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Primer: What you

should know about

the K to 12 senior
high school
By: Chelo Banal-Formoso - @inquirerdotnet
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 02:32 AM May 01, 2016

(First of two parts)

Monday is the nationwide enrolment date for the very first batch of
Grade 11, according to Education Secretary Br. Armin Luistro. This
time, the students should go to their schools of choice and enroll in
their preferred tracks, unlike the preregistration in October which was
done online.
For readers who need to understand the new senior high school
system, in particular parents who are seeking the best educational
opportunities for their children, heres an overview of the program
which caps the countrys most massive education reform to-date.

Senior high school (SHS) refers to Grades 11 and 12, the last two
years of the K-12 program that DepEd has been implementing since
2012. Students begin to study in SHS the subjects that will introduce
them to their preferred career path.
High school in the old system consisted of First Year to Fourth Year.
What corresponds to those four years today are Grades 7 to 10, also
known as junior high school (JHS).

Take note now: Senior high has two grade levels and no longer
means just the very last year of high school; junior high has four
grade levels and does not mean just the second to the last year of
high school.
To further explain: Under Republic Act No. 10533 (Enhanced Basic
Education Act of 2013), you will have to complete Kindergarten,
Grades 1 to 6 (elementary), Grades 7 to 10 (junior high school) and
Grades 11 to 12 (senior high school)in all 13 yearsbefore you can
receive a high school diploma.
Is SHS compulsory?
Students cannot be forced to spend two more years in school, but if
they stop at Grade 10, they will only receive a JHS certificate, not a
high school diploma.
Students who belong to the K-12 generation but do not complete
Grade 12 will be disadvantaged in that they will not be accepted into
a college degree or technical-vocational certificate program without
a SHS diploma. They will also miss out on an opportunity to learn
skills that can qualify them for employment right after SHS, or
prepare them for starting up a business.
Why did some private schools graduate Fourth Year high
school students this year who are going on to university in
the coming school year? Arent they supposed to be in Grade
11 of the new K-12 program, just like the Grade 10 graduates
of public high schools?
The DepEd allowed private schools that, prior to K-12
implementation, already had seven years of elementary plus four
years of high school (not to mention Kinder and pre-Kinder) to go
through a transition program so their students who were in Fourth

Year and supposed to graduate from high school at the end of SY

2015-16 could go on to college.
This was possible because those students had gone through more
than 10 years of basic education. The schools had either Grade 7 or
an international K-12 program, such as an International
Baccalaureate (IB) program. The DepEd evaluated their curriculum
vis--vis the K-12 curriculum.
Likewise, there are public schools that were early implementors of
SHS whose students will be college freshmen in SY 2016-17. The full
list of these schools is on the DepEd website.
Does that mean colleges and universities will have freshman
enrollees in SY 2016-17?
Yes, the graduates of the private schools who were allowed to
recalibrate their curriculum to include SHS specializations will be
among the incoming college freshmen this school year.
Also, students who graduated from high school in the years before
2015-2016 and have never been to college are being enticed to
enroll by the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd). Every year,
500,000 high school graduates dont go to college. They form a
sizable chunk of the group the CHEd calls lifelong learners.
If they have always wanted to go to college, this is a good time to do
it. The monies for scholarships are there, with only a few takers.
Check the CHEd and the Philippine Business for Education websites
for scholarships.
What are the preregistration data for incoming Grade 11?
In October last year, 1.5 million incoming Grade 11 students
preregistered. Of this number, only 320,000 are from private schools.

The majority are from public schools, 75 percent of whom said their
first choice was to stay in the public school system.

Does the DepEd have enough public SHS to accommodate

The DepEd built 200 new, stand-alone public SHS, mostly in
catchment areas. So out of 8,000 public high schools, only 25 percent
will not offer SHS mainly because there is no land on which to build
additional facilities.
Grade 11 students who reside where there are no DepEd schools
have the option of going to a private SHS, together with the 25
percent whose preregistration preference is to move to a private
Are there enough private SHS?
There is a sufficient number because, in addition to the already
existing private high schools that are now offering both junior and
senior high schools, there are SHS attached to higher education
institutes (HEIs), state universities and colleges (SUCs), local
universities and colleges (LUCs) and technical vocational institutes
How did the DepEd determine which private schools could
offer SHS?
The DepEd did not just give its blind approval, according to Assistant
Secretary Elvin Uy. Private schools had to apply for a permit to offer
SHS and the DepEd did individual vetting. The department went
through the applicant schools profile, track record, physical and
human resources, among other things, to determine if it is capable of
SHS education.

The DepEd approved the application of 4,761 out of more than 5,000
non-DepEd schools. As Uy said, if the teachers and facilities were
there, the DepEd did not turn down schools unless they had a history
of bad performance. Also, the permit is legally provisional, meaning
the DepEd can revoke it anytime there is reasonable cause to do so.
Parents should check online ( if the
private schools where they want to enroll their children have been
approved by the DepEd. They should also find out what specific SHS
programs the schools are permitted to offer. The permit should state
that information.
How much will SHS cost?
SHS is free for students who go to public schools, just like the earlier
grades. For private SHS students, costs will vary by school but they
may avail of some government tuition subsidy upon request.
What kind of financial assistance is being extended to public school
students who opt to transfer to a private SHS?
Grade 10 completers from public schools who want to enroll in a
private or non-DepEd SHS automatically qualify for financial
assistance through the SHS voucher program. All Grade 10
completers from private schools may also apply for a voucher.
According to the Department of Budget and Management, P12.2
billion has been set aside for the SHS voucher program.
What is the SHS voucher?
The SHS voucher represents funds that will cover the tuition, or a part
of it, when public school students enroll in non-DepEd SHS. Expenses
such as daily allowance and transportation cost are not part of the

The voucher is not a physical piece of paper that can be transacted

like cash, but its monetary value may be enough to cover the full cost
of SHS tuition and miscellaneous fees at a private institution,
depending on its location. It will be released directly to the nonDepEd schools where Grade 11 voucher recipients choose to enroll.
Public school Grade 10 completers and all private school Grade 10
completers who are Education Service Contracting (ESC) grantees
need not apply as they are automatically qualified to receive the
Although more than 50,000 vouchers have been awarded according
to DepEd, online applications have been reopened until May 6 to give
more Grade 11 students the option to enrol in non-DepEd SHS.
To apply, go to, the Private Education
Assistance Committees Online Voucher Application Portal.
Applications will be until May 6 only. Results will be announced on or
before May 20.
Will the voucher program allow students to choose a school?
The voucher program will allow students to choose any private or
non-DepEd school granted a permit by the DepEd to offer SHS if they
decide not to go to a public SHS where no vouchers are required.
How much is the SHS voucher worth?
The voucher value varies depending on the location of the SHS where
it will be used and the type of voucher recipient.
The full value of the voucher in the National Capital Region is
P22,500. In highly urbanized cities outside NCR, the voucher is worth
P20,000. In all other cities and municipalities, its value is P7,500.

Students who finished Grade 10 at public schools qualify for 100

percent of the voucher value, meaning if they prefer to go to any
private SHS in NCR, they are entitled to a voucher amount of
P22,500. Grade 10 completers from private schools will qualify for
only 80 percent, or P18,000.
Grade 11 students who choose to enroll at SHS attached to SUCs or
LUCs will qualify for only 50 percent of the voucher value. For
example, University of Makati will only be paid 50 percent of P22,500
when it enrolls a Grade 10 completer whether the student comes
from either a public or private school.
For how long can a student avail of the SHS voucher?
The voucher is good for use only in the school year immediately
following Grade 10.
Students can avail of the voucher for two successive school years
only. So if a student fails Grade 11, the voucher program will not
cover the Grade 12 tuition anymore.
But students can always enroll at a public SHS for free or at a private
or non-DepEd schools at their own expense.
What is the assurance to parents that the SHS voucher
program will be continued by the next administration?
The SHS voucher program is not just a stop-gap answer to a problem,
according to the DepEd. First, the program is in the law. Second, it
has been difficult historically to slash budgets for programs that are
running and working, and the voucher is fast becoming a popular
program because it opens up choices for students and provides
financial assistance to learners.

The DepEd has approved 50,000 voucher applicationsessentially

every student who submitted all requirements. Because the program
is needs-based, the department did not look at grades.
The spirit of the voucher is very simple, said Uy: The government
spends for students who go to public schools; if students go to
private schools, the government should still fund them if they need to
be supported.
Direct questions regarding the SHS voucher program to or to the DepEd Action Center at 6361663 or

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Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Strand

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Strand offers the needed academic
grounding for those who intend to pursue tertiary programs that are geared towards the physical
sciences, mathematics, engineering and technology. It includes core subjects (subjects that are true
to all strands), contextualized subjects (subjects that are also true to all the strands but are given a
particular bent according to the nature of the strand). A unique feature of the strand are the
specialized subjects that prepare the students for the tertiary program they intend to pursue. It has
an immersion subject that provides a venue for the application of the knowledge gained in both the
contextualized and specialized subjects.

The Accountancy and Business Management Strand provides adequate pre-university training for
those who are inclined to pursue careers in entrepreneurship, banking, accountancy, finance and
management in the corporate setting and in the tourism and hotel and restaurant industries. Like the
other strands it is also composed of core, applied and specialized subjects. An important component
of this strand is an off-campus practicum in relevant institutions.


Whats in it for you in Senior High School?
Senior High School (SHS) covers the last two years of the K-12 program. This includes grades 11
and 12. In Senior High, students will get through a core curriculum under a track of their choice.
What is core curriculum?
A core curriculum is a set of educational goals. There are seven Learning Areas under the Core
Curriculum. These are Languages, Literature, Communication, Mathematics, Philosophy, Natural
Sciences, and Social Sciences and General Education.
What is a track?
Students can choose from 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), General Academic Strand (GAS) and Pre-Baccalaureate Maritime.
What is the General Academic Strand?
BAM, HESS and STEM are all career-specific strands. In BAM, you can pursue being an
accountant, auditor, bookkeeper, business manager and the likes. HESS, on the other hand, you
could consider being a judge, news editor, multimedia artist or teacher. While in STEM, you can
choose from being an engineer, programmer, web analyst, biologist, chemist and the likes. The
General Academic Strand, however; is for students who are still in an interim period of choosing their
preferred strand. It also offers basic electives from the different strands.

The general academic strand

MINI CRITIQUE By Isagani Cruz (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 10, 2014 - 12:00am

165 googleplus10


Right now, most high school graduates know what course they want to pursue in college. In fact, when they
take entrance examinations and when they first fill in enrolment forms, they are asked what major they want for
That is exactly what will happen to most Grade 10 students in the K to 12 curriculum. Since Grade 10 is the
equivalent of the current Fourth Year High School, nothing has really changed. Naming Grade 11 Senior High
School (SHS) rather than First Year College is just a change in name, as far as career planning is concerned
(though the curriculum is very different).
There are a few (not many, but enough) students in college now that transfer from one major to another. Some
(again, not many, but enough) entering college students do not even know what they really want to major in. All
they know is that they want to have a college degree. What that degree is does not really matter to them, as
long as they get a college diploma.
This, of course, is one of the anomalies about education that K to 12 wants to correct. Taking college for the
sake of taking college is like falling in love because being in love feels good. The object of love is really
irrelevant. (The best example is Romeo in William Shakespeares Romeo and Juliet; he drops Rosaline as the
object of his never-dying love the instant he sees Juliet.)
Since we cannot force anyone not to spend money on a college education even if s/he does not need it or does
not know what to do with it, we need to have a way for the undecided. This is what the fourth Strand in the
Academic Track of SHS is all about.
Students that cannot make up their minds about which of the other three Strands (Accountancy, Business, and
Management or ABM; Humanities and Social Sciences or HUMSS; Science, Engineering, Technology, and
Mathematics or STEM) they want to enter will take the following General Academic (GA) specialized subjects:

Humanities 1 and 2
Social Science
Applied Economics
Organization and Management
Disaster Readiness and Risk Reduction
Elective 1 and 2
Work Immersion / Research / Career Advocacy / Culminating Activity
The Humanities subjects can be any two of the following specialized subjects in HUMSS: Creative Writing /
Malikhaing Pagsulat; Introduction to World Religions and Belief Systems; Creative Nonfiction; Trends,
Networks, and Critical Thinking in 21st Century Culture.
The Social Science subject can be any one of the following: Philippine Politics and Governance; Community
Engagement, Solidarity, and Citizenship; Disciplines and Ideas in the Social Sciences; Disciplines and Ideas in
the Applied Social Sciences.
The two Electives can be taken from the specialized subjects of any other Track or Strand, provided each
school offers more than two options. (If there were only two options, then the Electives would cease to be
electives but become, in an oxymoron from Philippine English, Required Electives.)
The Applied Economics subject is similar (but not identical) to the subject in the old General Education
Curriculum (GEC). In this subject, students learn how to identify the basic economic problems of the country,
how to explain market structures (such as perfect competition, monopoly, oligopoly, and monopolistic
competition), and how to formulate strategies to minimize negative impact and maximize positive impact on a
business in the community.
The Organization and Management subject allows students to use Political Economic Social and Technological
(PEST) and Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analytical tools. It also goes into details
such as doing performance appraisals, adopting effective rewards systems, managing change and diversity,
recognizing different management styles of Filipinos and non-Filipinos, and starting a small-family business.
Disaster Readiness and Risk Reduction, which is a modified version of the Core Subject for STEM students,
allows students to do things such as interpret different earthquake and hydrometeorological hazard maps,
identify fire triangles, and develop a community preparedness plan.
Of course, students opting to choose the General Academic Strand will be minimally prepared to enter higher
education. They will still have problems qualifying for certain majors. For example, they cannot go into a STEMtype college course, because they will not have had Calculus. They cannot go into Accounting, because they
would not have had the introductory accounting subjects of the ABM Strand.
They will have problems catching up with the students that have taken the appropriate introductory subjects in
SHS and are, therefore, prepared to tackle head-on the various majors in college. That situation, however, is
not any different from what it is now. There are (only a few, but enough) students in college now who still do not
know what they want to be when they join the adult world. They transfer from one course to another,

sometimes for flimsy reasons (e.g., they do not like the teachers in their first announced major), sometimes for
major reasons (e.g., they failed a couple of major subjects, proving that they do not have the aptitude for their
original major).
Through the General Academic Strand, the K to 12 curriculum has made provisions for these immature
students that have not yet thought seriously about their future.

Contextualized subjects
MINI CRITIQUE By Isagani Cruz (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 29, 2014 - 12:00am
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The Department of Education distinguishes among three different types of subjects in Grades 11 and 12, or
Senior High School (SHS).
Every student has to take the Core Subjects, which have the same content and the same competencies for
everyone. In other words, no matter what Track students take, they will take exactly the same Core Subjects as
everyone else. There are 15 Core Subjects, each of which (except Physical Education & Health) takes 80
hours to complete.
Every student has to take Contextualized Subjects, which ensure that all students will have the same
competencies as every other student. These Contextualized Subjects, however, do not all have the same
content. The content depends on which Track a particular student chooses. There are 7 Contextualized
Subjects, which also each takes 80 hours to complete.
Every student has to take Specialization Subjects, which offer different content and different competencies,
depending on the Track that the student takes. There are 9 Specialization Subjects, each of which also takes
80 hours to complete.
Last week, I listed the Core Subjects. This week, allow me to list the Contextualized Track Subjects:
English for Academic and Professional Purposes

Homepage ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

Research in Daily Life 1
Research in Daily Life 2
Pagsulat sa Filipino sa Piling Larangan (Akademik, Isports, Sining, at Tech-Voc)
Empowerment Technologies (E-Tech): ICT for Professional Tracks
Research Project / Culminating Activity
Remember that, through the Core Subjects, each student will meet the College Readiness Standards that the
Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has laid down as the minimum requirements for being admitted to
any college or university.
What, then, do the Contextualized Subjects add?
Take the language requirements (English and Filipino) that are demanded by employers. In any survey of what
employers want to see most in applicants, communication skills come first or second. (Communication skills
used to come first, but critical thinking has become the first thing employers look for.)
Why is the English subject contextualized? Why not just plain English as taught from K to 10?
Because the type of English required of those in the Academic Track is not necessarily the type of English
required of those in the TVL Track.
(There are four Tracks: Academic, Technical-Vocational-Livelihood or TVL, Sports, and Arts & Design. Each
Track has several Strands.)

For example, a student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Strand of the Academic Track will need to know
the kind of English needed for tertiary-level work in the humanities. A random example is the English word
closure, which is a word needed for the Specialized Subject called Creative Writing.
On the other hand, a student aiming to be a tile setter after graduation (enrolled in the TVL Track) needs to
know the kind of English needed for his or her future job. A random example is the English word grout, which
is crucial to a tile setter.
English as a language is not monolithic. It consists of several types, called registers or varieties. Not every
English speaker, no matter how fluent, can understand the kind of English that medical doctors or literary critics
use, for example. On the other hand, not every English-speaking scholar can handle the type of English used
by, say, sports officials or tour guides. (Sports Officiating is a Specialized Subject in the Sports Track. Tour
Guiding Services is a Specialized Subject in the Home Economics Strand of the TVL Track.)
Because of so many Tracks and Strands or Specializations, the curriculum may seem confusing, but if you
focus on the key principle, you will not get confused.
The key principle is that every student is prepared to go to college, but at the same time, is given the skills to
embark on a particular career pathway immediately after SHS.
The Core Subjects take care of the college readiness. The Contextualized Subjects take care of the specific
needs of students pursuing a particular Track. The Specialized Subjects take care of the even more specific
needs of students going into a particular occupation immediately after graduation.
Let us give a hypothetical example. Let us say that Maria wants to work in a hotel immediately after SHS.
She takes the Core Subjects together with everybody else in her school. Then she joins some students in the
TVL Track for the Contextualized Track Subjects, where she learns the vocabulary necessary to communicate
with people checking into hotels. She learns how to speak to foreigners in English and how to speak to Filipinos
in Filipino. She does some research in hospitality (perhaps, how many tourists come to the particular hotel she
is aiming at), learns how to use hotel computer systems, and works for a while in an actual hotel to gain
After taking the Contextualized Track Subjects, Maria will learn the skills needed for two or three jobs in hotels.
She will take the Specialized Subjects that will give her National Certificates for those jobs. For example, she
can study Front Office Services, Housekeeping, Food and Beverage Services, or Travel Services. All these jobrelated subjects will be made available by both DepEd and TESDA in SHS.
If she is in a public high school, all of these subjects will be free. That is one of the best things about the K to 12
curricular reform.