Co-Chairperson and Senate Basic Education Committee Chairperson Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said during an EDCOM 2 hearing on Thursday.
In attendance were Dir. Jocelyn Andaya of the Bureau of Curriculum Development, Dir. Leila Areola of the Bureau of Learning Delivery, Director Jennifer Lopez of the National Educators Academy of the Philippines, Dir. Ariz Delson Cawilan of the Bureau of Learning Resources, and other officials from the Education Department.
Also in attendance were EDCOM 2 Advisory Council member Ms. Doris Fernandez Ferrer, Standing Committee members Fr. Jerome Marquez, Mr. Elvin Ivan Uy, and Prof. Therese Bustos, and Philippine Institute for Development Studies President Babes Orbeta.
Phased rollout of new K to 10 curriculum
According to the Dir. Andaya, the K to 10 curriculum will be implemented in a phased manner and only in 30 pilot schools in 6 regions around the Philippines, with the old curriculum to be used on August 29, and the new curriculum implemented two weeks later, once the pilot schools are selected. The phased implementation will cover Kindergarten and Grades 1, 4, and 7 for this school year.
“When class opens, students will be taught with the old curriculum and then there will be a shift?”, Gatchalian asked. “Sana it was the start of the school year para malinis na, para wala nang transition period”.
During the hearing, it was also revealed that, a few days before the start of the school year, there is still no final list of pilot schools. Andaya mentioned that pending the final decision, the pilot schools will be informed after school opening on August 29.
Learning materials not yet ready
The Commission also expressed concern over the readiness of learning materials for the pilot. “We might have a good curriculum but if the material is not there, it will be difficult to test whether the curriculum is good or not”, Gatchalian said.
According to Dir. Areola, for the pilot schools, the Department is still currently finalizing the lesson exemplars that they hope to distribute in the coming weeks.
The EDCOM shared that in its consultations, many teachers lamented that the rollout of the new curriculum should be done only if quality teaching resources and training, and if textbooks for students are already available, given their experience in the past.
Issues with national learning camp implementation
EDCOM 2 Executive Director Dr. Karol Mark Yee also touched upon the implementation of the National Learning Camp during the meeting. He pointed out that, when the Commission visited Taguig National High School, it was revealed that the students with that needed remediation – those who were most needed to be in the camps – were not there. The majority of students who opted to join the camps were those in consolidation and enrichment camps (with grades above 75), and not intervention camps.
“Is this the case across the country? Do we have figures to understand how many of our learners who needed the most support were in fact in our learning camps or not?,” asked Yee. Dir. Areola, who also serves as focal for the learning camps, shared that they do not have figures yet.
“How do we encourage our students who need it the most to attend? What supports would our students need during the school year to follow-through their gains? What are our plans for those who did not attend and were thus not able to catch up?”, Dr. Yee asked.
“While the [DepEd’s Learning Camps] are a laudable initiative, given finite resources, and the severe learning challenges faced by our learners, we hope that the DepEd could take stock of these learnings to improve subsequent learning recovery efforts”, he added.