This academic year 2012-2013, The K to 12 Basic Education Program (K+12), which will add two more additional years to the current curriculum, is in the works of implementation.
While many sectors such as departments in the collegiate level that may be affected by the reduction of the number of General Education (GE) subjects have voiced concern, other sectors have gone unnoticed. This includes the country’s thousands of international students who may also have to adapt to the new curriculum.
Earning two years
A Korean student taking up management in College of Business (COB) attests, “Although there are many considerations that a student should look into, I think one of the determining factors to study in the Philippines is to earn two years than other fellow Korean students in South Korea.” The student is pointing to the fact that prior to the implementation of K+12, many Korean students opt to study in the Philippines to avoid having to pay for an additional two years of education if they studied back in Korea.
Filipino Department professor Dr. Herrera Felicitas, who has been teaching Basic Filipino for International students for decades in DLSU notes, “I think that the influx of international students will certainly be affected [especially in the case of Koreans] because the system of basic education will be the same [as theirs]. At present, Korean students skip two years of basic education while they are learning English, which is the main reason they are studying in the Philippines.”
“Earning two years” for Koreans, means they get a head start in their careers compared to others who have chosen to study back in South Korea, which uses a similar K+12 curriculum.
For many years now, DLSU has been the target choice of many South Koreans, and while the K+12 implementation in the Philippines would help the country reach a global standard, international students as well as Filipino students at DLSU have mixed feelings about the curriculum shift.
International students speak out
Alfred (II, AB-DSM), a Nigerian student, believes that the K+12 system in Nigeria has benefited him. He says, “I feel more mature and competent because of 12 year education system, and it has become a good foundation in my undergraduate studies.”
While many international students, fresh from abroad, take their undergraduate degrees at DLSU, many also choose to study in the Philippines before entering college at international schools for the secondary level like Choi Ji Yeon (I, AB-ISA).
Ji Yeon, however, shares a problem she encountered because of the ten-year program in the Philippines. She elaborates, “Putting aside whether we finish studies early or not, I think K+12 would be beneficial. After I graduated high school here, I was planning to have my undergraduate study abroad. However, my selection of schools was very limited because of ten year education; I needed to fill another two years more.”
She furthers, “From that experience, I think it is beneficial to have K+12 in the Philippines. Not all of international students who come at a young age plan to finish until college in the Philippines.”
Jeong Yu Rim (II, BSE-ENG) believes, “K+12 is good for both international and Filipino students. One of the reasons why Korean students in the Philippines are far lacking in mathematical skill than the students in the country is because of the 10-year curriculum. The previous curriculum made the subjects taught in a choppy manner, where nothing is deeply dug down. Even in the University, frosh students are required to take general courses like science, mathematics, etc… but, with the implementation of K+12, students in the University will have more avenues to focus in their specialization because such general courses will already be taught in high school.”
Other factors in play
DLSU’s Global Education Specialist and Unit Head of the International Center Reodel Masilungan, notes that his office does not have a projection of the change in the influx of international students upon the K+12 implementation, as he believes that the University will not see a significant change.
Although they are aware of the factor of time international students take into consideration, Reodel has high hopes in other factors that would encourage international students to choose to study in the Philippines, specifically, DLSU.
Reodel, who has handled several international students, believes that factors such as the diversity of courses offered, the English language denominator, and even the cost of education, among others, would still make DLSU and Philippine educational institutions in general a contender for the international student education market.
He shares that for every international student that refuses DLSU, a slot for a Filipino would in turn be available. He acknowledges that international students make it slightly less than five percent of the student populace. Having international students is an important factor to DLSU’s vision of being a world-class university.