Last Wednesday, it was the first day that my children went to school here in the Philippines. Unlike in the Middle East, where the sun usually shines brightly, here, their first day was met with rainy weather. It's a good thing that in their school, vehicles are allowed to park in their covered basketball court so the students can get off or on their ride without getting wet or walking on wet ground.
Because this school year, the Department of Education of the Philippines went ahead with the implementation of the K-12 education program, all my 5 children would have to undergo 2 additional years of schooling. I've heard both pros and cons on this issue. The major advantage I heard is the adoptation of the 12 years of schooling followed by almost all countries in the world which meant we'll be following a global standard in education. As for the disadvantages, a major issue is the lack of readiness in the implementation as we can see a great lack in school facilities, teachers and the necessary curriculum.
In the K-12 program, a child is only required one year of Kindergarten (by age 5) and then can go on to Grade 1 (by age 6). My daughter Janel is turning 6 this year and already had Nursery and Kindergarten 1. She was given an entrance exam for Grade 1 and passed though she was asked to get more practice reading at home.
I had homeschooled Janel's 3 older siblings previously using the Kindergarten curriculum from the US. If I would compare that with the Philippine curriculum Janel had, the Kindergarten curriculum from the US, which I taught in more or less one year, had covered all that is taught in Nursery, Kinder 1 and 2 (or Prep) in the Philippine curriculum.
What am I pointing out? Janel needed to practice more reading because what was taught until Kinder 1 was not enough to cover all that she needed to learn before going to Grade 1 unlike in the one year Kindergarten curriculum in the US. If the Philippines would like to implement the K-12 program as in the other countries, the DepEd would have to seriously consider changing the curriculum for the Kindergarten. The lessons should not be divided in 3 preschool levels - Nursery, Kinder 1 and 2. I have asked from teachers in their previous school if there were any changes in the curriculum for preschool in the K-12 program and learned that there wasn't any. Though I'm not sure if this is true for all Philippine schools.
This is the reason why we have opted not to enroll my youngest daughter, now 3 and half, in preschool here. I would like to personally homeschool her so we could save 2 years of school (Nursery and Kinder 1) fees and just let her take an exam to go into Kindergarten 2 (unless the DepEd has made the necessary changes) just like her 3 older siblings who were homeschooled. I just hope that Janel won't have such a hard time now that she's in Grade 1. If she does well, then praise God.
This is an additional input in my blog post after reading the Official Gazette about the K to 12 Basic Education Program implemented by the DepEd. I read there that the government was working on a Universal Kindergarten Curriculum and had it mandatory for School year 2012-2013. I am just not sure if it's already in place in the public schools. I don't think it is in private schools yet though it mentioned there that the implementation plan of the K-12 program might be different in private schools (since most private schools already offer 12 years of basic education - 2 years of Kindergarten, 6 or 7 years of Grade school and 4 years of high school).
The implementation of the K-12 is probably also the reason why I've noticed that there are Daycare programs now in barangays to cater to 4 year olds and below. Until now, Kindergarten is not If you're interested to know how the curriculum development should progress, you can read about it on the Official Gazette article linked above.