THE introduction of the K to 12 Program, considered the biggest education reform in the history of the Philippine education system, has been acknowledged by its supporters as the shot in the arm needed to put quality in the Philippine education system. With the implementation of the program, students will not be accepted beginning School Year 2016 into college unless they finish grades 11 and 12. And high-school diplomas will only be issued to graduates of Grade 12.
Located along Edsa, near the Guadalupe-Estrella area, the Global City Innovative College (GIC) is one of the private educational institutions that has responded to the call of putting up the infrastructure for Grades 11 and 12.
In a recent interview with the BusinessMirror, GIC President Michael Tan notes the school’s program will enable their graduates to comply with the global standard requirement of 12 years of basic education.
“GIC wants to play a role in the country’s new education framework and do our share in bridging the gap between the high school and the tertiary levels. We also see this as an opportunity to cascade our approach to education to more students,” said Tan, an engineer by profession and a graduate of De La Salle University-Manila.
He believes K to 12 will enable Filipinos to be globally competitive. “It will still be like high school but with specialization. The curriculum will be geared towards the student’s interest. The specialization will be reflected in the student’s choice of tracks and strands. The tracks and strands offered at GIC prepares students better for specific college programs. So the students move up to the next level better equipped,” Tan said.
He said track is similar to what academe refers to as “course” in college while strands are similar to what is called “major” in college.
GIC offers Academic and Tech Voc tracks. Under the academic track they have three strands: Accountancy Business and Management (ABM), Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Humanities and Social Sciences (HUMSS). Under the Tech Voc track, they have two strands: The first is Home Economics which includes pastry and bakery production; food and beverages; and tour guiding and tourism promotions.
The second is Information and Communications Technology (ICT) where they have animation, computer programming and medical transcription. Slots per strand are limited.
Established in 2002, GIC offers Bachelor of Science courses on Business Administration, Hospitality Management, Information Technology, Tourism Management, Medical Technology, Accountancy and Accounting Technology. The Senior High School program is the school’s latest offering.
Tan describes the school’s curriculum as future-centric as it employs 21st century learning. Elucidating, Tan said, is GIC’s brand of education that equips the students with the tools so can they thrive in the future. “We teach timeless skills that will serve as a strong foundation regardless of what the future holds. This is done through holistic and innovative education,” he said.
To prepare the students in their future, Tan assures GIC will provide them a unique 3D experience—discover, develop and direct. The 3D approach, according to Tan, will help students discover their innate talents and gifts “We believe that these two years are critical yet confusing to a young student’s life stage. “Our unique enrichment programs for Grades 11 and 12 aim to develop these talents and gifts by honing them with the needed skills needed for the 21st century. Finally, GIC will help them determine and focus on the direction to take for the important life choices they will make for their career or further education,” Tan said.
To help the students decide on which track/strand to take, GIC conducts a career assessment prior to enrolment.
“We discuss the results with the parents and emphasize to them that students who pursue their interests are more likely to succeed. If students take up what they want, truancy in college is reduced,” he said.
“To achieve a good study life balance, the senior high-school students will have only four days of school. Assignments will be done in school. We want them to be well-rounded and enjoy their social life and family life,” he said.
“The fifth day will be spent as immersion in their industry of choice. For example, if the topic is about interviews, we will let them spend the fifth day of the week going on interviews. We want them to get the experience so that when they return to the classroom, they will understand the discussion better. If it’s all lecture,then everything remains abstract. They will not comprehend until they go through it. And the experience will make them remember better,” he said.
Tan rationalizes that senior-high school must go beyond technical skills and should also emphasize the soft skills such as attitude and personality. “They have to learn more skills that will match with what the industry wants like critical thinking, decision-making, and presentation skills. These are the things we will teach you in GIC through our curriculum enhancement.”
The Life (leadership, innovation, fellowship and excellence) course is an example of an enhancement. It is a required subject. “This is where we guide them to discover them and embrace their uniqueness, we teach them to explore their community and relate with others properly. It is also in the Life course where we prepare them for the professional world and life realities,” Tan said.