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The first batch of Grade 11 students is now in the basic education system in our country as prescribed by the K-to-12 education reform of the government. While this reform is historic because it is the first in the country, its real value cannot and should not be measured simply by being one.

The overriding justification for the additional two years in the basic education program in our country is the improvement in the “competitiveness” of our students as most countries in the world have the same number of years for their basic education programs.

Our government should not stop at adding two years of basic education for our students. While the number of years is indeed an established measure of the value of education programs, competitiveness is not limited to it. What is obviously more important if the quality of the education program itself – the effectiveness of the formal education program in harnessing the skills of our students and equipping them with knowledge that they need to establish and be successful in their chosen careers.

What exactly is the government doing to improve the quality of basic education in our country? The government should look into not just the quality of the additional two years in high school but the quality of education from Kindergarten up to Grade 12.

The government should recognize and admit that there are serious concerns about the quality of basic education in our country. For example, even if students study English from grade school to high school, many “graduates” of basic education program in our country cannot even master the use of basic English grammar.

Filipinos will never really be educationally competitive unless serious reforms on the quality of education are pursued.

On another note, the government should immediately assess the effect of the K-to-12 program on the matter of students dropout rate. It is sad that the Department of Education itself admits that thousand of those who finished Grade 10 this year will not continue with their senior high school education. Is this acceptable to our government?

Should it be acceptable to us? What will the government do about this?

Free basic education is guaranteed by our Constitution. How “free” is basic education in our country that thousand of students are forced to drop out from school because of poverty. The K-to-12 program is feared to worsen the students dropout rate in out country. If this turns out to be true, we are not really reforming education in our country. (Dr. Ramon Ricardo A. Roque, CESOI, Diplomate)