“There have been changes and there will be more changes,” Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones reaffirmed on Wednesday as the country draws closer to welcoming the first batch of graduates of the K to 12 Basic Education Program in April.
With the increasing demands of the ever shifting world, the Education chief emphasized that catching up with change can no longer be done on a “one at a time” basis. Thus, despite calls to abolish the K to 12 program, with the support of President Rodrigo Duterte and under the leadership of Secretary Briones, DepEd pushed through with the program, as it balances between solving problems of the elementary and junior high school levels and dealing with the birth pains of implementing senior high school.
“Sa Department, what I’m trying to introduce and strengthen is the sense of urgency, kasi ang gusto ayusin muna lahat bago pumunta sa sunod na antas pero at the rate things are changing and the demands on education are accelerating, the demands of the public is increasing. Kung maghihintay tayo kailan maaayos ang Grades 1 to 10, baka maghintay tayo forever considering our political, social, and economic systems. By the time ma-solve mo yung isang bagay, mayroon nang ibang problemang lumalabas,” Briones pointed out.
The Secretary further noted that the Department is undergoing several organizational reforms, specifically in the accounting, governance, and procurement systems, which she acknowledged as difficult but a prompt necessity.
Given the wide gap in catching-up efforts, the Secretary recognized the concern, criticism, support, and assistance of groups and individuals who stake a claim on education. Nevertheless, she underscored that the challenges do not discount the many changes that have already happened.
“Karamihan sa atin mayroong sariling impression sa education: Mayroong paniwala na kung halimbawa private sector mas magaling kaysa public sector; mayroong paniwala na talagang bulok ang sistema, etc. Palagay ko, this is the year of our Lord 2018, hindi naman tayo makasabi na walang nangyayari, hindi naman natin masasabi na walang nagawa yung predecessor ko. Lahat yan talaga naghahabol tayo, kung maghintay tayo kung kalian magawa ang isang bagay bago tumuloy sa susunod na problema, maiiwanan talaga tayo ng panahon at demand sa edukasyon,” Briones stated.
Amid criticisms, the Secretary encouraged stakeholders: “Yung mga dati nating paniniwala, hindi naman pwedeng ganun na lang yan forever yung tingin natin sa edukasyon. We are doing ourselves a disservice if we insist that we are failing in education. We’re doing all that we can to correct whatever [needs to be corrected]. We are not saying we are perfect or your [critics’] statistics is perfect, but we are doing all that we can and that has to be recognized!”