COMPULSORY IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS Kindergarten now a must

PNS —Kindergarten will be compulsory for five-year-olds starting this school year, the Department of Education (DepEd) has announced. DepEd is already collating data from last Saturday’s one-day pre-registration for incoming kindergarten students to see if it reached its target 2.4 million children. “Beginning school year 2011-2012, kindergarten [will] become compulsory in all public schools to better prepare pupils for the rigors of regular schooling,” DepEd said in a statement. The move is part of the government’s efforts to upgrade Philippine basic education under the so-called “K (kindergarten) plus 12” program. This means that aside from compulsory kindergarten, two more years will also be added to the current 10- year primary and secondary basic education system.Compulsory kindergarten, is one of DepEd’s early intervention schemes to help students better cope with the basic education curriculum and curb the incidence of early dropouts.

The proposal is up for public consultation in the next three months. Advocates of K+12 point out that the program would put Philippine education on par with those in other countries. On the other hand, some critics say the government should first improve the existing 10-year basic program before adding two more years. For compulsory kindergarten, DepEd has partnered with local government units for the construction of more classrooms to accommodate the projected increase in students.