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K-12 review: No need to focus on English if call center agents will be replaced by robots – Briones

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The Department of Education (DepEd) will conduct a “thorough review” of its K to 12 education program, two years after it was implemented in various schools nationwide.

“We are going to have a thorough review of the curriculum of the Department of Education. After all, we have been there for two years already so we have made enough experience,” DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones said in a Palace briefing.

“We will review the curriculum from Kindergarten to Grade 12 because we have been getting feedback as well and we are welcoming feedback from the public about curriculum content,” she added.

Briones said DepEd did not elaborate what “feedback” the agency has been receiving, but stressed the need to keep up with changing times, especially in the age of technological innovations.

“Two years have passed. We need to review it because right now, changes are occurring. Many things are happening in this world,” Briones said.

The education chief said she had observed, for instance, how the demand to teach students on “speaking beautiful English” to be able to compete in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry was problematic.

“There was a demand before that we should teach our children more English so they could compete in the BPO, the call center. But call centers are now replaced with robots in other countries. So if we are preparing our children to speak beautiful English for call centers, then perhaps we will truly be left behind,” Briones said.

“We have to teach our children to be the ones to make the robots. This is why we are teaching robotics in high schools. This is why we are sending teams, public school, high school kids to other countries and they are winning in robotics contests,” she added.

Briones said what’s more important than memorization is for students to be taught how to analyze and solve problems.

“What we want our children to learn, which probably my generation did not learn, is not memory work, we teach them how to analyze, how to solve problems, how to respond to change and to accept change because by the time they graduate, whatever we have taught them, not all of them will be applicable. They will not be able to recognize the world they are going to enter,” Briones said.

“Change is happening so fast but it is in dealing with the change that we want our children to gain more life skills,” she added.

The K to 12 Program covers 13 years of basic education from Kindergarten to Grade 3, Grades 4 to 6, Grades 7 to 10 (Junior High School), and Grades 11 and 12 (Senior High School).

Meanwhile, Briones said her agency is also set to rationalize its budget.

“My priority is our financial management system. We have to review and we have to reformulate our accounting, our disbursement, our accountability systems because of the hugeness of the department itself,” Briones said.

Under the proposed PHP 3.757 trillion national budget for 2019, the DepEd gets the highest cut at PHP 659.3 billion which will also include funding for free tuition in state universities and colleges (SUCs). (PNA)