In 2013, President Benigno Aquino III signed Republic Act 10533, otherwise known as the “Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013,? seeking to institutionalize the government’s “K to 12 (K-12) program,” which adds two more years to the basic education of the Philippines.
Prior to the implementation of the K-12 curriculum guide, the Philippines was one of only three countries in the world and the only one in Asia that still had only 10 years in basic education. This has always been seen as a disadvantage for our students who are competing in an increasingly global job market. The longer educational cycle of the K-12 curriculum is seen as critical in giving Filipino students a higher quality of education. The Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization – Innotech (SEAMEO-Innotech) found the previous 10-year educational cycle to be congested, with a 12-year curriculum squished into 10 years. Developed countries, according to the Department of Education’s (DepEd) briefer, “view the 10-year education cycle as insufficient.” As a result, Filipino students have trailed behind students around the world in the areas of math, languages and science.
The new K to 12 Program
Image Source: officialgazette.gov.ph
The new curriculum is aimed to fix that. The new addition, Senior High School (SHS) covers the last two years of the K-12 program. It is two years of specialized upper secondary education; students may choose a specialization based on aptitude, interests, and school capacity. The choice of career track will define the content of the subjects a student will take in Grades 11 and 12. Each student in Senior High School can choose among three tracks: Academic; Technical-Vocational-Livelihood; and Sports and Arts. The Academic track includes three strands: Business, Accountancy, Management (BAM); Humanities, Education, Social Sciences (HESS); and Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM).
The goal of the Enhanced K-12 Basic Education Program is to create a functional basic education system that will produce productive and responsible citizens equipped with the essential competencies and skills for both life-long learning and employment. The program will enhance the basic education system to full functionality to fulfill the basic learning needs of students. 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. The new curriculum will also support college graduates seeking work abroad.
All in all, the enhanced K-12 curriculum is designed to provide a holistic education for all. Now decongested, it will give students ample time to master basic academic skills as well as to participate in co-curricular and community activities.