With the K+12 style of education being implemented in the Philippines, one must wonder what factors that prompted policy makers to implement this form of educational system. According to the Department of Education (2012, http://www. gov. ph/k-12/), K+12 is there to provide sufficient time for mastery of concepts and skills, develop lifelong learners, and prepare graduates for tertiary education, middle level skills development, employment and entrepreneurship.
This is all well and good in paper but some say that the realities surrounding the Philippine educational system is not yet ready for this program, and thus has met various opposition and doubt from students, parents and even educators (Maramag,SK 2010). With the Philippine education system as its scope and K+12 as the result, we look into the influence of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), if any, as an advocate of education and how it has influenced in helping the Philippines transition from K+10 to K+12.
This paper will then briefly discuss a brief history of UNESCO, as well as its activity in the Philippines and look at how it helped as an international organization in the old and new education system, using Barnett and Finnemore’s Politics, Power and Pathologies of International Organization as a framework.
Looking at the Philippines and UNESCO as the independent variables and the Philippine education system as the dependent variable, the researcher seeks to find out whether or not UNESCO has affected the old Philippine education system which was the K+10 educational system, and whether or not it is affecting the current education system which is the K+12 educational system in terms of the alignment of the Philippine government to UNESCO and vice versa.
By affecting the educational system, what the researcher means is that: one of the basis or yard sticks of this research would be to look into how the Philippine government has aligned its policies to that of UNESCO’s recommendations. Looking at the problem, the researcher will then employ various materials, such as newspaper articles, internet journals and other literature in order to go about in answer the research question as well as using the comparative method of UNESCO policy to the Philippine education policy.
The first part of the paper will discuss solely on UNESCO and a little on its history, while the second part will discuss about the Philippine educational system; its short comings and reactions; and the last part of the paper will discuss on the affects of UNESCO in Philippine education. UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN). Its purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through education, science and culture (UNESCO 2012).
Created to foster to education, science, and culture, UNESCO was created as an avenue for people to facilitate in the sharing of information, and promote close ties with other nations through these avenues. UNESCO was created so that it could contribute to the maintenance of peace among nations to prevent another world war by adding to the many obligations of a state, similar to the commercial peace theory according to MacDonald (2009) where he argues that free trade has pacifying effects on the international system, through interdependence and that international commerce reduces the chance of armed conflict among trade partners.
Another priority of UNESCO is to help societies in attaining quality education for all and lifelong learning, addressing social and ethical challenges, fostering cultural diversity (UNESCO 2011). With UNESCO’s goal in helping societies attaining quality education, Has UNESCO then, assisted the Philippines in attaining or even formulating a K+12 education system? With over 195 member states UNESCO and over 50+ regional and national offices, the reach of UNESCO is vast, but the question that lies here is that are its affects also vast? What about its influence?
Especially here in the Philippines where there are no regional or national UNESCO offices, is the extent of their influence or as Barnett and Finnemore state in the power of IOs, does UNESCO’s power permeate into the sovereignty of states, namely the Philippines, or what are the politics surrounding both the Philippines and UNESCO as variables. The importance of this discussion is that it revolves around something that affects people throughout the world and most especially the Philippines, where everyone has a vested interest in education (Robinson 2005).
Looking at the goals of UNESCO it is clearly stated that it seeks to develop globalized world with multi-culturalism, they state that: “UNESCO works to create the conditions for dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based upon respect for commonly shared values. It is through this dialogue that the world can achieve global visions of sustainable development encompassing observance of human rights, mutual respect and the alleviation of poverty, all of which are at the heart of UNESCO’S mission and activities. (UNESCO, taken 2013) The Philippine Education System First, we look into the old Philippine education system which was the K+10 education system. The K+10 education system of the Philippines, is structured as first non-compulsory Kindergarten and plus 10 years of basic education, which includes elementary and high school education. Second, from the previous kindergarten plus ten years of basic education, the K+12 system introduces two more years in the basic education of students. Now we must define K+12 and its components.
K+12 means Kindergarten and the 12 years of elementary and secondary education. The model that is currently being implemented by the Department of Education (2009) is the K-6-4-2 Model. This model involves Kindergarten, six years of elementary education, four years of junior high school (Grades 7 to 10) and two years of senior high school (Grades 11 to 12). The two years of senior high school intend to provide time for students to consolidate acquired academic skills and competencies.
Only last year has the K+12 education system been implemented in the Philippines and with its fresh start met with doubt and opposition, we must look into the various reasons why people have doubts about the effectiveness of this education system. Before the K+12 the Philippines employed a K+10 education system wherein there was kindergarten, yet it was not required in order to proceed to Grade 1 of elementary education and 10 years of basic education, 6 years for the elementary education and 4 for high school education.
Now the K+12 education system provides for an added two years to the basic education program of senior high school, wherein within these two years specialization of students depending on the career/track they wish to pursue, wherein skills and competencies relevant to the job market are taught. The two senior years of high school intends to provide time for students to consolidate acquired academic skills and competencies. The curriculum will allow specializations in Science and Technology, Music and Arts, Agriculture and Fisheries, Sports, Business and Entrepreneurship.
On the other hand, critics have also cited that this educational reform will lead Philippine students to perform worse in terms of academics and others. A counter-argument placed by the Department of Education (DepEd) is that the Philippines remain to be the only country to have a 10 year education system in Asia. The need to be internationally competitive is stressed by the Department of Education. UNESCO in the Philippines UNESCO’s activity in the Philippines started when the Republic Act 621 (amended by Republic Act 892 and 3849) created the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines.
With this UNESCO started embarking on projects such as creating world heritage sites and educational programs on literacy, but one of the highlights of UNESCO’s activity here in the Philippines is that it helped draft in the education plans of the Philippine government regarding education, working closely with the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education, UNESCO has helped draft the Philippines – UNESCO country programming plan.
With UNESCO operating more than 60 years in the Philippines, it has created the Philippines – UNESCO country programming, wherein this is where various projects of UNESCO are planned and serves as a blueprint for the implementation of UNESCO’s goals in the Philippines in partnership with the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines. The PH-UCPD, a systematic approach to program planning and development, will serve as the overall framework in de?ning areas of partnership between UNESCO and various sectors of Philippine society (UNESCO 2009).
The Philippines-UNESCO Country Programming Document (PH-UCPD) 2009-2011 serves as the overall framework of programs and projects to be supported by UNESCO in the Philippines. The PH-UCPD is aligned with internationally-agreed development priorities particularly the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), national development goals de?ned in the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) 2004-2010, and development priorities of UNESCO as indicated in the UNESCO Medium-Term Strategy for 2008-2013. Participation in national and international workshops and forums n development issues such as the UNESCO Education Support Strategy (UNESS), Education for Sustainable Development, Basic Education Sector Reform Agenda, 4th Asia Paci?c Information Network Meeting and the Sub-Regional Forum on Information for all programs helped in identifying possible programs or projects. Public schools in the marginalized province of Southern Leyte in Eastern Visayas were visited on 16–19 February 2009 to examine ?rst hand the needs and concerns of education stakeholders and validate initial proposed programs and projects.
Eastern Visayas is also site of the e-Disaster Management Project supported by UNESCO through an emergency grant in 2007. Several community-based communication projects were also visited during the preparation of the country programming document. The Philippines is committed to the attainment of universal basic education as af?rmed at the 1990 Jomtien Conference on Education for All (EFA) and the 2000 Dakar World Education Forum.
Within these UN frameworks, the education sector implements innovative projects aimed at achieving quality education for all such the Early Childhood Education, full scale implementation of School Based Management, upgrading teaching-learning in Science, Math and English, providing computers in every public schools, and strengthening of Madrasah and Indigenous Peoples education, among others.
These innovative projects in the formal education sector are complemented by the non-formal and informal education, zeroing in on the taking-off of the alternative learning system (ALS) as implemented by the Bureau of Alternative Learning Systems (BALS) that spans the pre-literacy to higher skills continuum, encompassing non-formal and informal sources of knowledge and skills or competencies such as the home, church, mass media, the environment, or even life itself. Meanwhile, TESDA’s technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programs provide employable knowledge and skills to individuals outside the formal education system.
Additionally, several innovative programmes and projects were implemented by the Department of Education (DepED), with assistance from donor agencies, such as the Third Elementary Education Project (TEEP), Secondary Education Improvement Project (SEDIP), Basic Education Assistance in Mindanao (BEAM), and Strengthening Basic Education in the Visayas (STRIVE). UNICEF also has its Child-Friendly School Movement and the Student Tracking System. Positive gains in education can also be attributed to initiatives of the regional and division offices and the ncreased support from local government, non-government organizations, and international aid agencies. Conclusion Although having numerous programs and activities here in the Philippines, as well as providing aid and help to Philippine schools and government offices, UNESCO was one of the catalysts for the Philippines to shift from a K+10 education system to a K+12 education system although UNESCO has had a slight effect on schools around the Philippines, its presence is still not quite felt due to the vast scope of its projects.
The pathology that can be cited here according to Barnette and Finnemore is that UNESCO being a bureaucracy shares also the short comings of a bureaucracy in which Weber adds that bureaucracies “orchestrate numerous local contexts at once. Since the Philippine education system is diverse and different from the rest, as well as the rest is different from others diversity is flatten by bureaucracy since its main goal is to generate universal rules and categories that are, inattentive to contextual and particulistic concerns (Barnett, Finnemore 1999). Thus UNESCO would have a hard time in addressing the problems within the Philippine Education System as well as influence policy makers to formulate policies that coincide with UNESCO’s goals and objectives.