K-12: Headache for Tertiary Academes?

By Charlie L. Simon

School year 2012-2013 will be the moment of truth for one of P-Noy’s more known thrusts which is the K-12. It is strongly underlined both by the President and the Department of Education as a vital means to improve the quality of learning in the country through adding two more years of basic education, grade11 and grade12, before entering college and a mandated kindergarten program before entering grade 1. In short, it is through K-12 that our country’s Basic Education Curriculum will hopefully be aligned with global standards. It is just that our long-established 10 years of basic education is not at par with worldwide requirements for job eligibility. This provides explanation of why in other countries our licensed engineers are technicians, our doctors are secondary assistants and why many of Filipinos abroad still need to study prior to working even if they already hold degrees here in the Philippines.

Many thinkers opened the idea of a backlash to economy, an agitation of the status quo and the preparedness of the government. But rare are the discussions on the impact to tertiary schools in particular. This leads to the question of how serious would the effects of K-12 be to tertiary institutions in aspects like enrolment, financial status and adjustment to the system, down to the status of the instructors; which overall this article seeks to explain.


On Enrolment

Most tertiary institutions will suffer a sharp enrolment drop in 2016. How is this so? Incoming first year high school students will be the pioneering batch of the K-12 program and they are expected to graduate from high school by 2016 under our current paradigm. What will happen is that by the said year, they cannot enroll to college yet. Instead they will take two more years to comply with K-12’s 2-year junior high school via grade11 and grade12. In effect, there will be no enrollees for college freshmen from that batch and the succeeding one while they go through the said additional grade levels. This will consequently create a land slide on the enrollment expectation of tertiary institutions. Only those who long finished with high school together with students from private high schools with grade7, Kinder1 and Kinder2 on their curricula, will be eligible to enroll for college in that year. However, they are going to be very few.

With the said two years of enrollment lag, the 1st K-12 batch will be expected to enroll in college by 2018. Not only will there be no freshmen, there will also be no sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduates in some particular years aside from transferees, returnees and those not caught up by the implementation of the program. Shown in the following table is a closer look at this foreseeable trend.


4th yr high school or grade 10



1st yr. college

2nd yr. college

3rd yr. college

4th yr. college







No Graduates


No Graduates



– batch (varying color)                -flow path               –       zero enrollees

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