Amid various curricular and logistical issues resulting from the K-12 enhanced basic education program, DLSU Chancellor Dr. Gerardo Janairo and Vice Chancellor for Academics Dr. Robert Roleda ensure that the University is currently preparing for its upcoming effects.
The K-12 program added two years to the previous four years of the high school level, resulting to four years for junior high school and two years for senior high school (SHS). The subjects to be taught in SHS include general education courses from the college level. As an effect, the required number of units for general education in tertiary education is reduced.
During SHS, students are free to choose which track they want to pursue, such as the Academic Track, Technical-Vocational Livelihood Track, Sports Track, or Arts and Design Track. However, despite the benefits projected to be gained from the program, it has been met with wide criticism, with many citing possible issue areas that still need to be addressed.
Professors to get displaced?
Since general education courses from the college level will be moved to SHS, there is a possibility that some professors who teach these subjects may get displaced. Chancellor Dr. Janairo expresses his hope that no faculty member be discharged, but nonetheless gives a rough estimate that 30 percent of the University’s faculty might be in danger of being displaced.
As of press time, Dr. Roleda says that the administration is currently working out a plan so that the professors will not get displaced. “There are many issues involved, such as the projection of how many faculty members will actually get displaced. Currently, we’re already projecting how many [professors] need help,” Dr. Roleda describes in Filipino.
As part of the program, Dr. Roleda says that high school teachers will also be provided seminars about the general education courses to help them adjust with the new curricula. This way, he says that the quality of college education would increase, because the general education courses are already tackled in SHS and the college curriculum can advance at once.
The high schools that will be supported by the University involve three layers in the De La Salle Philippine’s (DLSP) Connectivity Project. The first layer involves high schools closest to DLSU, which include DLSU – Integrated School, La Salle Green Hills, and La Salle Zobel. The second layer involves other DLSP schools and top feeder schools. Lastly, the third layer involves missionary schools, public schools, and schools under the Manila Archdiocesan and Parochial Schools Association (MAPSA).
Dr. Roleda says that the central issue with the Connectivity Project involves making sure that the general education courses are taught well to SHS teachers. “We have to set a curriculum and get involved with the instruction and assessment. This way, we’ll also know the caliber of senior high school students,” Dr. Roleda explains.
If, for instance, some professors do get displaced to SHS, they will no longer need to take the licensure exam for teachers (LET). “Actually, as long as you don’t teach full-time, you won’t need to take the LET anymore,” Dr. Roleda adds.
In any case, the target of the University is that no professors will get displaced due to the K-12 program.
Changes in the curriculum
The general education courses in the college level that will be moved to SHS are categorized into several “strands” of the K-12 program’s Academic Track, which include the Accountancy, Business and Management (ABM) Strand, Humanities and Social Sciences (HUMSS) Strand, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Strand, and General Academic Strand.
Marketing Management Department Vice Chair Joel Legaspi explains that many college subjects will be “leveled up” to avoid redundancy with the general education courses in SHS. In the College of Business, for example, because of the ABM Strand, subjects such as ACCTBA1 and MARKET1 will be moved to SHS.
“We must assure the parents and students that when they take MARKET1 [in college], it will be kind of a level up [version of] MARKET1. So we will not teach the basics and call it MARKET1 anymore, because it’s different,” Legaspi expounds.
In line with this, Dr. Roleda elaborates that the removal of certain college courses would depend on the decision of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). He further explains that if CHED decides to keep certain existing subjects in college, then a more advanced form of the subject will be taught. Otherwise, the succeeding courses will be taught.
Dr. Roleda also clarifies that although many general education courses will be moved to the high school level, the duration of degree programs would not necessarily be shortened. He posits that the curriculum might possibly be “decongested” and spread out throughout the terms, allowing for more time to learn each course.
The changes made are not only to address possible redundancy, but also to catch up with the international academic standards. “Other countries in ASEAN were all at 12 years compliance of basic education long before. We are the only ones who are new to this. In fact, we are the ones trying to catch up. That is what the K-12 is about. It’s about improving the education system,” Dr. Roleda explains in Filipino.
Dr. Janairo adds that although some might complain about the additional costs of more years of schooling, the benefits are worthwhile. He argues that the K-12 is designed to give high school students the skills needed to enter the workplace as soon as they graduate. He reasons that by adding two years to the high school level, the K-12 addresses the issue of high school graduates who are too young for employment.
Meanwhile the New Lasallian Core Curriculum (NLCC) has been undergoing developments since academic year (AY) 2013-2014. It was initiated as a response to the K-12 program, which moved general education courses to SHS. The courses under the NLCC are designed to be interdisciplinary and would include Understanding the Self, Purposive Communication, and The Contemporary World, among others.
Dr. Roleda, being a former member of the NLCC committee, now heads the development of the NLCC. He shares that there are some issues that still need to be resolved. Among these issues, Dr. Janairo points out the complications brought about by the ruling of the Supreme Court to impose a temporary restraining order (TRO) on CHED Memorandum Order No. 20, which calls for the implementation of a college curriculum that does not consider Filipino and Philippine Literature as core courses.
Most of the NLCC courses have already been designed, and Dr. Roleda shares that the new curriculum is ready for its first pilot testing. “[In the pilot testing] we will not necessarily change the general education subjects being offered. We will just be piloting and adjusting to the way of teaching [the NLCC courses],” Dr. Roleda explains.
However, because of the TRO, Dr. Janairo claims that the University is unable to “implement NLCC in its form” because the NLCC does not include six units of Filipino subjects. By AY 2018-2019, the NLCC is expected to be fully implemented in line with the K-12 program, but in the mean time, Dr. Janairo shares that the NLCC will be revisited to address issues raised in light of the TRO.