Three years in preparatory education, six years in elementary, four years in Junior High, and two years in Senior High. This year, the very first batch of the K12 program is finally in their 4th year in college.
Students and parents back then were surprised about the additional years for students. The Department of Education (DepEd) added 2 years in the secondary level, offering Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) strand for students to pursue a career in line with this strand, as well as Humanities and Social Sciences (HUMSS) and Accountancy, Business and Management (ABM).
DepEd also offered Technical-Vocational-Livelihood (TVL) Track and General Academic Strand (GAS). These tracks will prepare learners for the subject specialization of the college course of their choice, as DepEd said.
A list of obstacles
However, since the Philippines did not like they were completely prepared, some issues arose. And, we, the first batch, served as the experimental variable of the program.
Because the first batch is still in process, no results were announced yet. There was no assurance of how the program will really help students. Part of us says yes, it may help us somehow. Yet, our batch feels unlucky. Our dreams of holding our own diploma and wearing our toga gets more difficult to reach.
Firstly, our batch became the first group of students who experienced the additional 2 years in high school. Second, the Philippines faced a pandemic, leading to other challenges for the students.
A different approach
New modes of learning such as online class and modular became the norm, which was unfair to those who cannot afford tools and equipment for the new normal of our education system, as well as to those kinesthetic learners that learn by doing tasks for the lessons.
Meanwhile, auditory and visual learners may find it easier but there are instances that problems arise. We experienced lockdown and quarantines that made us stay in our houses, which may seem like an advantage to some, but the majority of students treat it as a great disadvantage. Some activities at the university and schools that we want to experience were gone, like the intramurals, the university ball, seniors’ night, and band guests for an event.
Another thing we must experience face-to-face is the internship. Yet, instead of being on the field, we face our monitors for online on-the-job training.
Their final step
Yet, after all these struggles as the first batch of the K12 program, finally, we are now in our senior year. A little sooner, we can experience our graduation. However, it looks like we will still take this last year in college in an online class, but, no worries. Maybe a greater future is waiting for us ahead. This is the moment we are waiting for. The moment we can say ‘At last.’
To all students of the first batch of K12, I am so proud of you! The journey of reaching our dreams becomes more visible. See you on our next journey and an early congratulations to all of us. Padayon!
May Ann Lorio Leanillo is a Journalism Student from Cavite State University. She loves writing but is still learning and exploring the world of pen and paper. Watching action movies, mystery, fiction, and fantasy genres is what she enjoys the most in her free time. Believes that hard work and determination works over skills.