Under K-12, Technology and Livelihood Education (TLE) courses will be introduced in the junior and senior high school levels. Students are required to learn exploratory concepts of TESDA courses in Grades 7 and 8. More details below:
“…the Grade 7and 8 learner is given the opportunity to explore from a maximum of 4 TLE mini courses in Grade 7 and another 4 in Grade 8 which the school offers depending on community needs and school resources.
“In the exploratory courses, the learner is taught 5 basic competencies common to all TLE courses. The basic competencies are 1) mensuration and calculation, 2) use of tools and equipment, 3) interpretation of plans/drawing, 4) occupational health and safety in the workplace, and 5) maintenance of tools and equipment.”
There are more than 20 TLE electives based on the training regulations of TESDA:
2. Agricultural Crop Production
3. Animal Crop Production
4. Automative Servicing
5. Bread and Pastry Production
8. Commercial Cooking
9. Electrical Installation and Maintenance
10. Consumer Electronics Servicing
11. Fish processing
13. Household services
15. Mechanical drafting
16. Nail care
17. Computer Hardware Servicing
18. RAC Servicing
19. Shielded Metal Arc Welding
21. Tiles Setting
In Grade 9, the student chooses one TESDA course to specialize and the learner is given a Certificate of Competency. In Grade 10, the student pursues the TLE specialization course and after the end of the school year he would be given a National Certificate (NC) Level I or Level II.
According to DepEd, the new curriculum is “geared towards the development of a holistically developed Filipino with 21st century skills.” One of the outcome goals of the program is to improve Philippine education standards “to be at par with international standards.”
But I couldn’t reconcile these exemplary pedagogic objectives with TESDA’s definition of an NC 1 graduate. Under K-12, a Grade 10 student (or fourth year high school student today) can obtain an NC I if he “performs a routine and predictable tasks; has little judgment; and, works under supervision.” While an NC II holder “performs prescribe range of functions involving known routines and procedures; has limited choice and complexity of functions, and has little accountability.”
K-12 is supposed to enhance the global competitiveness of the youth by introducing world-class teaching methods, ICT literacy, and 21st century skills in schools. DepEd is even boasting the use of a progressive spiral curriculum which would facilitate the holistic development of individuals. But after hurdling all these innovative learning challenges from Kindergarten to Grade 10, and after taking and passing several standardized examinations and assessment tools, the student is simply expected to “perform a routine and predictable task, has little judgment, has limited choice and complexity of functions, and has little accountability”?
K-12 is a fancy but misleading name for a program that merely requires the teaching of TESDA subjects to all students in the high school level. Apparently, the government idea of a global learner is an individual who has middle level skills while possessing the right attitude and behavior in the workplace. In short, K-12 seeks to transform all schools into a big assembly line of factories breeding a new generation of docile and semi-skilled laborers who are ready for export to other countries.
K-12 will not solve the alleged mismatch between schools and local industries. It’s more of a creative reform that will boost the colonial imprimatur of Philippine education. For example, why offer caregiving and household services to high school students? Are these emerging industries? Is it really necessary to integrate these courses in the national curriculum? Does the local market require the specialized training of future caregivers and kasambahays?
Under the household service TLE subject, children will learn about the professional code of conduct or ethics of a household worker. They will be taught how to ‘maintain a professional image’ as household workers. Other topics include ‘Desirable Traits of a Household Worker’ and ‘Duties and Responsibilities of a Household Worker.’ At the end of the semester, students will be able to identify and operate a vacuum cleaner, floor polisher, and other cleaning materials. The teaching module also gives valuable tips to K-12 students and future supermaids:
“Household workers should not sexually harass clients. Sexual harassment includes sexual advances, sexual solicitation, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
“Household workers should not use derogatory language in their written or verbal communications to or about clients
“When setting fees, Household workers should receive fee that are fair, reasonable, and commensurate with the services performed. Consideration should be given to clients’ ability to pay.
“Household workers should make reasonable efforts to ensure continuity of services in the event that services are interrupted by factors such as unavailability, relocation, illness, disability, or death.
“They should take reasonable steps to avoid abandoning clients who are still in need of services.”
Global excellence my foot! K-12 was designed to raise the global appeal of Filipino minimum wage earners.
TLE as conceptualized by DepEd will not lead to intense and productive collaboration between schools and emerging local industries in the country because the framework leans in favor of the objective of supplying the manpower needs of other countries and big foreign corporations.
TLE is the central component of K-12. It’s a mandatory TESDA program for all students in the country. Other reforms like mother tongue-based education and new teaching strategies can be adopted even without restructuring the whole education set-up. It means we don’t need the present K-12 to implement reforms in the core learning disciplines.