The Philippine Government Adopts New Pre-university Program
Philippines is the last country in Asia to adopt to the international practice of 12 years or more in basic education and pre-university program. The much needed overhaul in the Philippine educational system came in May 2013 through Republic Act 10533, known as Enhanced Basic Education Act with the inclusion of additional two years for senior high school education (newsinfo.inquirer.net, 2018).
Department of Education (DepEd) under sectary Tonisito Umali, explains that the senior high school (SHS) program, being the last level in basic education is intended to prepare students to enter into college/university or to work in the industry or be an entrepreneur. The four tracks — academic, tech-voc, sports, arts and design can prepare students for a more rigorous training and work in their future endeavor (Sarmiento and Orale, 2016) Indeed, senior high school graduates is expected not only excellent in theories and concepts but in skills and experiences.
How it works
Further, DepEd secretary Leonor Briones stresses that the key feature of the senior high school curriculum is its work immersion, which can be implemented in various mode depending on the purposes and needs of learners. Work immersion program, which started last school year 2017-2018, has been backed with guidelines to ensure its effective and efficient implementation. Through these guidelines, it has laid its objectives that is to help develop among the learners’ life and career skills, and prepare them to make decisions on postsecondary education or employment (Mendoza, 2017).
Essential in work immersion is giving students actual work environment such as workshops, offices and laboratories in which his prior training is relevant. Crucial in achieving these goals is for DepEd to find suitable partner institutions who will provide learners with opportunities, workplace or hands-on experience, and additional learning resources (Ronda, 2018).
As a result, different SHSs throughout the country become forerunner of work immersion’s implementation. Since its implementation a year ago, clamor for ‘accountability’ especially in work immersion has started to emerge. Issues like inadequacy in the number of hours (Philippine of Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 2018); half-baked educational foundation (Bacarra, 2016); and industry’s anxiety to hire SHS graduate (Mateo, 2018) has marred its conduct. This leads to low participation and accommodation of partner industries in the work immersion program. According to Bethyl Gacayan, Abellana National School-School Partnership Focal Person, industries demand longer internship hours. She adds that some industries are still groping and absorbing the idea of deploying high school students to the workplace especially on the extent of their exposure to actual work. Consequently, limiting the chance of the students to intern in big and reputed companies. Also, the lack of research-based evaluative reports on work immersion performance shies participation of target-industries. Research on this field limits study to evaluating the curriculum of senior high school to other countries (Sarmiento & Orale, 2016), identifying perceptions of satisfaction and readiness (Acosta, 2016; Canezo 2016; Camarines, et al. 2017; Eboses, et al. 2018); and course offering (Hesse, 20122). This prompted, Briones in an interview in CNN Philippines last May 11 2018, to have a thorough review of the curriculum.
Though, Magno and Poisang (2016) suggest that SHS can be assessed in terms of placement of students in the senior high school tracks, classroom-based assessment, assessment of achieved competencies, participation in international benchmarking of competencies, college readiness assessment and career assessment. From both public and educational perspective, judging the worth or utility of the activities undertaken by our students in work immersion must be the focal consideration of every study. It is the researcher’s belief that Philippine educational researchers have the professional accountability to provide a evaluative report on the current status of the K-12 program implementation and fill in the scarcity of literature. Such action can attract more stakeholders. Hence, it is the objective of the paper to evaluate the conduct of K-12 work immersion program of Abellana National School Commercial Cooking using goal-based method. In turn, this paper will describe the characteristics of successful conduct of work immersion.