SHS tracks offer career paths to students | Inquirer News

SHS tracks offer career paths to students

Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro. ARNOLD ALMACEN

Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro. ARNOLD ALMACEN

(Last of two parts)

THE PIONEER cohort of senior high school (SHS) students started enrollment nationwide today, a month earlier than the rest of the basic education students.


Education Secretary  Armin Luistro, FSC, said the early enrollment would give his department time to make necessary adjustments should the number of Grade 11 students turn out much larger than the preregistration count in October last year.


All of their preparations, he said, have been based on the preregistration data, particularly those relating to school and track preferences of the students.

The Inquirer ran the first part of this primer on Sunday to fill the gaps in information among parents, present and future SHS students, and the general public about the last two grades in the K-12 education reform. Here is Part 2.


What are the core subjects?

The SHS curriculum is made up of core subjects in eight learning areas that all SHS students will have to take, as well as applied and specialized track subjects which will be dictated by the track and the strand that a student chooses.

These are Oral Communication, Reading and Writing, Komunikasyon at Pananaliksik sa Wika at Kulturang Filipino, Pagbasa at Pagsusuri ng Iba’t Ibang Teksto Tungo sa Pananaliksik, 21st Century Literature from  the Philippines and the World, Contemporary Philippine Arts from the Regions, Media and Information Literacy, General Mathematics, Statistics and Probability, Earth and Life Science, Physical Science, Introduction to Philosophy of the Human Person, Physical Education and Health, Personal Development, and Understanding Culture, Society and Politics.  For the students under the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) strand, Earth Science replaces Earth and Life Science and Disaster Readiness and Risk Reduction replaces Physical Science.

Why are they not familiar high school subjects?

They are not because the more familiar subjects are in junior high school. The SHS curriculum has been integrated with some subjects in the College General Education curriculum with the approval of the Commission on Higher Education, which subjects will be deleted from the college curriculum so students may focus more on courses relevant to their degree programs.

What are SHS tracks?

SHS tracks are specific areas of study much like college courses and they fall under four disciplines, namely, Academic, Technical-Vocational-Livelihood (TVL), Sports, and Arts & Design. These are the subjects that will give you the competencies and advanced skills required in college or tech-voc education, entrepreneurship, employment and, most important, life.

The Academic track has four strands: Accountancy, Business and Management (ABM); Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics; Humanities and Social Sciences (HUMSS);  and General Academic (GAS).

The TVL track also has four strands: Home Economics (HE), Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Agri-Fishery Arts and Industrial Arts.

How do students select a track?

Students should ask themselves this question: What do I want to do after high school graduation? SHS is supposed to help lead students toward a career path.

Laurd Menhard Bautista Salen of Barangka, Marikina City, who preenrolled at Technological Institute of the Philippines in Quezon City, has chosen the HUMSS strand under the Academic track because it “will develop the reading and writing skills that will prepare me for college where I’m going to take up mass communications.”

Jay Anne Torres Cipriano of Olongapo City preregistered for STEM under the Academic track at The Manila Times College of Subic “to have sufficient fundamentals in engineering because I’d like to pursue geological engineering in college.”

Kristin Hans V. Santos of Bocaue, Bulacan province, preenrolled in ABM at Manila Central University in Caloocan City because she wants to be “a successful businesswoman someday.” She believes “the world changes because of the business people who manipulates it.”

Ronn Jayvier M. Gonzales will be taking the ICT strand under the TVL track at System Technology Institute (STI) in Balagtas, Bulacan province, because “I want to learn new things” and he thinks information technology “will lead me to a successful life.”

The most flexible strand, according to Department of Education  (DepEd) Assistant Secretary Elvin T. Uy, is the GAS because it will allow students to try one or two subjects in the STEM, one or two in tech-voc, and other electives for which the SHS has the facilities and the teachers.

Campaigns to encourage students to go into the STEM have not had salutary effects on incoming Grade 11 students.  Based on preregistration data, only 8 percent chose the STEM strand. But here is the good news: 40 percent will follow the tech-voc track.

How can SHS students study so many core subjects and track subjects in just two years?

“Think in terms of semesters,” Luistro said. Students will be taught different core subjects every semester. They will also choose different electives every semester. Some subjects will require two quarters only.

It is a misconception that the SHS curriculum is congested, according to  Uy.  Just like in Grades 1 to 6 and Grades 7 to 10,  there are eight subjects in Grades 11 and 12.

“But just like in college, the lineup of subjects changes every semester,” Uy said. Students can have, for example, four core subjects plus three specialized subjects in one semester.

Why aren’t all SHS offering all the tracks?

Schools can only offer tracks where they can optimize their facilities and teaching resources as well as best meet the local community’s demands. If their selected tracks are not available in the public school where they finished Grade 10, students can either go to another public SHS or use their vouchers to go to a private or non-DepEd school offering their tracks.

What happens when a student changes tracks?

The DepEd advises students and parents to weigh the possibilities and consider the consequences of changing tracks. To illustrate: A student who chooses the STEM takes up in the first semester four core subjects, an applied subject and a specialized subject, say, Basic Calculus. In the second semester, she decides to shift to the Art and Design track. What will happen is that the four core subjects will be credited but the Basic  Calculus will not be credited under Arts and Design, so in effect she will have one back subject. If the school offers that back subject in the second semester, no problem. If not, she might have to take it in the summer or it is possible her studies will be delayed.

What about the teacher requirements?

The DepEd is hiring more than 36,000 teachers out of the 47,000 who applied to teach in SHS. The department started accepting applications in October last year and, after screening, started hiring two months ago. Uy is confident there will be no teacher shortage. Hiring is not limited to licensed teachers. Luistro said they would welcome experts and practitioners to teach the specialized subjects part-time.

Teacher training, which is ongoing, is specific to specialization. For the Academic track, the DepEd is working with colleges and universities and centers of excellence. For the TVL, it has partnered with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. For the Sports track, the  department has teamed up with Philippine Normal University, which has a good sports education program. And for Arts and Design, the DepEd tapped the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

Why should students bother with SHS?

For students with typical Filipino parents, the most compelling reason is that without the SHS diploma, they cannot be admitted to a university.

For students who must earn a living right after or even during SHS, more employment opportunities will await them for several reasons. For one, partnerships with different companies for tech-voc courses will give students actual work experience that may lead to immediate hiring.

For students who are being groomed to run the family business or are interested in starting their own business, SHS offers an entrepreneurship subject that will give them the competencies to create a marketable product, design a business plan, understand manpower, materials and markets, among other things.

What should Grade 11 students and their parents prepare for when school opens?

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