The advent of K 12 curriculum stirs up the Philippine educational system. This recent change in the Philippines’ educational system was implemented four years ago when President Benigno Aquino III signed the K 12 education into law in 2013, adding three years to the country’s basic education curriculum.
The K 12 curriculum requires all Filipino students to have one year of kindergarten, six years of elementary schooling (grades 1 to 6), four years of junior high school (grades 7 to 10), and two years of senior high school (grades 11 to 12). Prior to the implementation of the K 12 curriculum, the Philippines is the last country in Asia and was one of the only three countries in the world with Angola and Djibouti in Africa with a 10-year pre-university or basic education cycle. The 10 year education cycle has always been seen as a disadvantage for our students who are competing in an increasingly global job market compared to our neighboring countries and the rest of the world who has been in the K12 curriculum.
Senior High School (SHS) covers the last two years of the K to 12 program and includes Grades 11 and 12. In SHS, students will go through a core curriculum and subjects under a track of their choice. These two additional years will equip learners with skills that will better prepare them for the future, whether it be:
- Skills Development (Further Tech-Voc training)
- Higher Education (College)
Senior High School covers eight (8) learning areas as part of its core curriculum, and adds specific tracks (similar to college courses) based on four (4) disciplines: Academic (which includes Business, Science & Engineering, Humanities & Social Science, and a General Academic strand), Technical-Vocational-Livelihood (with highly specialized subjects with TESDA qualifications), Sports and Arts & Design. SHS Students may pick a track based on how he or she will want to proceed after high school graduation. You can learn more about the tracks and strands (as well as their curriculum) in the K to 12 Curriculum Guides.
This means that we need more years of honing and preparing our students to become globally competitive especially in the advent of ASEAN integration that commence in 2015. Therefore the longer educational cycle of the K 12 curriculum is seen as critical in giving Filipino students a higher quality of education as an expected outcome. Since the K 12 Curriculum envisions “holistically developed learners with 21st century skills” (Deped Primer, 2011). At the core of this basic education program is “the complete human development of every graduate” (DepEd discussion paper, p.6). This further means that every student would have an understanding of the world around him and a passion for life-long learning while addressing every student’s basic learning needs: “learning to learn, the acquisition of numeracy, literacy, and scientific and technological knowledge as applied to daily life”.
The longer years added in the K 12 curriculum is designed to enable graduates to join the work force right after high school, and suitably prepare those who want to go on to higher education. This is also done to support college graduates seeking work abroad. Developed countries, according to the Department of Education’s (DepEd) briefer, “view the 10-year education cycle as insufficient.”
Change is never easy, as educators and stakeholders of this government’s endeavor, let us champion the cause of the K12 Basic education Curriculum and do our share in disseminating valuable Information on the importance of this curriculum as grade 11 and 12 opening is pass approaching this coming school year 2016-2017. Let us encourage the parents to think of the K 12 curriculum guide not as having two extra years of high school, but as two years less of higher education. It is the right time, which we will join the rest of the world in improving the quality of our basic education system and bring our graduates to global competitiveness.
VICENTE G. SAN MIGUEL, MAT
Education Program Specialists II-HRD
Division of Malaybalay City