Ma. Niña A. Papa is a teacher at the Trece Martires City Senior High School, Trece Martires City, Cavite.

By Ma. Niña Avilla–Papa

Learners refer to the beneficiaries of the teaching process either in the formal or non-formal setting.

The learner of the DepEd’s K to 12 basic education program refers to any individual, regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, culture, religion, and ability, enrolled in basic education to enhance his/her knowledge, skills, and values to improve the quality of his/her life, and to develop quality basic education.

Learner’s option

Learners in difficult circumstances, which prevent them from attending school regularly, have Flexible Learning Options (FLOs) so they may complete basic education, including the Alternative Learning Systems (ALS) where appropriate.

Learners who are gifted and talented, learners with disabilities, and learners from specific cultural contexts and religious beliefs will be helped to attain their full potential through equitable, relevant, appropriate, and responsive educational interventions.

Learners who are temporarily abroad may attend schools that offer K to 12 curriculum following the regulations of their host country, so they can return to the Philippine education system seamlessly.

The goal of the K to 12 education curriculum is for all learners to have access to quality and relevant education. In effect, all learners have the opportunity to become well-rounded, happy, and smart individuals who are confident to pursue their chosen paths.

K to 12 Tracks and Strands

Prior to entering Senior High School (SHS) – Grades 11 and 12, Grade 10 students of the Junior High School (JHS)are required to take entrance examination to determine their proficiency in their fields of interest.

As such, the learning path of their studies in the SHS will be determined. Thus, the strands and tracks to be specialized with by the learners will be identified. The specialization will also be used if they will push through college education.

There are three tracks to choose among SHS learners, namely: Academic; Technical-Vocational-Livelihood; and Sports and Arts.

The three strands under the Academic track include Business, Accountancy, and Management (BAM); Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (HESS); and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)

DepEd considers the learner at the center of the teaching-learning process. Thus, the curriculum uses pedagogical approaches that are constructivist, inquiry-based, reflective, collaborative, differentiated, appropriate, relevant, and integrative.

Inclusive education

Inclusive education is at the core of the K to 12 program. This promotes the right of every Filipino to quality, equitable, culture-based and complete basic education. Through inclusive education, Filipinos will realize their full potential and contribute to nation-building.

Also called enhanced basic education program, the K to 12 program responds to national and global community needs and demands through its mission to strengthen the values of the Filipino people; develop a strong sense of nationalism; develop productive citizens who contribute to the building of a progressive, just and humane society; ensure environmental sustainability; and cultivate global partnerships for development.

The K to 12 graduate is a holistically developed Filipino who has built foundations for learning throughout life — equipped with information, media and technology skills, learning and innovation skills, life and career skills, and communication skills to tackle the challenges and take advantage of opportunities of the 21st century.

These skills include information, media and technology know-how that deal with various sub-skills such as visual and information literacies; media literacy; basic, scientific, economic and technological literacies; multicultural literacy; and global awareness.

Training for these skills are embedded in Technology and Livelihood Education, Science, Mathematics, Araling Panlipunan, Mapeh, and Languages — all subjects used as platforms for integration of these skills.

Learning and innovation skills include creativity and curiosity, critical thinking, problem-solving, adaptability, managing complexity and self-direction, and sound reasoning. Acquisition of these skills help learners resolve daily issues and challenges be it academic, personal or social. Learning and innovation skills are honed in all subjects areas across grade levels.

Communication skills enable learners to adapt to present and future challenges and opportunities. Teaming, collaboration, people skills and interactive communication are parts and parcels of 21st century learning and are integrated in all learning areas, which are gradually developed through the learning competencies and performance standards.

Life and career skills empower learners to make informed decisions, giving them the leverage to contribute to the development of society. Flexibility and adaptability, initiative and self-direction, social and cross-cultural skills, productivity and accountability, leadership, and responsibility form part of the said skills.

The curriculum is articulated in terms of standards and competencies; it is seamless, research-based and decongested, using the spiral progression approach to ensure mastery of knowledge and skills after each level.

Information and communications technology (ICT) competencies have been integrated into the curriculum to equip learners with skills that will enable them to cope with the technological demands of the era. When implemented judiciously, Filipino learners could get at par with their counterparts in the ASEAN region.