Analysis of the Basic Education of
Implications for the K to 12
Dr. Carlo Magno
De La Salle University, Manila
SEAMEO INNOTECH Fellow
Research Centre and The
University of Melbourne
compared the Philippine
BEC in the areas of
and Science across
Thailand, Vietnam, and
New South Wales (NSW)
BEC is compared
Figure 1. Curriculum and Outcomes. Taken from
Esther Care and Patrick Griffin, Curriculum
Comparison Study for the Philippines Basic Education
By optimizing the human skills, national outcomes are
optimized as well (Barro, 2001).
Duration of Basic and Pre-University Education
in Selected Asian Countries
Country 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Philippines(current) Preschool PrimaryEducation Highschool
BruneiDarussalam K PrimaryEducation Highschool
Malaysia Preschool PrimaryEducation Highschool
Singapore Preschool PrimaryEducation Highschool
Vietnam Pre-primaryeducation PrimaryEducation Intermediate Secondary
Thailand Preschool ElementarySchool SecondarySchool
NSWAustralia Preschool PrimaryEducation Highschool
The Philippines has the least number of years spent for
studying and training for basic education (Brunei
Darussalam, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Thailand, and
Vietnam, to name a few, spends around 13 years to
complete the basic education program).
The 10 year program in the Philippines’ basic education
resulted to consistent low levels of performance in the
Trends in International Mathematics and Science Survey
(TIMSS) and the National Achievement Test (NAT).
The present educational system is also faced with increasing
dropout rates and graduates having weak chances of getting
better jobs because of their lack of occupational skills.
Areas of comparison
Aims of Education
Medium of Instruction
Curriculum Structure and Design
Curriculum Skills and Content:
Science, ICT, and
other subject areas.
Aims of Education
The aim of education in the
Philippines focuses on functional
literacy. The country also aims to
strengthen manpower for national
emphasized in their new
educational goal the needs of
the industry in providing skills
and knowledge without
ignoring their values.
In Malaysia, education
focuses in achieving a
Singapore delivers learning in
many aspects that includes literacy,
numeracy, bilingualism, sciences,
humanities, aesthetics, PE, and
Thailand aims to develop
individual in four fundamental
principles: Wisdom, thinking,
mind, and morality.
Vietnam emphasizes on training
individuals to be ready for work.
Alignment, and Organization
A test is given at the end of lower
primary (end of year 3) and at the end of
the upper primary (year 6).
Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand,
Vietnam, and NSW Australia have
differentiated programs at the start of the
upper secondary level (years 11-12)
where students are classified according
to their interests, and abilities.
Preschool Primary Secondary
1:20 1:12 1:11
Malaysia 1:25 1:19 1:19
Philippines 1:20 1:36 1:38
Singapore Depending on
Medium of Instruction
The medium of instruction in most
countries is bilingual/multilingual
except for Australia and Thailand.
English and mother tongue are used
as mediums of instruction in most
Curriculum Structure and
Philippines: RBEC (primary),
Backward design (secondary)
Brunei Darussalam: SPN-21
Malaysia: Standards-based curriculum
Vietnam: National Curriculum of Basic
Thailand: Education Development
The Philippines has the largest time allotment for
English, science, mathematics, social studies, and
home economics and livelihood education (HELE).
Malaysia has the largest time on teaching mother
Singapore has the largest time on music, arts, and
The Philippines have the lowest time spent for these
subjects and it is integrated.
Thailand has the largest time on work-oriented
subjects (practical skills and experiences for career
Vietnam has the largest time on Vietnamese
Intended Cognitive Skills in the Final Year of Primary School Curricula
Philippines % Thailand % Philippines %
Creating 0 0 15.8
Evaluating 5 0.05 6.31
Analysing 1.6 14.28 36.8
Applying 45.7 38 15.5
44 28.57 0
3.3 14.28 0
N=59 N=19 N=19
The development of understanding on whole
numbers follows a similar pattern with other
The teaching of the number system in the
Philippines is introduced at an early year.
There is no guide for teachers about the
variation in the increase in the difficulty of
problems in this area.
Algebra is only introduced in the Philippines
by year 7 and continuous to year 8 then
again on year 10.
The science concepts, principles, laws, models and
theories in the primary years are well developed and
The curriculum is coherent and developmental
showing clear progression.
However, the curriculum lacks opportunities to use
science skills to support learners to solve problems,
question, critique, analyze, and evaluate scientific
The content covered in the curriculum is heavier than
the coverage in the other countries
In the Philippines’ educational curriculum, assessment is
specified under three levels: Classroom assessment,
national examinations, and large scale surveys of student
The classroom assessment in the Philippines is carried out
mostly for the purpose of grading students. The teachers
need to use assessment to further help students learn by
providing descriptive feedback and not just limited to
Local examinations are also provided in the Philippines.
Students are provided with the scores but not with detailed
12 key areas
1. Extend the years of basic
education through the K-12
The entire duration of time spent for
teaching and learning in the Philippines is
10 years which is the shortest
2. Provide a mechanism to
decrease the teacher-pupil ratio
through alternative delivery modes.
The Philippines have the most number of
students for every one teacher from year 1
to year 10.
3. Align the progression of skills
through a spiral curriculum.
The progression and sequence of learning
in the basic education curriculum is not
4. Movement from content to
deepening of skills in the teaching
of subject areas.
The skills emphasized in the curriculum
are very theoretical and content- driven
especially in the mathematics, science,
social studies, history, and other subject
5. Develop students skills further
through specialized tracks in years
Specialized tracks in the upper secondary
years (year 11-12) give students in other
countries an advantage for developing
further skills for higher education.
6. Define teaching and emphasize
teaching students’ ways to learn.
The Philippine curriculum has limited
specification on how instruction is
delivered and the teaching of learning
7. Strengthen ICT integration in the
Basic Education Curriculum.
The Philippines does not have a strong
curricular program on Information and
8. Beyond teacher training, the
assessment of learning needs to be
aligned with the curriculum.
National Assessment is administered to
students in the Philippines only to rank
the best performing and lowest
9. Improvement in education is
continuously made based on
Countries in Asia are able to make
improvements in their curriculum by
surveying if their educational performance
is meeting international standards.