Philippines Upgrading it’s Education!!!

Hey guys, as some of you may know, the Philippines doesn’t use the K12 standard that is used in most of the world… Until now.  Until now Filipino kids have only attended 10 years of basic education instead of 12.  But, the Philippines is improving it’s educational system. Of course I’m not affected by it, since next year school year is my Senior year (finally). At my school they are already starting construction of an expansion building for the extra year levels it will bring.

It’s been said for months that the Philippines would have a K12 education, and now it’s great that they finally have progress on that, even though the new buildings might take some time (Our school also has a lot of other projects like a new swimming pool, so it may take longer than expected), I think that the Philippines is taking a step in the good direction with implementing K12 because it can help in the progress that the Philippines is trying to be a better country.


There are, of course, problems with this.  My first concern, which is not really related, is that at our school, the road where they are making the buildings is very small, and by adding buildings, more vehicles will go through it, so it will be more congested, so hopefully they will improve traffic flow, and put more parking spaces (the reason why it is congested now is because people always park at the side of the road). Another is that since the buildings are separated from the rest, I would think that classes would have to go to the main campus, and therefore cross the street, in order to go to, say, the audio visual rooms, or I.T. labs, so hopefully they have something up their sleeves to fix this problem (maybe they would build more in the new buildings). Another small problem is that by separating these students, they don’t really socialize with the rest of the school, so that’s a bit of a problem. Also another problem would be that it would be confusing for parents to know where to go, whether it’s in this building or that, or for parents to know where to pay the fees they need to pay if they are in the new building (considering they don’t make a new cashier in the new buildings). But even though it has some problems, it is still good that they are implementing K12, nonetheless.

Hopefully when they planned the buildings, they thought of the problems first, but only time will tell on that. And if they somehow don’t think of these problems, well the students of the new grades might have a harder time than the other students.

I am really glad to hear that the Philippines is improving with each day that passes. Implementing K12 is just another way to improve the country, so that future generations will be more responsible, and intelligent, and then they (or I should probably say we) would be the leaders that in-turn improve our country.

That’s all for now, hope you enjoyed the article, also please comment if I missed something.

Post Author: AJ Martin (199 Posts)

Aaron Martin, also called "AJ," is the son of Bob & Feyma Martin. Aaron is a graduate at Ateneo de Davao University High School in Davao City, Philippines. Aaron was born in the USA, but has lived in the Philippines since age 3.

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  1. Corey says

    Hi AJ. In my not so humble opinion (I don’t sugar coat anything), the most important thing is the addition of the two years to give it at least parity (and being competitive) with the 12 years required in the Western World. Frankly being concerned about roads, social aspects and building inconveniences is both silly and irrelevant. Your not going to high school school for socialization, but to learn. Unfortunately, even with the two additional years, the level of education in this Country is a complete joke and embarrassment. Ateneo de Manila or Davao is without a doubt a fine institution, but still not at the level of schools outside the Philippines. Yes it is in the top 300 of schools worldwide and it did graduate many of the Country’s recent Presidents and Tycoons but I don’t now what to make of that as a persons family name holds more weight than an education but it is of course probably good enough if you plan your life to be here.

    It is fairly common knowledge most Colleges and Universities here would probably be little competition for a standard community college back in the States. I am moving out of the Province to Manila just for the benefit of my daughters education. She will go to one of the International schools in Global City. Our son on the other hand will be going to College in Vancouver, Canada. I am sure you will weigh your options about where you will choose to go to College (talk to your folks about it) but ultimately it is your decision and I would strongly urge you to look outside this Country. I wish you all the best and success and GOOD GRADES

    • Jason says

      According to DepEd figures, the Philippines is currently 100,000 teachers, and 60,000 classrooms short of where it needs to be to give all children a proper education in the current system. A number of public schools in Manila are running three shifts to provide places for all their pupils, its going to be interesting to see where the classrooms and teachers for this extra two years of education are going to come from.

  2. Corey says

    I was thinking (and can’t be taken for granted) one thing very important in the Philippines are the contacts you make in School here particularly College so that may give you an edge if you stay here for College over the USA or elsewhere. Judgement call for sure.

  3. sugar says

    Hi AJ – Another 2 years of high school? Ugh! so by the time one graduate from HS they will be 18 yrs old. That is long! It’s good to add more knowledge and prepare you and others for college I’m all for but it’s really staying longer. so for me… No. He he. But of course.. HS years are he best! :)

  4. jonathan says

    Hi AJ,

    Great article coming from a student’s viewpoint. It’s about time the PH be competitive in terms of education. For years, the PH education is really short of a joke by world standards. By adding two years it prepares the students to college and offers them technical subjects too. Government says under this system even a student is a high school graduate can be qualified to find a jobs akin to having a 2-year vocational course. This will help the students to support himself better and also to help them decide on what college course they would really wanna take and excel in it.

    • AJ Martin says

      Hi Jonathan,
      I agree with you, some students will look for a job directly after high school, and K-12 should help their efforts.

  5. jade says

    hi AJ,

    i am very impressed with your excellent use of the english language.
    im typing this on my cellphone so no caps…
    ha, ha…
    with what you have received from k-10 is any reprsentation of the quality of the education you have received, you are world class.

    this week in florida us, the standads of us language proficiency were brought into question, this is not only in florida but for the entire country

    this can be researched via internet.
    very revealing….
    best wishes,

  6. says

    Something should really be done about the school holidays as well. Ideally, the long summer break ought to be taken during the rainy season in July & August, the time when a lot of schools are forced to close because of flooding anyway.

    • chasdv says

      The reason they have the long summer holidays March to June is that it’s the hottest time of the year and most schools don’t have air conditioning.
      Very difficult to concentrate in that heat and humidity.

  7. marjorie says

    Hi AJ.
    Here in the UK kids start school the term where their fifth birthday falls. So they do an extra year here. Whether it does any good I do not know. Some still leave school hardly knowing how to read etc.
    I noticed how smart the school children are in the Phils. Kids here who wear a uniform can not wear it as they should.
    Enjoy you schooling.

      • John Miele says

        AJ: It’s not hard… Believe it or not, you will really appreciate your schooling more as you get older. Good luck on your senior year! Make the most of it.

      • says

        Hi AJ – As Marjorie said in the UK elementry school age is from 5 years till 12years. High school is from 12 years till 16 years. Students then go to either sixth form at high school or college from 16 years till 18 years. Following sixth form students go onto university and do a 3 year ordinary degree BA, BSc or stay on for a further year when doing an honours degree. When you count it all up you have to do 16 or 17 years just to graduate. But thats not always the end as some students go on to do an MA or an MBA to advance their careers or even a PhD. Since learning is lifelong AJ, you just never stop doing so during your entire lifetime.
        Good luck with the remainder of your academic life.

    • Jason says

      The reality is that according to this years World Competitiveness Report, the Philippines came 110/142 for Primary Education, that is what needs to be fixed first, there is no use adding 2 years of High School if children are not learning the basics at Primary School, the UK is 23/142 so I guess something is working there even if the media likes to give a rather downbeat view.

    • Annefromantrim says

      Here in this part of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, children go to school in September so long as they had their fourth birthday on or before July 1st that same year. So lots of children are 4 when they enter school.
      They do seven years of Primary school.
      Then seven years of Secondary school. They leave school at age 18
      (Or 19 if they have repeated a year.)
      Then they can go to University if they have 3 A levels.

  8. says

    I don’t know if I would consider it lucky. One of the things we researched and planned was the weather in our intended destination! 😉 I don’t like too much rain, flooding and typhoons! 😉

  9. says

    Hi AJ. I like the fact that you are seeing the big picture. Congratulations on the article I can see excellent journalistic potential in you if you were going down that road. I don’t know much about the eduction system in the Philippines however I had the opportunity to speak with two young students the other day who had been born and raised in Engalnd (14ish) and had moved back to Bohol. I was chatting about the comparison of the UK subjects and the PI subjects. In their opinion, they found classes in the PI much more difficult and complex.

    Keep up the good work.

    Your Dad should be proud of you.



    • AJ Martin says

      Hey David,
      I’m actually more to the road of computers :) Hmm, I didn’t really know that the lessons in the PI to be more difficult, probably because of Filipino?

  10. Isagani Cruz says

    It is a fallacy to think that shifting to K-12 is an “upgrade” to education in the Philippines or anywhere for that matter. While the concern about infrastructure like buildings is valid, one has to worry that this shift will lead to a curriculum that’s a mile wide and an inch deep. This will just cram more stuff into an already overburdened curriculum!

  11. Bill Bernard says

    I think to suggest that the Philippines education is inferior to the west is an absolute fallacy. For years I have observed young Pinoys coming to the west and being much more advanced than their peers here. In the west we walk with the slowest soldier, and the quality of education is here is regressing.
    The 10 years schooling in the Philippines is superior to 12 years in the west, BUT, not on a par with 12 years in some other Asian countries.
    I applaud the decision to add the 2 years. The real competition for the the young Pinoy is not the western grad, but the Korean, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, ..etc graduate.

    • says

      I am on your side, Bill. For one thing, the kids here go to school for a much longer day. My kids are generally out the door before 7am, and don’t get home until 5pm or so. I find the education here to be excellent, of course my kids are attending some of the better schools, though.

      • John Miele says

        Bill and Bob: I also agree… Though many schools in Manila are going to two sessions per day. The neighbor’s kids start at 06:30. Pretty early start time. We are looking into Juanito’s preschool now. I was set on Ateneo until a neighbor, whose kid goes there, told me that the student / teacher ratio there is 44 to 1. I don’t care how good a school’s reputation may be. With that kind of ratio, learning anything will be difficult. So, we are choosing a different school for him.

        • RandyL says

          There is a big difference John between class sizes in the U.S. and the RP and the difference being that teachers are in control of their classrooms in the RP. Not so much in the states. It’s a discipline thing.

  12. Neal in RI says

    Bill B
    I don’t get it, you say:
    “I think to suggest that the Philippines education is inferior to the west is an absolute fallacy”
    But then you say:
    “The 10 years schooling in the Philippines is superior to 12 years in the west”

    I have met some young people migrating here to the US that were High School students in the Phil and they fit right into the standards of their corresponding age/grade level here in the US School system and some of them were even advanced.
    And I have met some others that were dumber than rocks and had to take placement tests that showed they were very much behind the US Standards for their corresponding age/grade level.

    I don’t think its pretty much up to the individual student, not a race of the student thing.

    • ScottB says

      I’ve spent many years teaching in the US public schools. What I’ve observed during those years is that, how well a student does in school is based largely on his or her own attitude. I’ve seen students who were in the worst possible home situations graduate at the top of their class. I’ve seen students with the best home situations never finish school. Likewise, students in great schools fail, and students in substandard schools graduate and have great success in college.

      I visited the Philippines in February, and I met many wonderful young Filipinos: literate, well-spoken, forward thinking, and highly motivated.

      Regarding the issue of 10 versus 12 years . . . for those students who have positive attitudes toward education, the extra two years will provide additional opportunities for learning. For those who have less then a positive attitude, two extra years will likely provide nothing but frustration.

      Bottom line — if parents want their children to be successful in school, they need to instill positive attitudes toward education and encourage their students to stay focused throughout their education, regardless of length.

      AJ . . . you are tri-lingual . . . don’t let any of those language skills fall into disuse. They will serve you well in your future.

  13. Miss August says

    What about the financial hardship of two more years of getting your high school diploma? Think of all the poor families who can barely send their children to school. Two more years to get your through high school is a major burden.

  14. Mars Z. says

    Comparing PH High School grad to the US is no comparison since the US spent between $10,000.00-$19,000.00 per student, but some grad can’t even spell and not ready for college. At least the PH K-10 grads can speak English, the National Language Tagalog, some Spanish and one or two of their local dialects. Most US HS grad only speaks ONE language, not bad for not spending the average $!5,000.00 dollars per year per student. (see below. I also recommend you guys watching the film “Looking for Superman” and look at the problen of the uS education and the NEA.


      • Mars Z. says

        Yes really really sad. US public school needs some fixing. Private christian school can turn out really good students for about $2000.00 per student per year.

  15. says

    I guess I am one person who thinks this is not really needed. My wife graduated at 16 here and now has a bachelors in Business admin. and now is in her fisrt year at Silliman Nursing school (ranked #1 in the Philippines, 100% board pass rate last exam) Her goal is med school when she finishes nursing. I don’t see how an extra 2 years could have helped her.

  16. says

    I also have a 16 year old son who lives in America and was attending a typical American high school. he had been held back because of grades but is a smart kid. When I found out he has missed almost of month of school my advise was to drop out and take his GED and then go straight to collage because I felt he wasnt learning anything more. He is in the 9th grade. The family thought I was crazy but allowed him to take the pre-test.

  17. says

    10 is enough especially if the parents stay involved. As for my son, he did extremely well on the test and will be going to college now. He will be 2 years ahead of all his classmates and maybe more.

  18. Brent Johnson says

    My friend’s child was well ahead of children her same age in junior high school in math and science when she arrived in the Harrisburg area from Manila. She struggled with English for the first six months or so, but that is to be expected. So, Catholic education Manila trumps Catholic education central-PA in one very small sample.

  19. Robert says

    Hi AJ,
    Nice article. You have very good communication skills. I’m a teacher at a Catholic school in Minnesota and have done some research on the school you attend, with the possibility of my family moving to Davao. I’d say your writing is a great advertisement for the school you attend, more so than any of the positive comments I’ve read. Keep up the good work.

  20. PapaDuck says


    Your doing great, just keep on doing what your doing. Enjoy your senior year it will go by fast. You will miss school when you are done with it. I know i really enjoyed my high school years back in the 70’s. Take care and have fun.

  21. Cherly says

    I am certainly no expert on the education system in the Philippines, but the rankings are perplexing to me.

    I know MANY children that have come to the United States from the Philippines and were farther ahead than the American kids. One area the kids seemed to take the longest to adjust to was English, but that is understandable even though they are taught English in the Philippines.

    I routinely use writers, website design people, and website script writers from the Philippines that are as good or better than anyone I hire here in the U.S.. These kids must have gotten a pretty good education on these topics somewhere!

    As far as the Canadian and American school systems (public) are you kidding me. LOL. These Canadian and American kids have so many advantages in their daily lives compared to filipino kids yet somehow do not seem to learn as well.

    By the way, this is a small sample, but I have a couple of friends that moved their families to Manila. Their kids did NOT do as well at the same grade level in the filipines as they did in America. In fact one of my friends wishes he had taken his kids to the Philippines earlier for their education.

  22. Don says

    Two extra years of classroom “make learn” will be just as useful as two years of “make work” projects. It entails opportunity costs and unintended consequences with hard to measure benefits, if any. Now the Philippines is joining the rest of the world in a malinvestment in formal “education.”

  23. says

    I can feel your positivity and you’re really forward for the implementation of K12 education soon enough. Definitely implementing that can improve the quality of PH’s education, no doubt about it. Your article raise concerns which in my mind if they will impose the K12 education.

    Right while that is still hanging, I do hope they are not compromising the present state of education. Adding some more funds, making sure those funds are really getting to it’s proper destination,not from somebody’s pocket. For all I know government has funded the education among all sectors, however during Pnoy’s administration, it was deducted by 10% I guess. Kinda say.

  24. says

    Great article.. I think that adding the 2 years is essential for the Philippines. I don’t know how many times I have heard immigrants to N. American complain about how unfair it is that they are doctors in their home countries and can only be a nurse here in N. America.. I feel it’s completely fair because they have a significant less amount of basic schooling (probably achieved for a lot less money). With the extra 2 years it’s possible that OFW’s can really compete in the international market, since that is the Philippine’s biggest export. Wouldn’t it also be great if the university system in the Philippines was on such an international standard that people from all over the world could go there to get their degrees and save some money on tuition costs.
    Also perhaps staying in school until the age of 17 or 18 could help reduce teen pregnancy and therefore combat poverty.

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