Education reform has been in a need in the Philippines for generations. Before K to 12, the Philippines had been one of only three remaining countries in the world–the other two being Djibouti and Angola–to have a 10-year basic education cycle. Most countries across the globe operate on a 12-year basic education cycle.
What was Philippine basic education like before K to 12?
Before World War II, the Philippines had an 11-year basic education cycle: grades 1 to 7 for elementary, and 4 years of high school.
After the war, the American colonial government recommended a shift to the American system: six years (instead of seven) for elementary, three years of junior high school, and three more years of senior high school, for a total of 12 years of basic education.
The transition began with the removal of Grade 6 from elementary, but the addition of two years in high school was never completed.
Since 1945, we have made the best of ten years of basic education, the result of an incomplete transition and which was never meant to be a permanent state of affairs. Until today.
K to 12 is in fact one of the most well-studied reform measures ever to be undertaken. For decades–dating back to 1925, we’ve tried to answer two questions: (1) What should we teach in order to equip Filipinos for local needs and global standards?, and (2) How many years of school does it take to learn all these skills and information?
Historical antecedents show that it was never a question of whether we should adopt K to 12, but when it should be done.
With the current paradigm shifts in education, and with the establishment of qualifications reference frameworks regionally and globally, this long-overdue upgrade has become an imperative.
Finally, in 2010, the new administration identified education reform at the very top of its priorities, and pushed for this reform through the Enhanced Basic Education Program, or K to 12. K to 12 isn’t simply a matter of adding two more years of school; it is the product of decades of study, and a larger process of reforming the education sector as a whole. The passage of the Enhanced Basic Education Act, or Republic Act 10533 aims to ensure the continuity of the reform beyond this generation, and into the next.