Kto12 Basic Education Program

The development of Kto12 Program has been made possible by the collaborative efforts of members of the Steering Committee which is composed of DepED, CHED, TESDA and other stakeholders. These include other government agencies, private sector, civil society organizations, associations of public and private schools, Senate, House of Representatives, PTAs, teachers organizations, student organizations and other individuals who are committed to improving the quality of Philippine education.

Enhancing the quality of basic education in the Philippines is urgent and critical.

Education outcomes in terms of participation, completion and achievement rates attest to this urgent need.

  • The poor quality of basic education is reflected in the low achievement scores of Filipino students in the National Achievement Test and international tests like TIMSS.
  • One reason behind this is that students do not get adequate instructional time or time on task. This is partly due to the congested curriculum. The current 10-year basic education curriculum is designed to be taught in 12 years.
  • This has been affirmed in the study conducted by SEAMEO-Innotech where it noted that Philippine basic education is congested compared to the curriculum of Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia and Singapore. Specifically, it stated that elementary education is congested especially in Mathematics, Languages and Sciences.
  • Our high school graduates are not adequately prepared for the world of work. Most of the basic education graduates are too young to legally enter the labor force (below 18). This implies that those who will not go to college would either be unemployed or be vulnerable to exploitative labor practices. Those who may be interested to set up businesses cannot legally enter into contracts.
  • Our high school graduates are not adequately prepared to pursue higher education. They still have to undergo remedial and high school level classes in colleges and universities.
  • The 10-year basic education cycle hinders the recognition of Filipino professionals abroad. The Washington Accord prescribes 12-years of basic education as an entry to recognition of engineering professionals. The Bologna Process also requires 12 years of education for university admission and practice of profession in European countries.
  • The Philippines is the only country in Asia and among the three remaining countries in the world that has a 10-year basic education cycle (Table 1).

Table 1. Comparative Data on Duration of Basic and Pre-University Education in Asia

  • Thus, the Department of Education in collaboration with various government and non-government stakeholders has developed the K to 12 Program which aims to improve basic education in the Philippines.

The Kto12 basic education program seeks to enhance the quality of basic education

  • Kto12 means Kindergarten and the 12 years of elementary and secondary education. Kindergarten refers to the 5-year old cohort who undergoes a standardized Kinder curriculum. Elementary education refers to primary schooling that involves 6 years of education (Grades 1-6) while secondary education refers to four years of junior high school (Grades 7-10 or HS Year 1-4) and two years of senior high school (Grades 11-12 or HS Year 5-6).
  • Quality basic education is a right of every Filipino, therefore this is provided by government for free in public schools. Those who go through the 12-year program will get an elementary diploma (6 years), a junior high school diploma(4 years), and a senior high school diploma (2 years). A full 12 years of basic education will eventually be required for entry into tertiary level education (entering freshmen by SY 2018-2019 or seven years from now).
  • The implementation of the K to 12 program will be phased (Figure 1).  Universal kindergarten was offered starting SY 2011-2012. By SY 2012-2013, the new curriculum will be offered to incoming Grade 1 as well as to incoming junior high school students (Grade 7 or HS Year 1). The target of DepED is to put in place the necessary infrastructure and other arrangements needed to provide Senior High School (SHS) education by SY 2016-2017.

Figure 1. Schematic implementation plan of Kto12

The societal and individual benefits of Kto12 program outweighs its costs

To Individuals and Families

  • An enhanced curriculum will decongest academic workload, giving students more time to master competencies and for co-curricular activities and community involvement, thus, allowing for a more holistic development.
  • Graduates will possess competencies and skills relevant to the job market. They will attain Certificate of Proficiency, Certificate of Competency or National Certification in their areas of specialization.
  • Graduates will be better prepared for higher education.
  • Kto12 education is affordable. The cost to households of the additional two years in high school will be lower compared to a two year college education
  • The potential annual earnings of a Kto12 graduate will be higher compared to the earnings of a 10-year high school graduate.
  • Graduates will now be recognized abroad.

For the Society and the Economy

  • Kto12 will contribute to economic growth. Several studies have shown that improvements in the quality of education will increase GDP growth by as much as 2%.
  • Kto12 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.

The Kto12 Curriculum will produce holistically developed learners with 21st century skills

  • The Kto12 curriculum is designed to develop a learner who possess a healthy mind and body; has a solid moral and spiritual grounding; has essential knowledge and skills for lifelong learning and self-actualization; engages in critical thinking and creative problem solving; contributes to the development of a progressive, just, and humane society; is proud to be a Filipino; and appreciates the beauty around him/her and cares for the environment for a sustainable future.
  • The Kto12 curriculum will be seamless and continuous, decongested and enriched, research-based and learnercentered. It will also put an emphasis on the role of cocurricular activities and community involvement in maximizing learning.
  • Kindergarten will be integrated into the basic education system, which is a bold step toward making all Grade 1 students a reader.
  • Senior high school will be in alignment with the 21st century skills and college readiness standards of CHED. The curriculum will focus on the core subjects, namely, Math, Science and English with electives that are sensitive and responsive to the learners' interest and local industry needs.
  • Graduates will be accredited in their areas of specializations which include Academics, Technical-Vocational, and Sports and Arts.

Education agencies will ensure a smooth transition to the Kto12 program

DepED, CHED, and TESDA are crafting a strategy to ensure the smooth transition from the existing 10 year education cycle to the Kto12 basic education cycle. This will cover aspects such as physical infrastructure, manpower, organizational, and structural changes.

  • Public private partnerships with higher education institutions (HEIs) and private schools are being explored to manage the SY 2016-2018 period wherein there will be low enrollment for HEIs.
  • Modeling for senior high school will also be implemented in selected schools to simulate the transition process and provide concrete data for the transition plan.
  • The modeling activity will also generate insights on the potential needed changes in the organizational structure of DepED as well other affected agencies like CHED and TESDA.