Salceda decries DepEd’s lack of focus on kindergarten in K-12 program
He said DepEd has performed “dismally” in inviting children to enroll in kindergarten in public schools considering that the kinder level is the “most delicate and sensitive stage” when children start to enter formal education.
Salceda, in a recent emailed statement, said DepEd has been saddled with “structural issues” confronting implementation of the K-12 program.
He said the population of grade 1 pupils is greater than those in kindergarten, there is lack of training of kindergarten teachers and the differences in qualifications of teachers for kindergarten and grade one are not clear to the community.
Salceda said DepEd has given “marginal management attention” and “allocated token new and incremental resources” to the existing elementary system.
The Albay lawmaker, who is vice senior chairperson of the House appropriation committee, observed these flaws during recent budget deliberations for DepEd in the General Appropriation Act (GAA) for 2017.
At the budget hearing the committee found out that since kindergarten was made mandatory DepEd had failed to report on new classrooms for kinder classes or new kinder teaching items, especially in its National Expenditure Program (NEP-GAA).
“Nowhere in their reports was mention made about new classrooms and teaching items,” he said.
Salceda said the K-12 program should be renamed “10+2.”
He said that during visits and dialogue with DepEd officials in Albay he observed that the number of pupils in kinder is much lower than that of the grade 1 population.
Salceda said he did not see distinct kindergarten classes during these visits which led him to ask if there were trainings for kindergarten teachers and if there was budget allocated for this.
He questioned why there was 60 percent more pupils in grade one than in kindergarten.
Salceda said he presumed that DepEd has not been serious with the mandatory teaching of kindergarten.
“If you compute the difference between the kindergarten population in public schools and grade one population, it’s as if there is a population explosion,” he said. (PNA)