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"On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me..." Christmas is the season of sharing. In this event, we often give gifts to our family, relatives, friends and other people close to our hearts. We also receive gifts from them. But what is the best gift our true love would give to us? Most of the time, our parents would say that we should study hard because education is the only thing they could give to us. That is the reason why our parents are working hard, to give us education, because it is the most important gift we could have. It is a powerful tool that would help us a lot in dealing with everyday situations. A gift one cannot steal away from us and a tool money cannot afford to buy. We could not easily get it anywhere, it is something we should earn and achieve. The attainment of education is like setting up a Christmas tree, it takes time and we should exert extra effort and determination to achieve it. We deserve to have the best gift. We are worthy to have a quality tool. Our country needs to strengthen the very foundation of education- basic education. But how could we have the best gift? How could we improve the quality of basic education?
Basic education, as I've said earlier, is the very foundation of education. It is where one will spend his developing years and it is important to spend it in a quality system. It is the preparatory stage for higher education. That is why I am happy to promote adding two years in basic education (primary and secondary level of education). In this proposal, we would have additional one year for elementary (Grade 7) and another for secondary (5th Year) in public schools. Let me discuss some issues about this system.
First, we would have a better quality of basic education. Because of two additional years, there is more time for learning. In this new and better system, we are not speeding up and cramming the span of time we could learn, but we are widening it to give space for new subjects and improved curriculum. In this system, the quality would be improved by rationalizing the contents of present subjects and by adding new subjects timely needed by the students. We cannot deny the fact that there is a necessity for us to improve basic education. We would have more time in learning and we are not going too fast unprepared. We would have improved curriculum and subject contents.
Second, this proposal aims to promote the welfare of our struggling brothers and sisters. If this proposal is not for them then why the recommendation is adding two more years in basic education? According to The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines, Article XIV, Section 2, Number 2, "The State shall establish and maintain a system of free public education in the elementary and high school levels." So, why not establish two more years in pre-university education? The state would not have any responsibility to pre-university education, by the way. It is because the government is really trying its best to serve the people. Yes, this proposal may have an effect to our countrymen, but it is worth the perseverance and hard work. It is not intended to give them another burden, but it aims to improve their lives. Only incidental costs like transportation and food allowance are the concerns of the families, because basic education is free. And to address these concerns, the government is really willing to help them through conditional cash transfers wherein underprivileged families would get a subsidy from the government with due respect to latter's conditions.
Third, this proposal would lift the burden given to universities and colleges. According to Edilberto C. de Jesus of Philippine Daily Inquirer, "Our own Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Philippine Task Force on Education conceded that the 10-year basic education cycle poses problems for our tertiary institutions and their graduates." In college, there are minor subjects and this is the result of problems in basic education. Instead of having the more important subjects in college, the college students still need to comply with minor subjects. Let us put De La Salle University -Dasmariñas (DLSU-D) as an example. In DLSU-D, we need to take basic English, Filipino, Math, Science, and Physical Education subjects. Well in fact, we could have these subjects in the additional years of proposed basic education system. Now, there is more time for them to focus on the subjects of their chosen fields. The problem caused by the present system would be addressed properly and not shouldered by tertiary institutions and the students.
Fourth, after graduation, the students would be in working age. Let us do the math. Sixteen years old, which is the typical age of students after high school graduation, plus 2 years from the proposal is equal to 18 years of age, the working age! This good intended effect would greatly influence the job requirement set by the majority of companies to job applicants. Usually, the job requirement is at least in second year college. But with this proposal, the scenario would change. Since the students would graduate at 18, the minimum employment requirement would be at least a high school graduate. Thus, this proposal is really beneficial to the graduates of new basic education system and those who plan or need to work right after high school due to certain circumstances.
Fifth, this proposal is really practical. The proposal is a step by step process. It would take some time to have its full effect. The implementation of this new system would be every year. The Grade 1 students would have the new system and improved curriculum. After the succeeding year both Grades 1 and 2, would have the system. After another year Grades 1, 2 and 3 would have it, so on and so forth, until it would have its full effect up to 5th Year high school students. Why I do say this proposal is practical? This proposal is practical because there is no immediate need for the funds, Grade 7 and 5th year students are non-existent during the first six years and eleven years of implementation. Since, the proposal would take some time; the government still has the capacity to address different problems we have in our present system. The government would have the time in preparing for implementation years of improved basic education system. There is enough measure to solve the problems like lack of classroom, books, teachers, public schools and also the issue of dropout rate. There is enough time for us! We could build the classrooms and additional schools needed, train the teachers efficiently and process enough learning materials. It is worth the patience for the betterment of basic education system.
Last, this proposal would let the system comply with international standards of education. According again to Edilberto C. de Jesus of Philippine Daily Inquirer, "In 2009, Education Committee of Unesco's Philippine National Commission "noted that among 155 Unesco member countries, only Djibouti, Angola and the Philippines still fall below what has become the international norm." This is an issue we need to address because there is an arising concern for our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). Our Filipino graduates are deterred by our present system - with 10 year basic education system. Their global competence is at risk because other countries do not acknowledge the degrees that our graduates attained. If other countries would stop or doubt employing our OFWs, it would have a huge negative impact in our present economic condition. So, this proposal would help our country's economy to grow continually and/or to be stable. By complying with global standards, the employment chances would increase for our OFWs and other Filipino professionals which would mutually benefit our economy and countrymen.
Having two additional years in basic education is idealistic but it is really workable. Education is the most important gift could have. But we deserve to have best gift. We are worthy to have a quality tool. We need to strengthen the very foundation of our country through this plan which aimed to solve the arising problems from our present basic education system. The implementation of this plan would take some time like setting up a Christmas tree, we would have a hard time arranging and decorating it but after we are done, we would see its real beauty, we would feast our eyes with its glittering lights and we could say that it is "worth it". We could always start doing something for the betterment of our education sector. Waiting for the progress to come by addressing the problems of present system is good. But it is better to take some practical actions to solve these problems while waiting. We could, we would and we should have the best and quality education. At the end of the day, this blessing would be achieved. That is why I am happy to propose adding two years in basic education.