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Reformed School Curriculum Helps Filipino Students Find Jobs

Video | 14 January 2019

In 2013, the Philippines reformed its basic education program, extending the pre-university education from 10 to 12 years, starting from Kindergarten to Senior High School – also called K to 12. The Asian Development Bank provided financial support to the K to 12 reform.

The new curriculum lets students choose to whether to concentrate on vocational skills, or pursue higher academic learning in preparation for college. This brought the country at par with the rest of Asia.

The first batch of K to 12 graduates received their diplomas in April 2018. The 1.2 million graduates, more than half of whom came from public schools, are now better equipped to face the future and contribute to society.

Transcript

Mandaluyong, Philippines - In 2013, the Philippine government reformed its basic education program, extending the pre-university education from 10 to 12 years, starting from Kindergarten to Senior High School – also called K to 12.

The reform brought the country at par with the rest of Asia.

 “The K to 12 program is proving to be a success,” says Nerissa Losaria, Superintendent at the Office of the Schools Division, Mandaluyong City.

“It started with good planning. We did mapping of our resources. We went to check the preferences for courses of our students. We also checked our teacher capabilities, competencies, what they have to be able to teach the Senior High School subjects well.

Initially, many parents opposed the program.

They feared the additional strain it would put on their family budget.

“It worried me because it meant more expenses, another budget constraint for us,” explains 

Marvic Pedrosa a parent from the area.

“Instead of going straight to college, my daughter would have to spend two more years to finish high school.”

But educators, parents, and SHS students in the Philippines are now beginning to see its benefits.

The new curriculum lets students choose to whether to concentrate on vocational skills,

or pursue higher academic learning in preparation for college.

“K to 12 graduates are better prepared because they are trained to acquire more skills, not just

theoretical knowledge,” Henry Sabidong, Principal of the Andres Bonifacio Integrated School.

“They have hands-on training using professional equipment, and they experience being part of the workplace.”

Experience shows that K to 12 graduates have better employment prospects than most.

“The training boosted our self-confidence especially after our immersion in a real work

environment,” confirms Ken Hover, a technical vocational livelihood course graduate from Andres Bonifacio Integrated School.

Vocational students also can do internships in the industry they are training for.

This makes graduates more employable.

Margie Naraga was hired after doing her immersion program at a spa.

“It was a big help for me that I was hired at the spa where I did my training,” says Margie Naraga, a technical vocational livelihood course graduate from Jose Fabella Memorial School.

“I now earn money to support my family, I am able to give some money to my mother and I also get to set aside money for myself.”

The Asian Development Bank provides financial support to the K to 12 reform.

The program aims to improve availability of qualified science and math teachers in senior high

schools, upgrade school facilities, and strengthen procurement processes.

A voucher system also gives students the option to learn in private schools.

“We realized that not all schools or high schools can offer Senior High School because of the

Facilities,” explains Losaria.

“And so we needed private schools to accommodate our learners.”

The first batch of K to 12 graduates received their diplomas in April 2018.

The 1.2 million graduates, more than half of whom came from public schools, are now better equipped to face the future and contribute to society.

“Compared to our ASEAN counterparts on K to 12, we’re still on the early stages but I think we have already achieved good results in a span of two years,” Losaria says.