Arroyo Unveils ‘K + 10 + 2’ to Replace K-12 Curriculum
On Thursday, a former president put forth a suggestion to modify the nation’s secondary education structure by reverting to a four-year format and replacing the current senior high school with an elective two-year pre-university program. This proposal comes in response to criticisms aimed at the existing K to 12 curriculum.
Deputy House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo introduced a measure to substitute the K to 12 system with a “K + 10 + 2 program,” which would encompass mandatory Kindergarten, six years of elementary school, and four years of high school. An extra two years of “post-secondary, pre-university” education would only be obligatory for students intending to pursue professional fields such as accounting, engineering, law, and medicine.
Arroyo argued in the bill’s explanatory note that in a country like the Philippines, where the poverty rate is at 18%, young individuals should have the choice to complete their basic education sooner, after just four years of high school, so they can support their families in agriculture or small businesses. She also stated that the pre-university program is designed to bolster the success rate of prospective professionals in college, university, and professional licensing.
Arroyo pointed out that the inclusion of two additional years of senior high school education in the basic curriculum has not accomplished its intended objective of making high school graduates more employable. Most private sector businesses continue to favor college or university graduates over high school graduates.
A 2020 study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) revealed that only one in five senior high school graduates enter the workforce, with the majority choosing to pursue higher education to enhance their employment prospects. Arroyo stressed that the K to 12 program’s inability to deliver on its promises has intensified the burden on parents and students due to the added years of basic education.
In the Upper House, some senators have advocated for a reassessment of the K to 12 program, citing numerous issues affecting the curriculum. According to a survey conducted by independent pollster Pulse Asia and commissioned by Senate Basic Education Committee Chairman Sherwin Gatchalian last year, 44% of Filipinos expressed dissatisfaction with the K to 12 education system.
Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte initiated a review of the K-12 curriculum, describing it as “congested,” and seeking to ensure its continued relevance in producing “competent, job-ready, active, and responsible citizens.