Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: A critique of some commentaries on the Philippine K-12 program  (Read 30667 times)
florlaca
Full Member
***

Karma: +1/-0
Posts: 50


View Profile Email
« on: April 09, 2012, 08:10:12 AM »

A critique of some commentaries on the Philippine K-12 program
By Dr. Flor Lacanilao

Note that in my critiques below, the comments of scientists (1 to 3) on the Philippine K-12 program are supported by properly published studies or authorities, whereas those by nonscientists (4 to 8 ) are not. Note further that the nonscientist authors and cited authorities include prominent people in education, and that these nonscientist authors and cited authorities enjoy wide media coverage. I think this situation explains the present state of Philippine education.  [My comments are in brackets]

A. Views of Filipino academic scientists

[By definition, academic scientists are defined as those who have made a major contribution or contributions to one’s field as shown by publications in peer-reviewed international journals; that is, in journals covered in Science Citation Index (SCI) or Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI). You can find that out with Google Scholar.]

1.  The basic education system of the Philippines faces two major problems: (1) high dropout rates in primary and secondary schools, and (2) lack of mastery of specific skills and content as reflected in poor performance in standard tests for both Grade IV and Grade VIII (2nd year high school) students. Unfortunately, the proposed K+12 curriculum does not directly address these problems.

Click this link to read the full text: “First things first: A commentary on K+12”

2.  The Philippines has embarked on an enormous P150-billion project—the K to 12—that is set to add as part of the basic education a mandatory kindergarten and an additional two years to the high school. The mandatory kindergarten is not contentious because there is empirical evidence that it does improve learning outcomes. It is the learning outcomes that should concern us here. I still have to see evidence (perhaps I did not look hard enough) that the additional two years of high school will improve learning performance.

Click this link to read the full text: “K to 12: Wasteland”

3.  The controversial K-12 (kindergarten to grade 12) is not really controversial. All commentaries I have read by Filipino academic scientists are not in favor of the new K-12 program (For example,  Science and K+12, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 6 Feb 2012). On the other hand, Filipino authors supporting it are not natural or social scientists (without valid publications or properly published work), regardless of their position (e.g., Group launches program to save RP education, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 28 Jan 2010).

Click this link to read the full text: “K+12 most likely to fail”

B. Views of nonscientist Filipino educators and cited authors 

[By definition, nonscientist Filipino educators and cited authors are those without any major contribution to one’s field as shown by lack of publications in peer-reviewed international journals; that is, in journals covered in Science Citation Index (SCI) or Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI). You can check this with Google Scholar.]

4.  The central feature of the K to 12 Program is the upgrading of the basic education curriculum to ensure that learners acquire the relevant knowledge and skills they will need to become productive members of society… With the participation of the Commission on Higher Education and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, the program has the capability of offering professionally designed classes and apprenticeships in sports, the arts, middle-level skills, entrepreneurship, and applied math and sciences. [Note that officials of CHED and TESDA are not academic scientists.]

Click this link to read the full text: “The K to 12 curriculum: Our first step to recovery”

5.  Meanwhile, Brother Armin remains upbeat, saying “Genuine reform needs at least a generation to take root. We’ll just have to be happy with being part of planting the seed.” [Commentaries by academic scientists, however, show that this planted seed will either not grow or has been planted in infertile soil.]

Click this link to read the full text: “Building a literate society”

6.  The delay (referring to the implementation of the K-12 system) has already caused considerable damage. The truncated basic education cycle exerted a perverse effect on the entire educational system… Filipino students, while studying more, were learning less because they were not getting enough time to master basic concepts.

[The above claims, however, are not supported by properly published studies or authors.]

Click this link to read the full text: “Returns on higher education”

7.  Adding two years to the present 10-year basic education cycle is “an absolutely essential reform” to put the country’s public education system at par with the rest of the world, an international education expert said on Wednesday… “I actually don’t see how people can disagree with it,” said Shaeffer before an audience of top Philippine education officials and representatives from various schools.

[This so-called international expert has only 2 SSCI published paper; none in SCI. He did not cite any properly published study or author, just like others who have made commentaries supporting the Philippine K-12.]

Click this link to read the full text: “K+12 program ‘absolutely essential,’ says expert”

8.  Department Order No. 74, issued in 2009, institutionalized mother tongue-based multilingual education (MTBMLE) as a fundamental policy in our formal and non-formal education… the Department of Education has decided to use the L1 as medium of instruction in all kindergarten and Grade 1 classes nationwide effective June 2012 under the new K-12 curriculum… This is precisely what the 2nd Philippine Conference-Workshop on Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education aims to inculcate in us… The keynote speakers are international literacy consultant Dr. Kimmo Kosonen and our very own Valenzuela City Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo.

[The keynote speaker has only 2 SSCI and no SCI published papers; the other speaker has none. See also commentary 1.]

Click this link to read the full text: “A sense of where we are”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr. Flor Lacanilao obtained both his BS and MS in Zoology from the University of the Philippines in Diliman and his PhD, with specialization in comparative endocrinology, from the University of California at Berkeley. He served as professor and chairman of the Zoology Department at UP Diliman and chancellor of UP Visayas. He made pioneering discoveries in neuroendocrinology and led the research group that achieved the first spontaneous breeding of milkfish in captivity.
Logged
Eduardo (Jay) Olaguer
Initiate
*

Karma: +0/-0
Posts: 21


View Profile Email
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2012, 08:51:11 PM »

I offer a different perspective from that of my distinguished colleague, Dr. Flor Lacanilao. To avoid making myself the issue, I will at the outset try to satisfy Flor’s  criterion of publication in peer-reviewed journals so that my arguments can be considered on their own merit. By U.S. academic standards, I have only a modest publication record, since I spent over 20 years in consulting, the non-profit sector, and  industry, for which academic publications are not a traditional metric of success. Nevertheless, I have 10 publications in 5 different SCI-indexed journals, half of them within the last five years, and four of them in which I am first or sole author. In addition, I have written as sole author one book chapter in a peer-reviewed technical book series, three science and technology magazine articles, including one on science education, and two scientific manuscripts currently in the later stages of peer review in an SCI-indexed journal. Moreover, although it is outside my area of formal training, I have published five books on Catholic theology, two of them through traditional publishing houses, and another under contract to be published by Angelico Press/Sophia Perennis (www.angelicopress.com). The last has gone through peer review by two academic theologians at established universities.

As for my arguments in favor of the K+12 educational program, I offer these insights based not on controlled experiments, but on personal observation only. First, the quality of today’s science and technology graduates all over the world (especially in contemporary physical science and engineering, and increasingly in the life sciences as well) depends critically on the content of the most common technical pre-requisites: 1) mathematics, including calculus, linear algebra, differential equations, probability and statistics; 2) physics, including mechanics, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, and elementary statistical and quantum theory; and 3) chemistry beyond the traditional molecular accounting taught in survey courses,  including some of what is otherwise  reserved for intermediate courses in physical and organic chemistry. In today’s increasingly quantitative and computer-driven research environment, these are no longer academic luxuries reserved for a few students, but broad necessities to maintain competitiveness.

Unfortunately, the traditional 10-year Philippine education cycle almost certainly guarantees that Filipino science and technology graduates will not have mastered the prerequisites I listed above, since the academic foundations provided are far too weak to get into the meat of the material with sufficient intellectual rigor. Ideally, students in the sciences should come into college already having been exposed to calculus, but they cannot even begin this subject until the second semester of the freshman year, and in many cases even later. This alone depresses the quality of the main technical courses on which the rest of their careers depend.

The communication skills of most Filipino college graduates, even for those who major in the humanities and social sciences, are also far too depressed for them to be competitive in the global economy. The 10-year pre-university education cycle guarantees this, because mastery of basic grammar, let alone the development of sophisticated writing skills, is not given adequate attention in the already challenging multi-lingual environment of the Philippines. I remember the time  in my senior year of high school at the Ateneo de Manila, when a former UST instructor of English substituted for our regular English teacher for several weeks, and decided to teach us what she had always taught her college freshmen. We were totally aghast, since this was material  we had mastered in Grade 5! In our freshman year in high school we were already reading Thornton Wilder and other similar authors. I am so grateful for the intellectual rigor that my pre-university education afforded me in languages, because professional advancement  in first-world economies, even in technical professions, is so closely tied to writing and oral presentation skills.

In summary, the K+12 educational program directly addresses some of the fundamental weaknesses in the pre-university preparation of Filipino college graduates by providing more opportunity to master basic mathematical, scientific, and language skills at the much higher level demanded by global competition. There may have been many successful Filipinos who were the product of the previous 10-year cycle, but their experience is the exception to the rule.
Logged
florlaca
Full Member
***

Karma: +1/-0
Posts: 50


View Profile Email
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2012, 08:17:25 AM »

As in a scientific paper, the main results and conclusions must have adequate data support. 

For example, Jay, in the summary of your reply to my critique, you said, “the K+12 educational program directly addresses some of the fundamental weaknesses in the pre-university preparation of Filipino college graduates by providing more opportunity to master basic mathematical, scientific, and language skills at the much higher level demanded by global competition.” 

This is the same claim made without valid support by the authors of the Philippine K-12. And, as I have pointed out, also by all nonscientists in favor of the program.

I stressed in my critique and in other papers on Philippine education that the main problem of our basic education is in our higher education, not the other way around. I cited Carl Wieman, a Nobel laureate in physics and director of the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative at the University of British Columbia, in “Reinventing science education.”

Wieman says, “To be sure, the need for more and better science education has not been entirely ignored. But little of this attention has been aimed at post-secondary science education, the only level for which there is data showing how to make substantial improvements without enormous costs. Moreover, it is doubtful that great progress can be made at the primary and secondary levels until a higher standard of science learning is set at the post-secondary level.”

He adds: “Science education research clearly shows that a true understanding of science, as demonstrated by how it is practiced, is not merely about learning information. Rather, it is about developing a way of thinking about a discipline that reflects a particular perception of how ‘knowledge’ is established, its extent and limitations, how it describes nature, and how it can be usefully applied in a variety of contexts. Developing such a way of thinking is a profoundly different experience from learning a set of facts, and requires very different teaching skills.”

Jay, you are the first academic scientist I have read supporting the Philippine K-12 education program.
Logged
Eduardo (Jay) Olaguer
Initiate
*

Karma: +0/-0
Posts: 21


View Profile Email
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2012, 10:00:02 AM »

Flor,

You have definitely started an interesting discussion. Angel de Dios and I have been conversing off-line, only to find out that we actually agree rather than disagree. As I told him, my vote for K-12 is not a vote for government, which plays too large a role in these matters. The real issue for me is not increased access to education beyond the 10-yr cycle, but the quality of higher education. So in that sense, you and I see eye to eye. More will be gained in the long run by improving the quality of higher education than by increassing access to a diluted program, however many years it consists of. But to do this, you must take away the role of diploma mills in providing what only amounts to remedial education. By insisting on a higher standard of preparation which can be met by less comprehensive and therefore more efficient and less pretentious institutions than the typical Filipino diploma mill university, you free the best colleges and universities to improve course content and opportunities for faculty to use advanced knowledge in a way that makes a difference.
Logged
florlaca
Full Member
***

Karma: +1/-0
Posts: 50


View Profile Email
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2012, 07:30:59 PM »


It will take years, but we will have to start with basic prerequisites. Crucial is improving higher education. Read "Put the right people in charge of Philippine higher education" at,
http://josecarilloforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=2058.0
Logged
jewana
Initiate
*

Karma: +0/-0
Posts: 8


View Profile Email
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2013, 06:29:34 PM »

Nice one. I think that there are some chances to improve the knowledge standards in the country and with this they can sure gain some reputation among the leading nation as country has already some of the best brains working for country.
Logged
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to: