There is a much bigger and more important event in 2016 than the Philippine National Election!

The full implementation of the SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL curriculum next year will forever change the landscape of our educational system and this is something every Filipinos should be mindful about.

The gravity by which this new system will influence the lives of all young Filipino students deserves as much attention from everyone, even more than our present contemplation on which political dynasty should we put next on the highest seat of the land.

It is therefore a wonderful blessing that I got invited by the Global City Innovative College (GCIC) to a special forum on K-12 and the SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL curriculum a couple of weeks ago.  The forum’s main agenda was presented by Bayaning Pilipino Awardee and GCIC’s Chairman for Senior High School education, Dr. Gerry Duwin Dela Zerna.


Dr. Dela Zerna aside from his passion for helping special children and PWDs is first and foremost an educator and is a staunch advocate for the delivery of quality education to all young Filipinos.

I have to admit that prior to attending this forum, I have nothing but negative feelings about the whole K-12 agenda since I have an incoming Grade 7 and Grade 11 this 2016 and INITIALLY this translates to an additional four (4) years worth of basic education expenses for both my children (a half-a-million peso burden) just to get them through high school.

An additional two years of paid education is a huge problem for the middle-income earners and an ‘end-of-the-world’ scenario for all living below poverty line.

Where on earth will we get all that extra money?

Another thing that really bums me out with the K-12 are the reports coming in that the PNOY government is TOTALLY unprepared in handling this crucial change in the educational system. We hear this not only from those opposed to the new system but also from the teachers who are supposed to implement K-12 in the schools.

That is why, I was really amazed at how Dr. Dela Zerna has opened up his presentation by saying:

“Set aside any feelings you have about this government and you’ll find that in the long run, K-12 will be better for the future… but nevertheless, this government is still unprepared.”

That will be the summary of his whole presentation which I have agreed to 100%.


Dr. Dela Zerna then went on to explain that even during the Marcos regime, there have already been some attempts to improve our 10-year basic education through the introduction of elective subjects, practical arts and post high school vocational courses (TESDA) to better prepare these students for work. Some private schools even adopted a semi-progressive approach by adding another school year in primary – a Grade 7.

The reason behind all these is brought about by the fact that our 10-year basic education doesn’t really jive with the educational requirements of the rest of the world.

In most professional discipline like engineering for example, there are several international agreements governing mutual recognition and professional competence. In each of these agreements countries must meet the requirements agreed upon and one of the most basic is the completion of a 12-year basic education – which we do not have yet. The first of these agreements was the Washington Accord signed in 1989.

Why is this important?

According to Dr. Dela Zerna, there are actually a lot of advantages for adhering to the K-12 principle:

  • For a global community that is pushing for a one curriculum educational system, going K-12 will give us the opportunity to be in the same playing field with the rest of the world.
  • In terms of global competitiveness, our graduates will be better equipped for international challenges. More FAIR opportunities will open up for college graduates and professionals.
  • The K-12 System will better prepare students for college education by providing them two years to assess their skills and interests properly. Helping them discover their passion and competencies even before enrolling for Senior High School.
  • The Senior High School curriculum also provides opportunities for students to be work-ready as they are given chances to earn NCs or government issued national certifications from TESDA even before finishing Senior High School.

For instance, the Global City Innovative College (GCIC) will be offering next year a Senior High School curriculum with the following Tracks and Strands:

Academic Track

  • Accountancy Business and Management (ABM) Strand
  • Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Strand
  • Humanities and Social Sciences (HUMSS) Strand

Tech Voc Track

  • Home Economics Strand (Pastry & Bakery Production, Food and Beverage and Tourism)
  • Information and Communications Technology Strand (ICT)


While K-12 is really an important change in 2016 that needs everyone’s support and full understanding, Dr. Dela Zerna also pointed out that contrary to what the Department of Education (DepEd) is telling the public, the government is really not that prepared to offer the Senior High School curriculum.

  • Zero Funds. Funding which should have been readied a year or two years before the full implementation of the program is yet to be realized in 2016.
  • Lack in Resources. With regards to the ratio of incoming Senior High School students next year, they simply lack teachers, resources and needed facilities in general.

The government is turning to private educational institutions to offer more slots for Senior High School and even proposed to temporarily employ non-LET (Licensure Examination for Teachers) passers just to augment the number of Senior High School instructors next year which Dr. Dela Zerna find as both unfair and somewhat mildly insulting to board passers.


Dr. Dela Zerna also said that K-12 was not cascaded and communicated properly to all stakeholders which includes ALL FILIPINOS (teachers, students and parents).

Be that as it may, all these challenges and poor planning does not take away the fact that K-12 is indeed an urgent need and a potentially beneficial move especially for all young Filipinos. We have no good future without some sacrifices and this is definitely one of those sacrifices that we really need to make.

Let me end this post with Dr. Dela Zerna’s opening statement:

“Set aside any feelings you have about this government and you’ll find that in the long run, K-12 will be better for the future…”


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