“QUO VADES” SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL?

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Quo vades are Latin words that mean where you are going.  It was supposed to be said by the Lord Jesus Christ when he met St. Paul on his way to Rome to appeal to the Roman Emperor to quash his arrest.  St. Paul was not sure what will happen in Rome.
The Grade 11 of Senior High School is now implemented.  We can also ask quo vades Senior High School?

Concept

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In terms of the number of hours the 10 years basic education in the Philippines is equal to the 12 years in the United States.  They are both 12,000 hours.

In imitation of other countries our legislators decided to increase the number of years to 12 years without really specifying what will be taught in the additional two (2) years.  There is only feeling that in the 10 years basic education the students will graduate at 16 or 17 years old and still too young to work.  The increase in 2 years will make them graduate at 18 or 19 years old and now within the age of majority of 18 years old.

In the Washington Accord and Bologna Accord that the Philippines signed, the additional 2 years were supposed to be the first two (2) years in college brought down to the High School level so that the college level can add two more years of subjects that are sophisticated due to the development brought about by science and technology.

Philippines Decision

The education authorities in the Philippines decided that the college system will not be touched.  The additional two years called Senior High School will be in the high school.

The initial idea was to make the Senior High School to be loaded with skills training so that when the students will graduate they will have employable skills.

When the idea was tested at the University of Makati, it was successful.  The University of Makati taught the academic while the TESDA (Technological Education and Skills Authority) handled the skills training.  The skills of the graduates were of international standard.

In the final format to be implemented the TESDA was eliminated.  The DepEd wanted to handle the Senior High School alone.  In my opinion the real cause was professional jealousy.  The DepEd wanted to protect their turf.

Strands

The DepEd conceived of offering many specializations called strands.  There is the General Academic Strand (GAS), Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM), Accounting Business Management (ABM), etc.

The real problem is where to get the teachers.  Except for the GAS, all other specializations are not encountered by those taking Bachelor in Education, which is the academic preparation for High School Teachers.

The GAS is practically a rehash of the subjects offered in Junior High School.  It is just a waste of time because you learn nothing new.  The Colleges and Universities who offers Senior High School have the advantage.  They have college teachers that can handle the subjects in Senior High School.

Except for few high schools that were able to find qualified teachers in the proper specialization, majority of the Grade 11 students today are taught by teachers that do not know the subjects even though they have the credentials or license to teach.

How can they teach computers, mathematics, accounting, technical-vocational, sports, etc. when these are not part of the curriculum they studied in college?

The way the Grade 11 and next year the Grade 12 is implemented is just a waste of time and opportunity for the students.  They will finish at age 18 or 19 without any accomplishment to show for the extra two (2) years.  Two more years and the diploma is still High School.

You will start the 4-year college course at 18 years old and graduate at age 22.  Plus one year for the board exam, you will be a professional and employable at age 23.

Those who will proceed to law or medicine you add 5 years or 6 years and you will be 27 or 28 years old when you will be employable.  You can just imagine the expenses.

Previous System

The system that was abandoned was more efficient and economical.  You graduate high school at 16 years old.  Proceed to college and study Bachelor in Education.  You can finish the 4-yr course in 3 years if you take summer courses.  You will be BED at 19 years old.  In 2 more years you can finish a Master’s Degree at 21 years old.  In 3 more years you can earn a Doctorate or Ph.D. at age 24.

My brother, the Late Victoriano Tirol, Jr. was Ph.D. in English at 24 years old.  My daughter, Janice Aurora Tirol was also Ph.D. in Education at 24 years old.

I graduated high school at 16 years old.  In 5 years I finished Surveying, Civil Engineering, and Associate in Arts.  I became a licensed Private Land Surveyor (now Geodetic Engineer) at 19 years old and Civil Engineer at age 21 years old.

I had many students in engineering who became engineers at 19 or 20 years old.  My former student Rear Admiral Margarito Sanchez, Jr. finished high school at 14 and civil engineering at 19 years old.  He joined the navy and rose to the rank of Rear Admiral.

Skills?

It is vaunted that a Grade 12 graduate in a particular strand will already become a skilled person.  What skills can we expect with teachers that are not knowledgeable?

The GAS strand has nothing new compared to the Junior High School.  The STEM strand does not make you a technician, an engineer or mathematicians.  The ABM does not even make you knowledgeable in bookkeeping.  The HUMSS does not make you an expert in sociology.

The different Tech-Voc strands may provide you some skills if your school and teacher have the equipment and knowledge.  If you study cooking, the required equipment is comparable to the Hotel and Restaurant course in college.  If you study sports, the sports arena required is comparable to the Rizal Stadium in Manila.  And what will you do if you are skilled in sports?

If you study computers, what skills can a BED graduate give you?  The same questions can also be asked if you study film making, theater, etc.

Why the offer of TESDA to handle the skills training in Senior High School was rejected is a question with many speculative answers.

No wonder that when the school year started, only 42% of the Junior High School graduates proceeded to Senior High School.  What to do with the 58% that did not study is a question that Secretary Briones is trying to solve.  These are the students that doubt the usefulness of the Senior High School because when you graduate you are still a High School graduate.  In the previous system your 2 years can earn you an Associate Title in college. (By Jes B. Tirol)



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