As the 21st century education spreads worldwide, the UP prepares for, and cushions the impact of the K-12 and the 2015 ASEAN Economic Community. It has unrolled a roadmap in response to its role as the Philippines’ only national university – a leader and model in instruction, research and extension work.
The ASEAN Integration 2020 aims to unite the member countries of ASEAN into one economic and multi-cultural community cooperating also on security matters. The ASEAN Economic Cooperation 2015 (AEC), as an initial step in the integration process, aims to develop the 10-member countries of ASEAN into a single market and production base for the free flow of goods, services investment, capital and skilled labor. While the goals are economic in nature, human resource and capacity as well as their movements within the region will be inevitably implicated. The Philippines being a signatory to and a member of the ASEAN, endeavors to achieve the goals of the ASEAN.
Having 2015 as the target date for the ASEAN Economic Community, the following results are expected from the education sector: 1) greater student and staff mobility 2) greater demand for quality programs 3) more collaborative research and curricular activities 4) competition for jobs and employment 5) higher employer standards, and 6) race for university ranking.
The education reform that resulted in the K-12 basic education curriculum stems from the need to address the onslaught of globalization and regional cooperation for the graduates of HEIs to be globally competitive. This requires internal changes to include a shift from 10 to 12 years of basic education. The reform is stirred by the sore state of high school education in the country, which has deteriorated in the quality and competencies of its graduates and has poorly prepared HS graduates for college and for the labor market.
The fact remains that the Philippines is the only country in ASEAN and one of the three remaining countries in the world with 10 years basic education (the other two are Djibouti and Angola). By shifting to 12 years of basic education, the Philippines will now be at par with the rest of the world. This reform that will result in a more solid basic foundation of HEI graduates, will provide a bigger chance of becoming regionally and globally competitive.
The K-12 Program hopes to 1) decongest the basic education curricula; 2) prepare the students for higher education and for the labor market, and 3) be globally competitive/ benchmark with global standards.
To affirm UP’s leadership role in education, it will embark on a major change in its teaching pedagogy, quality assurance assessments, and curricular programs, including the review of its GE program. Given that UP’s student enrollment will be adversely affected in 2016 and beyond, a ripple effect will be expected in its faculty’s academic load, administrative staff functions, fiscal positions, support services and admission processes.
The concerns that have emerged are as follows:
a) What will be our decision for courses that duplicate those that will be taught in K 11 & 12?
b) Is our present GE framework still relevant?
c) Will the required units to finish College be reduced? Will more advanced courses be taught to majors? What consequences will the changes in the undergraduate program bring to the graduate program?
d) Should UP change its academic calendar to align with the schedule of international academic partners?
e) What will be the effect of the changes on the admission requirements and examination of UP?
What has the UP System Done So Far?
A UP K-12 Roadmap has been drawn. The Roadmap has set the following short-term (ST) and medium-term (MT) goals:
1. Increase the awareness of the impact of K-12 and ASEAN Economic Community 2015 to programs in the UP academic community (ST);
2. Review the GE program (ST);
3. Review and streamline CU offerings (ST);
4. Realignment of the academic calendar to synchronize with international calendar (ST);
5. Quality assurance (QA) assessment of curricular programs (ST/MT);
6. Revision of individual curricular programs by unit (ST/MT);
7. Address Faculty and Staff workload (MT), and
8. Review UP admission system (MT).
Simultaneous with the implementation of the K-12 Program in all elementary and high schools in the country in 2012, UP through its OVPAA,
1) had its first salvo of a series of consultations with the officials of DepEd, CHED and members of the technical working group;
2) conducted roundtable discussions with the Vice Chancellors for Academic Affairs, Vice Chancellors for Research, and the GE Council members of the various CUs and the autonomous College to clarify the impact of the K-12 Program and 2015 AEC as well as brainstorm on future actions of Colleges and Universities;
3) at the start of 2013, the OVPAA conducted the consultative workshops among the concerned officials of the CUs; the workshops will be completed in August; those that have completed the consultative workshops are now reviewing their curricular programs with the expected revisions completed by 2015;
4) the GE program is being reviewed and results of the review and revisions will be presented to the various CUs for comments and suggestions, culminating in a system-wide workshop before the end of the year, 2013.
What Should UP Constituents Do?
Needless to say, discussions and consultations on the impact of these changes should trickle down to the various colleges, institutes and schools, which are expected to craft their own specific plans and prepare their programs to address the impact of K-12 and the ASEAN Economic Cooperation 2015.
The OVPAA has started the ball rolling for the CUs to undertake the following activities:
1. Conduct orientation and discussion on the K-12 and ASEAN Economic Community 2015;
2. Review and streamline undergraduate offerings and the GE program from July 2013 onwards;
3. Participate in the discussion on the revision of UP’s academic calendar to match with international calendar before 2015;
4. Contribute ideas for the assessment of UPCAT and STFAP systems;
5. Formulate plans for faculty hiring and development including providing opportunities for completing graduate degrees, conducting research, publishing and reviewing syllabi during the K-12 transition period;
6. Formulate plans for extension activities, such as mentoring public school teachers
7. Review and formulate plans for the institution of honors programs and strengthen the MS/MA Programs.
UP still has until the end of 2015 to implement its K-12 Roadmap and the 2015 AEC. The Constituent Units, their Colleges and other concerned sectors are enjoined to actively participate in the process of implementing the K-12 Roadmap and AEC Plans.
To read and download the Memorandum from UP President Alfredo Pascual on UP’s own K-12 Roadmap and AEC plan of action, please click this link: Update on K-12 and AEC Plan of Action