The Whole Child Approach and the New General Education Curriculum

A lot of concerns arise whenever something new and radically transformative is introduced, especially in the field of education.
With the introduction of the new General Education Curriculum (GEC), the Commission on Higher Education sought to boost holistic understanding, as well as intellectual and civic competencies.
Since its implementation last year, the new GEC has helped to smoothly transition K-12 education to the tertiary level, integrating advanced subjects from Senior High School and accommodating 36 of the original 63 units. The pertinent question, however, is whether after a year of implementation, the original spirit of the GEC was followed. That is to say, its aims of boosting holistic understanding as well as intellectual and civic competencies among learners were met, or at the very least retained some significance. If not, this would mean that it may require some changes to how it is implemented and where it is going to grow forward to face the demands of the future.

The Whole Child Approach (WCA) is integrated with the implementation of the K-12 system in the Philippines. The Department of Education’s K-12 program was created in line with the Philippine Qualifications Framework (PQF) and the ASEAN Qualifications Framework (AQF). As such, they are built with an outcomes-based approach, one that prepares students for their future as job-ready and qualified graduates.

While private colleges and universities do retain a certain degree of autonomy to decide whether they will add more subjects to their curriculum relative to what their programs require or aim to pursue in terms of focus and pace, this is not the case for all. Given this difference, perspectives on holistic education are largely ignored or dismissed as unnecessary.

The WCA may help bridge the gap between this current shift in educational practice as its implementation is underway towards fuller integration and maturity. Right now, educational institutions in the Philippines are adjusting and shifting both administrative policies and teaching practices in light of the changes brought about by the new GEC.

This means that our schools, as learning environments for young Filipino learners, must strive to sustain education through a holistic approach that incorporates inquiry-based, reflective, collaborative, and integrative practices and perspectives which, when applied properly, would drive innovation and help the Philippine economy form a sustainable backbone for growth, development, and resilience for the future.

A holistic perspective on education like the Whole Child Approach takes into account every aspect of a young learner’s experience would help and complement well with the objectives of the new GEC, given how it also highlights the critical thinking and problem-solving capacities that a young learner needs to hone early on, before embarking on a journey towards responsible citizenship and later professional life.

By its design, the new General Education Curriculum pushes forward, guided with the philosophy and goals of a progressive education, adapting to an open, transparent, and multi-perspective program which not only enables the economy to thrive, but also empowers teachers, students, and all education stakeholders to seize the day and prepare for a brighter tomorrow.

Read here to learn more about the whole child approach and how holistic learning could sync with new policies in Philippine education: https://www.rexpublishing.com.ph/whole-child-initiative/

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