Saturday, July 25, 2015


WILL the K to 12 program produce storytellers?

I am for implementing the controversial system. You, the reader, may judge me as complacent when you know that my younger son’s batch was the last in his school to squeak past the start of the new basic education curriculum, which adds two more years to the previous 10-year program.

I agree with critics that adding two more years of senior high school stretches to breaking point the resources of the poor and the middle class.

Yet, something must be done to correct the eroding quality of Philippine education. Extending the basic education curriculum may arrest this degradation.

As the Philippine Daily Inquirer stated in its May 7 editorial, “The old 10-year curriculum rolled out public school graduates with reading, writing and other basic skills at a fourth-grade level.”

I fervently hope that, by the end of school year 2016-17, the first batch of senior high school students will not merely possess the competence of a sixth-grade student.

Anticipating the worst during the piloting of the K to 12 program, will a senior high school graduate have the competence to work if pursuing college is no longer possible for him or her?

Yes, says the Department of Education. Senior high school will have four tracks: academic, technical-vocational-livelihood, sports, and art and design. The Philippine Information Agency adds that the tracks are matched to fit the needs and capacity of the community, as well as the interests of students.

Can a senior high school graduate apply to work as a journalist? Will newsrooms hire a reporter with a senior high school diploma?

A journalist is essential for any community. On the eve of Communications Sunday, a lay member prayed that the press fulfills their duty to report with accuracy, interpret events so that citizens can understand the meaning to their lives, and represent the views of all the sectors in society. I consider this an excellent definition of a journalist’s duty.

What does one need to work as a journalist? A multi-awarded senior journalist who teaches Mass Communication said she looks for one competence: the ability to see the story.

K to 12 proponents say the reform is needed to keep up with Asian neighbors and the rest of the world. First, our graduates should work with the country’s welfare in mind.

Storytelling is not only needed in newsrooms. The knack of finding the story in a forest of facts or chimera of lies will help citizens monitor how their local government spends the 15 million to 20 million pesos budgeted to it each year.

The ability to tell a story is not a gift or a moment’s inspiration. Knowing what stories have to be told and how to tell these can be learned by writers, cartoonists, actors, film makers, bloggers, and Netizens. Mass media and the Internet need a lot of stuff taken out but also a lot of stuff to be put in.

The ability to “smell a story” will help the Mary Jane Velosos and other vulnerable Filipinos see through the deceptive eloquence of “straight English”-speaking opportunists and manipulators.

Our country needs storytellers. Can the K to 12 produce them?

( 09173226131)

*First published in Sun.Star Cebu’s May 24, 2015 issue of the Sunday editorial-page column, “Matamata”

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