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K to 12: The Enhanced Basic Education Program

The Enhanced K to 12 Basic Education Program

We need to add two years to our basic education. Those who can afford pay up to fourteen years of schooling before university. Thus their children are getting into the best Universities and the best jobs after graduation. I want at least 12 years for our public school children to give them an even chance at succeeding.
President Benigno S. Aquino III


  • Enhancing the quality of basic education in the Philippines is urgent and critical.
  • The poor quality of basic education is reflected in the low achievement scores of Filipino students.
  • Philippine Average TIMMS Scores (Trends in International Mathematics an Science Study)

  • The congested curriculum partly explains the present state of education.
  • This quality of education is reflected in the inadequate preparation of high school graduates for the world of work or entrepreneurship or higher education.

  • The current system also reinforces the misconception that basic education is just a preparatory step for higher education.
  • The short duration of the basic education program also puts the millions of overseas Filipino workers (OFW)

  • More importantly, the short basic education program affects the human development of the Filipino children. 
  • Cognizant of this urgent and critical concern and in line with the priorities of the Aquino Administration, the Department of Education is taking bold steps to enhance the basic education curriculum. 
  • The Enhanced K to 12 Basic Education Program seeks to provide for a quality 12-year basic education program that each Filipino is entitled to. This is consistent with Article XIV, Section 2(1) of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which states that
The State shall establish, maintain, and support a complete, adequate, and integrated system of education relevant to the needs of the people and society.
  • K to 12 means Kindergarten and the 12 years of elementary and secondary education.

Historical Background

  • As early as 1925, studies have observed the inadequacy of the basic education curriculum. As one of the most well studied reforms, recommendations of either adding or restoring 7th grade or adding an extra year to basic education have been put forward. 
  1. Monroe Survey (1925): Secondary education did not prepare for life and recommended training in agriculture, commerce, and industry. 
  2. Prosser Survey (1930): Recommended to improve phases of vocational education such as 7th grade shopwork, provincial schools, practical arts training in the regular high schools, home economics, placement work, gardening, and agricultural education. 
  3. UNESCO Mission Survey (1949): recommended the restoration of Grade 7. 
  4. Education Act. of 1953: under Section 3, mandates that 
The primary course shall be composed of four grades (Grades I to IV) and the intermediate course of three grades (Grade V to VII).
  1. Swanson Survey (1960): Recommended the restoration of Grade 7. 
  2. Presidential Commission to Survey Philippine education (PCSPE) (1970): High priority be given to the implementation of an 11-year program; Recommended program consists of 6 years of compulsory elementary education and 5 years of secondary education. 
  3. Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM) Report (1991): If one year is to be added in the education program, it recommends one of two alternatives: Seven years of elementary education or Five years of secondary education 
  4. Presidential Commission on Educational Reforms (2000): Reform proposals include the establishment of a one-year pre-baccalaureate system that would also bring the Philippines at par with other countries.

Where are we at now?

  • Insufficient mastery of basic competencies due to congested curriculum. 12 years curriculum is being delivered in 10 years. 
  • High school graduates are younger than 18 years old and lack basic competencies and maturity. They cannot legally enter into contracts and are not emotionally mature for entrepreneurship/employment.
  • Other countries view the 10-years education cycle as insufficient. 

What is K to 12?

  • K to 12 means Kindergarten and the 12 years of elementary and secondary education. 
  • Kindergarten refers to 5 years old cohort that takes a standardized kinder curriculum. 
  • Elementary education refers to primary schooling that involves six or seven years of education.
  • Secondary education refers to high school.

Vision of K to 12 Education

Graduates of Enhanced K to 12 Basic Education Program will: 
  • Acquire mastery of basic competencies. 
  • Be more emotionally mature. 
  • Be socially aware, pro-active, involve in public and civic affairs. 
  • Be adequately prepared for the word of work or entrepreneurship or higher education. 
  • Be legally employable with potential for better earnings.
  • Be globally competitive.
  • Every graduate of the Enhanced K to 12 Basic Education program is an empowered individual who has learned, through a program that is rooted on sound educational principles and geared towards excellence, the foundations for learning throughout life, the competence to engage in work and be productive, the ability to coexist in fruitful harmony with local and global communities, the capability to engage in autonomous critical thinking, and the capacity to transform others and one’s self.

How are we planning to implement the K to 12 program? 

The model that is currently being proposed by DepEd is the K-6-4-2 Model. This model involves Kindergarten, six years of elementary education, four years of junior high school (Grades 7 to 10) and two years of senior high (Grades 11 to 12). The two years of senior high school intend to provide time for students to consolidate acquired academic skills and competence.

What is Proposed implementation plan of DepEd?

K-6-4-2 MODEL

What is Senior High School?

  • 2 years of in-depth specialization for students depending on the occupation/career track they wish to pursue.
  • Skills and competencies relevant to the job market.
  • The 2 years of senior HS intend to provide time for students to consolidate acquired academic skills and competencies.
  • The curriculum will allow specializations in Science and Technology, Music and Arts, Agriculture and Fisheries, Sports, Business and Entrepreneurship.

Why add two more years? 

  • Decongest and enhance the basic education curriculum.
  • Better quality education for all.
  • Philippines is the only remaining country in Asia with a 10-year basic education program. 
  • K to12 is not new. The proposal to expand the basic education dates back to 1925 
  • Studies in the Philippines have shown that an additional year of schooling increases earnings by 7.5%. 
  • Studies validate that improvements in the quality of education will increase GDP growth by 2% to 2.2% .
  • Minus 2 instead of plus 2 for those families who cannot afford a college education but still wish to have their children find a good paying job. Right now, parents spend for at least 4 years of college to have an employable child. In our model, parents will not pay for 2 years of basic education that will give them an employable child. In effect, we are saving parents 2 years of expenses. The plan is not “Plus 2 years before graduation” but “ Minus 2 years before work. 
  • Inspire a shift in attitude that completion of high school education is more than just preparation for college but can be sufficient for a gainful employment or career.

What will the society gain from K to 12?

  • K to 12 will facilitate an accelerated economic growth. 
  • K to 12 will facilitate mutual recognition of Filipino graduates and professionals in other countries. 
  • A better educated society provides a sound foundation for long-term socio-economic development . 
  • Several studies have shown that the improvements in the quality of education will increase GDP growth by as much as 2%. Studies in the UK, India and US show that additional years of schooling also have positive overall impact on society.

What Benefits will Individuals and Families get? 

  • An enhanced curriculum will decongest academic workload.
  • Graduates will possess competencies and skills relevant to the job market. 
  • Graduates will be prepared for higher education. 
  • Graduates will be able to earn higher wages and/or better prepared to start their own business. 
  • Graduates could now be recognized abroad.

What Do We Do From Now? 

  • Stakeholder Consultations 
  • Curriculum Review and Enhancement 
  • Financial Study 
  • Teacher Training 
  • Legislation 
  • K to 12 IEC Campaign

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