Saturday, August 14, 2010

Plus 2 Years of Quality Education?

The National Book Development Board can help the Department of Education in prescribing the guidelines in preparing the minimum learning competencies and other specifications for the public school textbooks to be used for the additional 2 years of the basic education cycle announced by Pres. Noynoy Aquino and Sec. Armin Luistro, FSC.
If one additional year would mean restoring Grade 7 to elementary education, then I personally propose that the DepEd with the NBDB begin by looking at the learning competencies targeted by reputable private schools that do have Grade 7.
I do hope that the effort that the DepEd will exert to formulate the curiculum and to mobilize the resources for the additional 2 years will be at least equally matched by the effort to ensure that "every child is a reader by Grade 3" and to raise the mean percentage score of the National Achievement Test (NAT) of prospective graduates of Grade 6 to at least 75%.
As of now, many public school children beyond Grade 3 still cannot read and understand a simple paragraph. The NAT mean percentage score, which was 55% when the NAT started in 2002, has improved through the years to 66.33% in 2009, but this is still below the minimum for what can qualify for "mastery" of the targeted learning competencies which is 75%.
Without ensuring the delivery of quality education especially in the current 6 years of elementary education, the additional 2 years would likely result in the lengthening and reinforcement of mediocrity which would mean a great deal of waste of public resources and taxes.

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