INSIGHT

Factors Affecting Senior High School Track Offerings in the Philippines

The implementation of the K to 12 Basic Education Program in the Philippines aims to ensure that students are well prepared for tertiary education, skills development, employment, and entrepreneurship.
The implementation of the K to 12 Basic Education Program in the Philippines aims to ensure that students are well prepared for tertiary education, skills development, employment, and entrepreneurship.

There is a need to ensure that senior high school students are able to make optimal choices by providing them access to various senior high school tracks.

Introduction

The implementation of the K to 12 Basic Education Program in the Philippines includes the introduction of senior high school (SHS), or grades 11 and 12, the final 2 years in a new 6-year secondary education system. While previous curricula focused mainly on readiness for postsecondary education, the SHS curriculum aims to prepare students for either further education or employment.

SHS students undertake a standard core curriculum and can choose from four tracks of specialization: academic, technical-vocational and livelihood (TVL), sports, or arts and design. The academic track is further divided into four strands: accountancy, business, and management (ABM); science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); humanities and social sciences (HUMSS); and general academic. The TVL track also has four strands and various specializations under each one: home economics; information and communications technology (ICT); agri-fishery arts; and industrial arts. There are two specific specializations for the maritime industry: the pre-baccalaureate maritime specialization—a modified STEM curriculum—and the TVL maritime specialization.

To understand the factors that influence education investment and career planning choices of incoming and current SHS students, the Asian Development Bank and the Philippines’ Department of Education (DepEd) conducted the Youth Education Investment and Labor Market Outcomes Survey (YEILMOS) in 2017. The survey covered students and their families as well as school heads of select public and private high schools in four pilot areas: the National Capital Region (NCR), Ilocos Sur for Luzon, Eastern Samar for Visayas, and Davao del Sur for Mindanao. While the YEILMOS results are not representative of the overall SHS population, insights and lessons can still be derived from the study’s findings.

Analysis

Constraints in Offering Senior High School Tracks and Strands

Table 1 presents a list of issues that may constrain a school’s general operations. When asked about operational issues that schools confront, public schools cited inadequacy of facilities (43.1%), lack of teachers (28.6%), and application requirements to be able to offer different SHS tracks (17.5%). Private schools, meanwhile, were mainly constrained by the lack of student demand or enrollment (32.9%), application requirements to be able to offer different SHS tracks (13.2%), and inadequacy of facilities (12.7%).

Table 1: Proportion of Schools Citing a Specific Issue as a Constraint General Operations, by School Type (%)

Issue Constraining Operations

Public

Private

All

Number of classrooms and adequacy fo facilities

43.1

12.7

27.8

Limited student enrollment

8.5

32.9

20.8

Lack of teachers

28.6

7.5

18.0

Application requirements to be able to offer different SHS tracks

17.5

13.2

15.3

High student enrollment

6.6

11.4

9.0

Schedule of disbursement of subsidies for voucher and/or ESC recipients

3.0

4.1

3.6

ESC application requirements

2.5

2.8

2.7

Other constraints

5.4

3.5

4.4

ESC = educational service contracting, SHS = senior high school.
Source: Authors’ estimates based on Youth Education Investment and Labor Market Outcomes Survey results.

Table 2 presents the issues constraining school operations according to the four geographic areas surveyed under the YEILMOS. The most common constraints for NCR schools were limited student enrollment (35.3%) and lack of facilities (21.7%). Schools in Ilocos Sur cited a lack of facilities (42.6%) and lack of teachers (42.2%) as their main limitations, and in higher proportions compared to the other survey areas. Schools in Davao del Sur had the same top two constraints: lack of facilities (23.5%) and lack of teachers (18.2%). Eastern Samar was the only survey area to identify application requirements to offer different SHS tracks (29.2%) as its top constraint, followed by lack of facilities (23.5%).

Table 2: Proportion of Schools Citing a Specific Issue as a Constraint General Operations, by Survey Area (%)

Issue Constraining Operations

NCR

Ilocos Sur

Eastern Samar

Davao del Sur

All

Number of classrooms and adequacy fo facilities

21.7

42.6

23.5

23.5

27.8

Limited student enrollment

35.3

19.9

10.0

20.8

Lack of teachers

5.1

42.2

11.4

18.2

18.0

Application requirements to be able to offer different SHS tracks

16.1

9.5

29.2

6.1

15.3

High student enrollment

15.4

3.7

3.7

8.0

9.0

Schedule of disbursement of subsidies for voucher and/or ESC recipients

4.5

1.2

6.0

2.1

3.6

ESC application requirements

4.9

0.4

3.3

2.7

Other constraints

0.8

1.9

2.2

21.2

4.4

– = magnitude equals zero, ESC = educational service contracting, NCR = National Capital Region, SHS = senior high school.
Source: Authors’ estimates based on Youth Education Investment and Labor Market Outcomes Survey results.

Lack of Resources for Facilities and Teachers

Table 3 illustrates the degree to which particular SHS tracks and strands may be affected by a lack of funds for facilities and teaching personnel. Across all YEILMOS survey areas, this constraint most limited the offering of the ICT (51.6%), STEM (50.3%), and home economics (50.3%) strands. In NCR schools, lack of funds had most impact on the STEM (43.1%) and ICT (42.7%) strands; in Ilocos Sur schools, on all four academic strands (from 51.5% for HUMSS to 66.9% for STEM) as well as the home economics (62.9%) and ICT (57.7%) strands; in Eastern Samar schools, on the ICT (52.3%) and home economics (51.0%) strands; and in Davao del Sur schools, on the ICT (67.3%), home economics (60.7%), STEM (55.4%), industrial arts (55.1%), and general academic (51.3%) strands.

Table 3: Proportion of Schools Citing Lack of Funds as a Reason for Not Offering a Particular Track or Strand, by Survey Area (%)

SHS Track or Stand

NCR

Ilocos Sur

Eastern Samar

Davao del Sur

All

Academic

48.4

68.3

40.1

62.0

54.1

   Accountancy, business, and management strand

21.4

62.3

37.6

39.9

40.0

   Humanities and social sciences strand

30.8

51.5

34.0

49.5

41.0

   Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics strand

43.1

66.9

39.0

55.4

50.3

   General academic strand

28.5

59.4

24.1

51.3

37.8

   Pre-baccalaureate maritime

37.6

40.8

22.1

44.0

36.5

Technical-Vocational-Livelihood

44.4

53.0

44.7

64.8

49.8

   Agri-fishery arts

36.9

36.0

46.8

47.6

39.8

   Home economics

40.0

62.9

51.0

60.7

50.3

   Information and communication technology

42.7

57.7

52.3

67.3

51.6

   Industrial arts

41.6

40.0

41.7

55.1

43.0

   Technical-vocational and livelihood maritime

38.3

40.6

33.1

56.7

40.7

   Livelihood

39.7

49.4

38.0

45.7

42.8

Sports

39.0

37.6

38.1

45.8

39.5

Arts and Design

39.4

36.8

34.8

42.2

38.3

NCR = National Capital Region, SHS = senior high school
Note: Lack of funds cited is specific to the provision of facilities and teaching personnel.
Source: Authors’ estimates based on Youth Education Investment and Labor Market Outcomes Survey results.

Table 4 shows how, despite a school having adequate funding, difficulty in hiring specialized teachers can impact on the school’s ability to offer particular SHS tracks and strands. In public schools, this constraint was most pronounced for the four academic strands (from 11.6% for STEM to 14.3% for ABM). In private schools, hiring difficulties most often prevented the offering of the general academic (24.3%) and ABM (22.7%) strands.

Table 4: Proportion of Schools Citing Difficulty in Hiring Specialized Teaching Personnel as a Reason for Not Offering a Particular Track or Strand, by School Type (%)

SHS Track or Stand

Public

Private

All

Academic

15.6

35.1

25.5

   Accountancy, business, and management strand

14.3

22.7

18.1

   Humanities and social sciences strand

12.1

5.5

9.6

   Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics strand

11.6

8.6

10.2

   General academic strand

12.5

24.3

18.7

   Pre-baccalaureate maritime

7.3

11.5

9.4

Technical-Vocational-Livelihood

12.0

7.6

9.8

   Agri-fishery arts

7.7

1.7

4.5

   Home economics

8.8

1.3

4.6

   Information and communication technology

9.2

3.4

6.3

   Industrial arts

7.3

1.6

4.2

   Technical-vocational and livelihood maritime

6.9

1.8

4.3

   Livelihood

8.4

4.7

6.5

Sports

7.7

8.0

7.9

Arts and Design

7.7

8.3

8.0

SHS = senior high school.
Note: Schools citing difficulty in hiring specialized teaching personnel had adequate funding to do so.
Source: Authors’ estimates based on Youth Education Investment and Labor Market Outcomes Survey results.

Table 5 demonstrates how an inability to hire sufficient specialized teachers prevented the offering of particular SHS tracks and strands across and in each of the YEILMOS survey areas. In NCR schools, this constraint most impacted the offering of the ABM (30.4%) and general academic strands (25.5%); in Ilocos Sur schools, the pre-baccalaureate maritime (16.8%), agri-fishery arts (11.1%), and ICT (10.8%) strands; in Eastern Samar schools, all four academic strands (from 15.8% for STEM to 26.8% for general academic); and in Davao del Sur schools, the STEM (19.2%), home economics (17.9%), ABM (17.6%), and HUMSS (17.4%) strands.

Table 5: Proportion of Schools Citing Difficulty in Hiring Specialized Teaching Personnel as a Reason for not Offering a Particular Track or Strand, by Survey Area (%)

SHS Track or Stand

NCR

Ilocos Sur

Eastern Samar

Davao del Sur

All

Academic

35.1

18.1

21.3

17.8

25.5

   Accountancy, business, and management strand

30.4

5.8

16.5

17.6

18.1

   Humanities and social sciences strand

7.0

1.5

19.1

17.4

9.6

   Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics strand

10.6

0.0

15.8

19.2

10.2

   General academic strand

25.5

6.8

26.8

3.4

18.7

   Pre-baccalaureate maritime

8.0

16.8

2.5

8.9

9.4

Technical-Vocational-Livelihood

6.3

11.7

7.6

18.2

9.8

   Agri-fishery arts

1.8

11.1

0.9

4.0

4.5

   Home economics

1.3

6.2

2.8

17.9

4.6

   Information and communication technology

3.1

10.8

2.3

12.3

6.3

   Industrial arts

2.1

6.6

2.9

8.1

4.2

   Technical-vocational and livelihood maritime

1.7

6.3

0.9

12.0

4.3

   Livelihood

2.5

10.0

6.2

11.6

6.5

Sports

7.9

5.2

6.1

14.5

7.9

Arts and Design

7.9

5.3

6.1

15.3

8.0

NCR = National Capital Region, SHS = senior high school.
Note: Schools citing difficulty in hiring specialized teaching personnel had adequate funding to do so.
Source: Authors’ estimates based on Youth Education Investment and Labor Market Outcomes Survey results.

Table 6 outlines how limited demand from students can inhibit the offering of particular SHS tracks or strands. In public schools, limited student demand was a main reason for not offering the arts and design (43.4%) and sports (41.9%) tracks as well as the pre-baccalaureate maritime (50.3%), technical-vocational and livelihood maritime (43.2%), agri-fishery arts (41.6%), and STEM (39.8%) strands. In private schools, the arts and design (55.1%) and sports (51.8%) tracks were again the tracks most commonly not offered due to a lack of student demand, as was the case with the industrial arts (57.1%), agri-fishery arts (54.5%), and HUMSS (52.5%) strands.

In NCR schools, the HUMSS (56.7%) and home economics (53.3%) strands were most affected by lack of student demand; in Ilocos Sur schools, the arts and design (57.1%) and sports (56.3%) tracks as well as the industrial arts strand (52.5%); in Eastern Samar schools, the arts and design (43.6%) track; and in Davao del Sur schools, the agri-fishery arts (48.4%) and general academic (45.3%) strands.

Table 6: Proportion of Schools Citing Limited Demand from Students as a Reason for Not Offering a Particular Track or Strand, by School Type (%)

SHS Track or Stand

Public

Private

Academic

32.7

57.1

   Accountancy, business, and management strand

33.5

41.3

   Humanities and social sciences strand

36.9

52.5

   Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics strand

39.8

31.9

   General academic strand

30.1

46.0

   Pre-baccalaureate maritime

50.3

44.9

Technical-Vocational-Livelihood

34.8

41.1

   Agri-fishery arts

41.6

54.5

   Home economics

24.8

48.6

   Information and communication technology

29.3

43.4

   Industrial arts

36.5

57.1

   Technical-vocational and livelihood maritime

43.2

54.0

   Livelihood

38.1

51.7

Sports

41.9

51.8

Arts and Design

43.4

55.1

SHS = senior high school.
Source: Authors’ estimates based on Youth Education Investment and Labor Market Outcomes Survey results.

Implications

Based on the results of the survey, DepEd and schools—as well as other key stakeholders and partners—may explore, and collaborate on, options to mitigate the various constraints in offering different SHS tracks and strands. 

To address the inadequacy of facilities in public schools, there is a need to ensure that education budgets are efficiently and judiciously allocated for classrooms, laboratories, workshops, and equipment and tools needed for ICT, STEM, and TVL studies. It is also important to allocate resources and attention to STEM and ICT, and to broaden access for underserved communities and students with limited access to SHS programs. The government should also foster disciplines that may not be in vogue but are key to inclusive development and sustainability (e.g., agri-fishery arts and food security). 

There is a need to review the guidelines for hiring SHS teachers, and to develop measures that reduce the burden and inefficiencies of finding qualified applicants for SHS teaching positions in specialized fields. Government agencies, for example, can determine if the specific requirements and compensation for part-time SHS teachers are sufficient to attract and retain would-be and competent teachers in public schools, thereby offsetting the shortage of qualified applicants for full-time posts.

The government must also consider how it can best utilize programs for continuing professional development to retrain and upgrade licensed teachers into the SHS learning areas in need of more teachers. 

In the long term, DepEd must continue to work with the Commission on Higher Education, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and the Professional Regulation Commission to sufficiently prepare future teachers. As the Philippines’ biggest employer of teachers, the department should also provide relevant and timely information to guide interested students, households, teaching colleges, and other education institutions on the kinds of teaching specializations required within the education system. 

While private schools are expected to be more sensitive to shifting market demands, the government should continue to strengthen its support for quality education institutions and the diversity of choices for SHS that these institutions are able to offer. DepEd may consider further tweaking its SHS Voucher Program by providing larger subsidies for more resource-intensive but highly desirable program offerings (e.g. STEM, specific TVL specializations) from quality schools. DepEd should also review its guidelines for the issuance of SHS permits and recognition, to strike the proper balance between weeding out inferior programs and providing adequate latitude for innovative institutions. 

Lastly, DepEd must soon articulate its parameters and processes in the expected review of SHS programs for both public and private schools. Within the SHS system, the department will need to confront the issues of when to terminate failing or substandard programs and when to open new and necessary offerings, taking into account the preferences and aspirations of its students, the needs and ambitions of the labor market, and the broader interests of the diverse Philippine general public.

Resources

Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Department of Education of the Government of the Philippines (DepEd). 2019. Youth Education Investment and Labor Market Outcomes in the Philippines: Survey Report. Manila.

ADB. 2015. A Smarter Future: Skills, Education, and Growth in Asia. Special Chapter of Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2015. Manila. 

ADB. Regional: Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2018-2020 – Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2018 (Subproject 1).

Ask the Experts

  • Elvin Uy
    Director for Operations at Philippine Business for Social Progress

    Elvin Uy is a former assistant secretary for curriculum and instruction and K to 12 Program coordinator of the Department of Education (DepEd). From 2011 to 2016, he was part of the formulation, design, and implementation of the K to 12 Program and the introduction of Senior High School.

    Follow Elvin Uy on

  • Arturo Martinez, Jr.
    Statistician, Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, Asian Development Bank

    Art Martinez works on Sustainable Development Goals indicator compilation, particularly poverty statistics and big data analytics. Prior to joining ADB, he was a research fellow at the University of Queensland where he also got his doctorate in Social Statistics.

  • Asian Development Bank (ADB)

    The Asian Development Bank is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region. Its main instruments for helping its developing member countries are policy dialogue, loans, equity investments, guarantees, grants, and technical assistance.

    Follow Asian Development Bank (ADB) on

Leave your question or comment in the section below:



 

   Last updated: August 2019



Disclaimer

The views expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) or its Board of Governors or the governments they represent. ADB does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this publication and accepts no responsibility for any consequence of their use. By making any designation of or reference to a particular territory or geographic area, or by using the term “country” in this document, ADB does not intend to make any judgments as to the legal or other status of any territory or area.




Was this article useful?