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The 6-year Curriculum for the PSHS System

We need to add two years to our basic education.  Those who can afford pay up to fourteen years of schooling before university.  Thus, their children are getting into the best universities and the best jobs after graduation.  I want at least 12 years for our public school children to give them an even chance at succeeding.

President Benigno Simeon Aquino III

The 6-Year PSHS Curriculum

In this fast-changing world powered by numerous scientific and technological advancements, there is a need to align the PSHS System Curriculum with the international standard of science education to be at par with global education.  As part of his 10-point agenda, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III mandated the Department of Education (DepEd) to implement the enhanced K-12 basic education program effective 2012 for the Grade 1 and the first year high school students as Grade 7.  Being part of the public school system, it is implied that the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) shall also follow this directive.

With the national pronouncement made by the President regarding the K-12 curriculum shift, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) where the PSHS is an attached agency, needs to align with this presidential directive.  In view of this, in October 2011, the PSHS Board of Trustees (BOT) instructed then newly-appointed Executive Director of the PSHS System, Dr. Josette T. Biyo, to take steps towards preparing a 6-year curriculum for PSHS in response to the K to 12 Basic Education Program of the government.

The following actions were undertaken by the PSHS System to prepare for the implementation of a 6-year curriculum:

October 2011
  • Creation of the PSHS Curriculum Review Committee
November — December 2011
  • Drafting of the 6-year Curriculum Framework by the Executive Committee (or EXECOM, which is comprised of the Executive Director and the Campus Directors), and the Curriculum Review Committee
  • Consultations with teachers in the PSHS Campuses; Proposed curriculum drafts were submitted to the EXECOM for consideration (subject areas were assigned per campus)
December 2011
  • Finalization of the 6-year Curriculum Framework by the EXECOM and the Curriculum Review Committee
February 19-23, 2012
  • Curriculum Writeshop for Grades 7 and 8, with each of the eleven campuses represented in each of the nine subject areas
April 2012
  • Finalization of the Grade 7 Curriculum (with the curriculum writers, EXECOM members, and external curriculum experts)
  • Refinement of the Grades 7 and 8 curricula by the curriculum experts
May 3, 2012
  • BOT approval of the 6-year PSHS Curriculum Framework and the revised Grade 7 Curriculum in connection with the implementation of the K to 12 Program, to be implemented effective School year 2012-2013
June 1, 2012
  • BOT approval of the Guidelines on the implementation of the Alternative Learning Activities (ALA) Program
June 2012
  • Implementation of the new curriculum for Grade 7

Teacher training and workshops for the preparation of the instructional materials for the implementation of the Integrated Science 1 and the Mathematics 1 curricula were carried out on May 2012 and August 2012, respectively.  In the conduct of the curriculum writeshops and workshops, external curriculum and subject area experts (some of whom are PSHS alumni) were invited to guide the PSHS teachers and to critique their work.  The Campus Directors also joined the writeshops and workshops to provide direction to the teacher-participants.

In October 2012, the Campus Directors and the key officials of the Office of the Executive Director visited science-oriented schools in Taiwan and Korea for curriculum bench-marking purposes.

Evaluation of the implemented curriculum for Grade 7 is ongoing through the conduct of the student and teacher surveys, and the Achievement Tests in six key subject areas; namely, Integrated Science, Mathematics, Computer Science, Social Science, Filipino, and English.

With the approval of the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2012 through Senate Bill No. 3286on January 21, 2013 and its counterpart version House Bill No. 6643 on November 19, 2012, the enactment into law to institutionalize the additional two years of senior high school is imminent.  Thus, the PSHS System’s curriculum review is timely and relevant as it prepares for the full implementation of the six-year curriculum by academic year 2016-2017.

Rationale for the Curriculum Review and Planning

  1. The world this 21st century is impacted by rapid changes such as digitization, globalization, trade liberalization, and the environmental revolution.  All these changes call for an education that prepares PSHS students to meet global challenges, engage in research and development, and help transform the world of work.  In fact, Ms. Theresa Maves (2011) of Intel Teach stressed that “there is a need for students to develop knowledge work skills (e.g. teamwork and collaboration, analysis and decision-making, systems thinking, and strategic thinking) as well as ICT skills (e.g. use of collaboration tools: e-mail, search and portals; virtual workspace tools; lifelike video conferencing; information visualization tools; and intelligent software tools) if they are to succeed as managers, professionals, and technical experts in this highly competitive world.”  Moreover, the PSHS system is a public educational institution and must align with the Philippine government’s thrust to enhance the quality of basic education and align with international practice.
  2. The basic education system in the Philippines is composed of six years of elementary and four years of secondary education—a total of ten years.  Only two other countries have the same 10-year education system in the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) 155 member countries: Djibouti and Angola.  This 10-year period is relatively shorter compared to other countries in the Asian region such as Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, South Korea, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam (which have 12 years of basic education), or Myanmar and Singapore (which have 11 years).  Developed and developing countries in Europe such as England have a 14-year basic education; Scotland has 13; Russia has 11, and the United States of America also has 12 (Tan, 2011).
  3. The 12-year basic education is anchored on the Bologna Accord which requires 12 years of education for university admission and practice of one’s profession in European countries, and the Washington Accord which prescribes 12 years of basic education as an entry to recognition of engineering professionals (DepEd, 2010).
  4. With the drafting of the DepEd’s (2010) Enhanced K to 12 basic education program, the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHED) Technical Panel on General Education came out with its College Readiness Standards (CRS), which describes the “combination of skills, knowledge, and habits of mind” that a student wishing to enter college should possess after a 12-year pre-university education (CHED, 2011).  Examination of the CRS document shows that some content and performance standards listed are not within the current 4-year academic program of the PSHS.
  5. In the wake of ASEAN 2015, which envisions the coming together of ASEAN countries as one, borderless economic community by 2015, the DOST and other government agencies have identified a number of priority areas to help address the need to increase human resource development, and research and development activities in preparation for 2015 (see e.g. NRCP, 2011Villacorta, 2012).  Science and technology are seen by government as important vehicles that can support the thrust to achieve a Philippine economy that is globally competitive and collaborative.  Educational and professional qualifications will need to meet standards set with our Asian neighbors and by the rest of the world.  Revisiting the PSHS curriculum is timely and relevant in light of these developments.  For example, in addition to the inclusion of more advanced science and mathematics-related courses, it will also be important to offer courses in Asian customs, traditions and languages in the revised curriculum.  Introducing a course on patenting and intellectual property rights, and on entrepreneurship in the new curriculum can also better equip PSHS graduates for their future roles as leaders, experts, and workers in the growing knowledge economy.

Goals

Within the DepEd’s (2010) Enhanced K-12 basic education program, high school graduates will be able to:

  • acquire mastery of basic competencies;
  • be more emotionally mature;
  • be socially aware, pro-active, involved in public and civic affairs;
  • be adequately prepared for the world of work or entrepreneurship or higher education;
  • be legally employable with potential for better earnings; and
  • be globally competitive

Through a program that is rooted on sound educational principles and geared towards excellence, it is anticipated that graduates of the enhanced K-12 basic education program is an empowered individual.  They are expected to have learned the foundations for learning throughout life, the competence to engage in work and be productive, the ability to coexist in fruitful harmony with local and global communities, the capability to engage in autonomous critical thinking, and the capacity to transform others and one’s self and others.

It is proposed that the PSHS System adopt the 6-year educational program with the end in view of producing graduates who, in addition to the above-cited attributes, also demonstrate an understanding of science and mathematical concepts and processes in an integrative way.  With this level of understanding, it is envisioned the PSHS graduates be able to respond and engage in activities that enhance the integrity and wellness of individuals, protect the environment, and conserve resources in order to sustain quality life at the local, national, and global arenas.

Specifically, after the PSHS scholars have gone through the six (6) year secondary education, they must have been imbibed and will have developed the qualities reflected in the PSHS vision.  They shall also graduate to be well-rounded individuals and life-long learners prepared to become future professionals and leaders in science and technology.

Expected Outcomes

At the end of the proposed six-year secondary basic education curriculum, it is anticipated that PSHS graduates shall reap the following benefits:

  1. be equipped with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values to meet the demands of the 21st century;
  2. be holistically developed as they master competencies and skills through a decongested curriculum;
  3. be academically prepared for higher education;
  4. be emotionally and psychologically mature for responsibilities in higher education, in the workplace, or in the competitive world;
  5. be legally employable or recognized as entrepreneurs after completing an approved science and technology course; and
  6. be recognized as duly qualified university graduate or post-graduate students as required in the Bologna Accord, or duly qualified engineering professionals as prescribed in the Washington Accord (see DepEd, 2010).

Implications

The implementation of a 6-year curriculum in the PSHS System will be accompanied with major changes in the following, among others:

  1. Financial.  The MOOE of each campus will increase particularly on the budget for students’ allowances and stipends with two (2) year levels added in the curriculum.  Capital outlay will follow for the resources needed like additional classrooms, laboratories, dormitories, books, facilities, equipment, computers, etc.
  2. Plantilla Items.  Additional items for teaching positions and support staff will be needed.
  3. Loading of teachers.  If the approach is integrated, thematic, and/or spiraling, loading concerns need to be addressed if team teaching is an option in handling the subject.  Teachers also need to be given more free time to develop modules and instructional materials that will suit the proposed pedagogical approach.

On January 16-19, 2013, the Office of the Executive Director held a strategic planning for its Campus Directors to lay out a 10-year development plan for the PSHS System in order to meet the requirements for the full implementation of a 6-year curriculum that would meet global standards.  Policies are also being reviewed in response to the curriculum change.

References:

Commission on Higher Education. (2011). Technical Panel on General Education (TPGE) Report on the College Readiness Standards. Excerpts from the Minutes of the 382nd Regular Commission Meeting, October 28, 2011, HEDC Conference Room, HEDC Building, Quezon City.

Department of Education. (2010). Discussion paper on the enhanced K+12 basic education Program (October 25, 2010). Retrieved from http://www.deped.gov.ph/cpanel/uploads/issuanceImg/K12new.pdf.

Maves, T.I. (2011, October 26). A Webinar on Intel Education Thinking Tools. Paper presented at the National Seminar-Workshop in Science and Mathematics Education, UP-NISMED, Quezon City.

National Research Council of the Philippines. (2011, December). Consultation/Workshop on a Competitive Philippines in ASEAN 2015 and Webinar on ASEAN Community 2015. Retrieved fromwww.nrcp.dost.gov.ph.

Tan, M.C. (2011, October 26). Science in the K+12 Curriculum. Paper presented at the National Seminar-Workshop in Science and Mathematics Education, UP-NISMED, Quezon City.

Villacorta, W.V. (2012, August 30). Preparing for the formation of an ASEAN community by 2015: Implications for Philippine education. Paper presented at the 2012 National Convention of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines, SMEX Convention Center, Pasay City. Retrieved fromhttp://ceap.org.ph/upload/download/201210/17161255563_1.pdf.