Revamping the Senior High School System in the Philippines
The K-12 education system in the Philippines has been a topic of discussion and debate since its implementation. The system, which includes the K+10+2 bill proposed by Arroyo, has been seen as a potential solution to the country’s educational challenges. However, it’s not without its critics.
The K-12 system, as it stands, awards K-10 graduates of junior high school (JHS) a diploma that certifies their completion of secondary education and their qualification to move to higher education. This was the system that prevailed under the K-10 regime. However, the introduction of Republic Act No. 10533 in 2013 added two years of senior high school (SHS) to the basic education cycle. This meant that students had to pass these additional years to be recognized as high school graduates.
The Arroyo bill proposes a change to this system. It suggests that the +2 option should be denied for K-10 graduates not headed to college for studies in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) disciplines or professions requiring licensure exams. If passed, this bill would effectively translate to K+10-2 for perhaps half of the K-10 graduating cohort. This raises the question: Does Congress want to reduce the number of K-10 graduates eligible for an additional two years of formal education?
Before the implementation of K-12, about 40 percent of high school graduates dropped out of the formal education system. However, in the school year 2016 to 2017, the first year of K-12, about half a million more students enrolled in Grade 11 than had enrolled in the equivalent freshman college after Grade 10 graduation in 2015 to 2016.
The Department of Education (DepEd) could potentially award a JHS diploma certifying that the holder has completed high school. However, congressional action would be needed for two measures: 1) providing secure funding to support the +2 cycle for those who want it to prepare for college or for voc-tech qualifications in the private or the public higher education institutions (HEI); and 2) recognizing and rebranding SHS as part of higher education (Pre-baccalaureate program? Professional program?) and transferring its oversight from DepEd to the Commission on Higher Education.
The K-12 education system in the Philippines is a complex issue with many facets. It’s clear that there are potential benefits and drawbacks to the current system, and any changes proposed must be carefully considered to ensure they serve the best interests of the students and the country as a whole.