Secondary education

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Secondary education, also known as high school, is the stage of education following primary (or elementary) education, and is the last part of formal compulsory education.

In the Philippines, after completing four years of high school, students may opt to continue education in a technical or vocational school, or in a college or university.


Characteristic of the Philippine high school system

Mainly based upon the American form of schooling, the Philippine secondary education system is composed of four levels/years. Secondary schooling is compartmentalized, which means each year level focuses on a particular “theme” or “content”.


At the secondary level, two general types of curriculum are followed: the general secondary and vocational/technical types. General high schools prepare the students for higher academic work while vocational/technical high school focus on skills training. Special schools such as science high schools focusing on a more intensive science curriculum and an arts high school where artistically-gifted children are admitted and receive advanced studies in the arts, also exist. Generally, the first year of high school includes five core subjects: Elementary Algebra, Integrated/General Science (in others, Earth Science), English (Philippine literature), Filipino (Ang Ibong Adarna, and Filipino grammar), and Philippine History.

The curriculum of high school sophomores, on the other hand, includes Algebra II (Intermediate Algebra), Biology, English II (Asian literature), Filipino II (Florante at Laura, and Filipino rhetoric, grammar, and writing styles), and Asian History.

High school juniors have Geometry, Chemistry, Filipino III (Noli Me Tangere), English III (Anglo-American literature), and World History and Geography in their curricula, while high school seniors have Calculus (Advanced Algebra), Trigonometry, Physics, Filipino IV (El Filibusterismo), World Literature, and Economics. Minor subjects such as Health, Computer Education, Music, Arts, Technology and Technology and Home Economics, and Physical Education are taken up across levels.

In other high schools (mostly private), electives are offered to students to provide them holistic development. Courses offered are foreign language(s), together with computer programming, literary writing, and journalism. Chinese schools add language and cultural subjects in the students’ curricula. Preparatory schools, on the other hand, usually add some business and accountancy subjects, while science high schools have Biology, Chemistry, and Physics in every year level.


The Bureau of Secondary Education, a division of the Department of Education in the Philippines, envisions equal opportunity and access to quality and equal secondary education for all Filipino youth. The division holds various activities and implements policies for the improvement of the status of secondary education in the Philippines.

Some of the policies are the following:

  • Revitalized Homeroom Guidance Program (RHGP)- addresses or guides the students' need to make sound decisions that match their aptitude and interests, through the class homeroom adviser. The program is presently being institutionalized in secondary schools nationwide.
  • Indigenization/Localization of the Secondary Education Curricula - focuses on the relevance of the curriculum to the local culture. It took off with a national workshop on the development of curriculum frameworks and sample lesson plans in eight subject areas.
  • Balik Paaralan Para sa Out of School Adults (BP-OSA) – this is a novel alternative delivery system that provides out-of-school adults high school education and assistance in acquiring entrepreneurial and other skills that could help them land jobs.

See also




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