Technology and progressive thinking continue to affect the educational system in the country. There might still be institutional issues regarding how this system is being managed, but the rapid evolution of technology, for the most part, is causing a number of changes.
Its accessibility through the Internet mainly influenced how courses and subjects are being taught in schools and universities. Its influence did not only manifest in different tools and innovations but as well as how learning is perceived and taught.
Beyond the four walls
Backpacks loaded with a minimum of five textbooks, which can cause serious back injuries, are being replaced by tablets and lightweight laptops, and sometimes, smartphones. With major brands such as Apple, Lenovo, HP, Dell, Asus and Acer, making the best models and units available in the market, it is only a matter of time before every student, especially those in far-flung areas, will not be burdened by the heavy load they carry on their backs.
Teaching and learning have now gone beyond the classroom setup. It began with the introduction of the web-cam or teleconference sessions between a student and instructor. Educators utilized the Internet by sending out assignments and courses via the channel through especially designed programs or apps.
In the past years, more open universities have been set up. This completely changed the dynamics because students only need access to the Internet and required software to be able to complete courses. Most of those enrolled in open universities almost always finish their degrees without ever spending a lot of time in a physical classroom.
Former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III approved Republic Act (RA) 10533 or the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013. By signing this into law the government institutionalized the adoption of the K to 12 cycle into the education system.
The system includes one year of kindergarten, six years of elementary education, four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school. It had previously been the elementary and four years of high school that were compulsory. With the addition of two more years, the Philippine educational cycle is now at par with the rest of the world. It had previously been among the three remaining in the world (with Angola and Djibouti) which observed the 10-year pre-university cycle.
During senior high school, students are taught core subjects such as Mathematics, Sciences and Languages. They can then choose specializations or tracks subdivided into four: academic, technical-vocational-livelihood, sports and arts and design.
Among the benefits and opportunities of the K to 12 program, graduates will possess hirable skill sets; they can apply for TESDA Certificates of Competency and National Certificates for better work opportunities; and they can get more work experience while studying or even get hired right after graduation.
Return of ROTC?
A pending house bill at the Congress may soon effect changes that is proving to be divisive.
The House of Representatives approved on its third and final reading House Bill 8961 on 20 May. The bill says that military training “shall apply to all students in Grades 11 and 12 in all senior high schools in public and private educational institutions.”
It is now up to the Senate if this bill will progress and make the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps mandatory. The revocation of the mandatory aspect came after a series of protests occurred after the death of University of Santo Tomas cadet Mark Welson Chua on 18 March 2001.