Understanding DepEd K-12 Program in the Philippines

The K-12 program was officially signed into law as Republic Act No. 10533, also known as the “Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013.” This law paved the way for the restructuring of the country’s education system, adding two more years to the traditional 10-year basic education cycle. The implementation of the K-12 program in the Philippines was initiated under the administration of then-President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. The Department of Education (DepEd), led by Secretary Armin Luistro during that time, played a huge role in developing and rolling out the K-12 curriculum.

The K to 12 curriculum includes Kindergarten and 12 years of basic education (six years of primary education, four years of Junior High School, and two years of Senior High School) to allow for adequate time for concept and skill mastery, develop lifelong learners, prepare graduates for tertiary education, middle-level skill development, employment, and entrepreneurship. The system addresses the need for a more globally competitive education system by adding two years to the traditional 10-year basic education cycle.

Countries such as the USA, Australia, Canada, Japan, India, China, Singapore, and Germany are also under this system. This guide explores the objectives, goals, grades, subjects, curriculum, and enrollment process of the K to 12 Program, providing an in-depth understanding of its structure and why it’s a good change.

deped k to 12 program in the philippines explained


The implementation of the K-12 curriculum aims to enhance the quality of education in the Philippines and align it with international standards. Before this, our country’s basic education cycle only covered ten years. While this has worked for our system for decades, it was not enough to fully prepare our students for the challenges of tertiary education and employment in the global setting. The K-12 program addresses this gap by providing learners with a more holistic and comprehensive educational experience.

Objectives & Benefits

Just like any other DepEd program of the government, this K-12 also presents some objectives:

  • Improved Quality of Education – By extending the basic education cycle, this may help improve the overall quality of education in the Philippines.
  • Enhance Global Competitiveness – The program aims to produce graduates who are globally competitive, well-rounded, and equipped with the necessary skills. In addressing the goals of the K-12 program, the Philippine government also aims to align its education system with international standards. This alignment enhances the country’s competitiveness on the global stage, ensuring that Filipino students are adequately prepared to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving and interconnected world.
  • Holistic Development – Emphasizing holistic development, K to 12 focuses on intellectual, emotional, and social growth to produce well-rounded individuals.
  • Quality Basic Education – Ensure the delivery of high-quality basic education that meets international standards.
  • Equitable Access – Provide equal access to education for all students across different regions and socio-economic backgrounds.
  • Relevance – Align the curriculum with the needs of the global job market, ensuring graduates are equipped with practical skills. The additional two years in senior high school serve as a bridge between basic education and either tertiary education or employment.

This component of the project is designed to equip students with specialized skills and knowledge, making them more marketable and ready to meet the demands of various industries.

understanding the deped k to 12 program

Grades in K-12 Explained

The K to 12 Program redefines the traditional grading system by adding two additional grades, Grade 11 and Grade 12.

  • Kindergarten – Early childhood education focuses on developing foundational skills.
  • Grades 1-6 – Elementary education focuses on fundamental subjects like Math, Science, English, and Filipino.
  • Grades 7-10 – Junior High School, which includes a more specialized curriculum and the introduction of tracks leading to specific career paths.
  • Grades 11-12 – Senior High School, where students choose a specific strand (Academic, Technical-Vocational-Livelihood, or Sports) based on their interests and career aspirations.

What are Strands?

These strands are part of the Academic Track which provides students with more specialized knowledge and skills in specific fields of study. The four strands under the Academic Track are:

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

This strand is designed for students interested in pursuing careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Core Subjects: Pre-Calculus, Basic Calculus, General Biology, General Physics, General Chemistry, and General Mathematics.

ABM (Accountancy, Business, and Management)

This strand is suitable for students who aspire to pursue careers in accountancy, business, entrepreneurship, and management.

Core Subjects: Applied Economics, Business Ethics and Social Responsibility, Fundamentals of Accountancy, Business, and Management 1 and 2, and Basic Calculus.

HUMSS (Humanities and Social Sciences)

The HUMSS strand is for students interested in humanities, social sciences, and other related fields.

Core Subjects: Creative Writing/Malikhaing Pagsulat, Introduction to World Religions and Belief Systems, Creative Nonfiction, Trends, Networks, Critical Thinking in the 21st Century Culture, and Philippine Politics and Governance.

GAS (General Academic Strand)

The GAS strand is a flexible strand that allows students to choose subjects from different academic disciplines.

Core Subjects: Humanities, Social Science, Philosophy, Applied Economics, Organization and Management, Disaster Readiness and Risk Reduction, and Research.

Each strand provides a strong foundation in the chosen field of any student and serves as a preparation for higher education or entry into the workforce. It’s important to note that curriculum details may have evolved since the moment of writing. Hence, it’s advisable to check with the Department of Education (DepEd) or relevant educational authorities for the most current information on the K-12 strands in the Philippines.

k-12 infographic as shared by deped philippines

Subjects and Curriculum

The K to 12 curriculum is designed to provide a well-rounded education and includes core subjects such as Math, Science, English, Filipino, and Social Studies. Additionally, students can choose specialized subjects based on their chosen strand in Senior High School. The ABM track, for example, offers subjects relevant to specific industries, preparing students for immediate employment after graduation.

Purpose of this additional 2 Years in the Philippine education system. 

  • Aligning with International Education Standards – The Philippines aimed to align its education system with international standards to produce globally competitive graduates. By adding two years to the basic education cycle, the country sought to provide students with a more intensive curriculum, better preparing them for higher education and the global workforce.
  • Enhanced Basic Education – The traditional 10-year education cycle was considered insufficient to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge for the challenges of the modern world. The additional two years in Senior High School (SHS) allow for more specialized and focused learning, catering to the diverse interests and career paths of students.
  • Workforce Readiness – K to12 aims to make students more job-ready by incorporating technical-vocational courses and work immersion programs at the Senior High School level. This is intended to address the gap between the skills acquired in school and the skills demanded by the workforce, helping students make informed decisions about their future careers.
  • Decongestion of Curriculum – The expanded curriculum allows for the distribution of lessons across more years, resulting in a less crowded and more balanced approach to teaching and learning. This can potentially lead to a better understanding and retention of the subject matter.
  • Alignment with ASEAN Integration – The K-12 is designed to align with the goals of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) integration, promoting regional cooperation and standardizing education practices across member countries.
  • Quality of Education – By adding two years to the basic education system, policymakers aimed to improve the overall quality of education in the Philippines. The longer duration provides more time for students to acquire not only academic knowledge but also critical thinking and life skills.

How to Enroll in the K-12 Curriculum for Senior High Scholl (SHS)

This is targeted towards those who have completed Grade 10 prior to the implementation of K-12. Those who have not yet finished high school or are still in elementary school will automatically be enrolled in the new program.

Step 1: Enrollment in Senior High School involves choosing a specific track (Academic, Technical-Vocational-Livelihood, or Sports).

Parents and students should attend orientations or career guidance sessions to make informed decisions about the preferred track.

Required documents may include the student’s Junior High School report card, a clear photocopy of the birth certificate, and a filled-out enrollment form.

Visit the chosen Senior High School and follow the school’s enrollment process. Private schools may have different requirements, so it’s essential to communicate with the school administration.

Step 2: Selecting a Senior High School Track

Students need to choose a track based on their interests and career aspirations.

Career guidance counselors at schools can assist in making informed decisions about the best-fit track for each student.

Step 3: Payment of Fees (if applicable)

Public schools generally have minimal or no tuition fees, but there may be other fees for miscellaneous expenses. Private schools may have tuition fees, and parents should inquire about the payment schedule and any available discounts or scholarships.

Step 4: Orientation and School Requirements

Attend orientation sessions conducted by the school to understand the rules, regulations, and expectations. Fulfill any additional requirements specified by the school, such as medical examinations, uniform purchase, and submission of additional documents.

Parents or guardians may inquire at their local public schools or private institutions for more information on admission requirements and enrollment procedures. Students who have completed Grade 10 are eligible to enroll in Senior High School, where they can choose a specific strand based on their interests and career goals.

Can Students after Grade 10 Proceed to Finding Jobs?

Students may also choose to enter the workforce after completing Grade 10, as there are technical-vocational courses available in Senior High School for those who wish to gain employment immediately. However, the K-12 program also aims to make students more competitive in the job market, and completing Senior High School may provide better opportunities for employment.

Overall, the K-12 program aims to provide a more comprehensive and relevant education for Filipino students, preparing them for success in higher education, the workforce, and global citizenship. So while students may choose to enter the workforce after Grade 10, completing Senior High School can give them an edge in a competitive job market.

The additional two years in the Philippine education system offer various benefits that aim to enhance the overall quality of education and produce globally competitive graduates.

Video: K-12 curriculum, babaguhin; bagong classrooms at special allowance, kasama sa 2023 plans – DepEd

In this video, DepEd Secretary Sarah Duterte Carpio announced some of the changes that will happen to the current K-12 program in the Philippines. Some of the mentioned improvements are new classrooms and special allowance.


DepEd K-12 Program is a transformative initiative to start improving the quality and relevance of basic education in the Philippines. With its objectives centered around global competitiveness, holistic development, and improved quality of education, the system introduces additional grades, specialized tracks, and a curriculum designed to prepare students for the challenges of the modern world.

This educational curriculum might require parents and students effort, time, and money, but it will surely change the lives of new graduates for the better. Understanding the structure, objectives, and enrollment process of the K to 12 Program is advisable for parents, students, and educators as they navigate the evolving landscape of Philippine education.

error: Content is protected !!