Primary and secondary education
Primary and secondary education in the Philippines
As of 2012, primary and secondary education have been reformed through the 'K to 12 Basic Education Program' (K to 12). The ‘K’ in K to 12 stands for kindergarten and the ‘12’ stands for 12 years of education (grades 1-12). The reforms were implemented in phases. As of 2012, education is compulsory starting from kindergarten. Via K to 12, secondary education has also been expanded with 2 years of upper secondary education. Upper secondary education has been compulsory since 2016.
Primary education lasts 7 years. Pupils aged 5 to 12 complete the following 3 phases:
- lower primary education (grades 1-3);
- upper primary education (grades 4-6).
Lower and upper primary education are collectively called elementary education.
As of the introduction of K to 12, secondary education lasts 2 years longer. It now consists of 2 phases:
- lower secondary education (Junior High School, JHS), concluded with exams for a Junior High School Diploma;
- upper secondary education (Senior High School, SHS), concluded with exams for a Grade 12/Senior High School Diploma.
Secondary education before K to 12
Before the start of K to 12 in 2012, secondary education lasted 4 years, so 2 years shorter than now. Upper secondary education did not exist. At the end of secondary education, students took exams for a High School Diploma (katibayan/katunayan).
Junior High School Diploma
Students complete lower secondary education by taking exams for the Junior High School Diploma. Because K to 12 started in 2012, the Junior High School Diploma was first awarded in 2016.
- : 4 years (grades 7-10).
- Content: students take the following subjects:
- mother tongue
- social sciences (araling panlipunan)
- personnel training (Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao, EsP)
- physical education
- health, home and life education (Edukasyong Pantahanan at Pangkabuhayan, EPP)
- technology and livelihood education (TLE)
- Function of the diploma: access to upper secondary education (Grade 12/Senior High School Diploma).
- Diploma: Junior High School Diploma.
The official length of the full-time programme (not part-time) without study delay.
We compare a Junior High School Diploma to a diploma.
Preparatory vocational secondary education – theoretical programme (voorbereidend middelbaar beroepsonderwijs - theoretische leerweg, VMBO-T). A VMBO-T diploma is awarded upon successful completion of a 4-year programme of vocational secondary education (theoretical programme).
Grade 12/Senior High School Diploma
Students complete upper secondary education diploma (Senior High School, SHS) with exams for a Grade 12/Senior High School Diploma. Senior high school was introduced through the K to 12 reforms. Students first started Senior High School in 2016. The Grade 12/Senior High School Diploma was therefore first awarded in 2018.
- Duration: 2 years (grades 11-12).
- Content: general subjects (core curriculum), electives and track subjects. Students choose 1 out of 4 tracks:
- Admission requirements: a Junior High School Diploma.
- Purpose of the diploma: access to higher education and secondary vocational education.
- Diploma: Grade 12/Senior High School Diploma.
High School Diploma (katibayan/katunayan)
The High School Diploma (katibayan/katunayan) was last awarded in 2015. These are the diplomas of students who started secondary education in 2011. They still followed the old secondary education system, because K to 12 started the following year (2012). The old and new secondary education systems therefore existed side by side for a while.
- Duration: 4 years.
- Content: largely the same subjects as in the current lower secondary education (Junior High School).
- Diploma: High School Diploma (katibayan/katunayan).
We compare a High School Diploma (katibayan/katunayan) to a VMBO-T diploma.