Mong Palatino

blogging about the philippine left and southeast asian politics since 2004


@mongster is a manila-based activist, former philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of asia-pacific affairs.

Part 1: K-12: Education reform for whom?
Part 2: K-12: Miseducation in the 21st century

Under K-12, Technology and Livelihood Education (TLE) courses will be introduced in the junior and senior high school levels. Students are required to learn exploratory concepts of TESDA courses in Grades 7 and 8. More details below:

“…the Grade 7and 8 learner is given the opportunity to explore from a maximum of 4 TLE mini courses in Grade 7 and another 4 in Grade 8 which the school offers depending on community needs and school resources.

“In the exploratory courses, the learner is taught 5 basic competencies common to all TLE courses. The basic competencies are 1) mensuration and calculation, 2) use of tools and equipment, 3) interpretation of plans/drawing, 4) occupational health and safety in the workplace, and 5) maintenance of tools and equipment.”

There are more than 20 TLE electives based on the training regulations of TESDA:

1. Aquaculture
2. Agricultural Crop Production
3. Animal Crop Production
4. Automative Servicing
5. Bread and Pastry Production
6. Caregiving
7. Carpentry
8. Commercial Cooking
9. Electrical Installation and Maintenance
10. Consumer Electronics Servicing
11. Fish processing
12. Horticulture
13. Household services
14. Masonry
15. Mechanical drafting
16. Nail care
17. Computer Hardware Servicing
18. RAC Servicing
19. Shielded Metal Arc Welding
20. Tailoring/Dressmaking
21. Tiles Setting

In Grade 9, the student chooses one TESDA course to specialize and the learner is given a Certificate of Competency. In Grade 10, the student pursues the TLE specialization course and after the end of the school year he would be given a National Certificate (NC) Level I or Level II.

According to DepEd, the new curriculum is “geared towards the development of a holistically developed Filipino with 21st century skills.” One of the outcome goals of the program is to improve Philippine education standards “to be at par with international standards.”

But I couldn’t reconcile these exemplary pedagogic objectives with TESDA’s definition of an NC 1 graduate. Under K-12, a Grade 10 student (or fourth year high school student today) can obtain an NC I if he “performs a routine and predictable tasks; has little judgment; and, works under supervision.” While an NC II holder “performs prescribe range of functions involving known routines and procedures; has limited choice and complexity of functions, and has little accountability.”

K-12 is supposed to enhance the global competitiveness of the youth by introducing world-class teaching methods, ICT literacy, and 21st century skills in schools. DepEd is even boasting the use of a progressive spiral curriculum which would facilitate the holistic development of individuals. But after hurdling all these innovative learning challenges from Kindergarten to Grade 10, and after taking and passing several standardized examinations and assessment tools, the student is simply expected to “perform a routine and predictable task, has little judgment, has limited choice and complexity of functions, and has little accountability”?

K-12 is a fancy but misleading name for a program that merely requires the teaching of TESDA subjects to all students in the high school level. Apparently, the government idea of a global learner is an individual who has middle level skills while possessing the right attitude and behavior in the workplace. In short, K-12 seeks to transform all schools into a big assembly line of factories breeding a new generation of docile and semi-skilled laborers who are ready for export to other countries.

K-12 will not solve the alleged mismatch between schools and local industries. It’s more of a creative reform that will boost the colonial imprimatur of Philippine education. For example, why offer caregiving and household services to high school students? Are these emerging industries? Is it really necessary to integrate these courses in the national curriculum? Does the local market require the specialized training of future caregivers and kasambahays?

Under the household service TLE subject, children will learn about the professional code of conduct or ethics of a household worker. They will be taught how to ‘maintain a professional image’ as household workers. Other topics include ‘Desirable Traits of a Household Worker’ and ‘Duties and Responsibilities of a Household Worker.’ At the end of the semester, students will be able to identify and operate a vacuum cleaner, floor polisher, and other cleaning materials. The teaching module also gives valuable tips to K-12 students and future supermaids:

“Household workers should not sexually harass clients. Sexual harassment includes sexual advances, sexual solicitation, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

“Household workers should not use derogatory language in their written or verbal communications to or about clients

“When setting fees, Household workers should receive fee that are fair, reasonable, and commensurate with the services performed. Consideration should be given to clients’ ability to pay.

“Household workers should make reasonable efforts to ensure continuity of services in the event that services are interrupted by factors such as unavailability, relocation, illness, disability, or death.

“They should take reasonable steps to avoid abandoning clients who are still in need of services.”

Global excellence my foot! K-12 was designed to raise the global appeal of Filipino minimum wage earners.

TLE as conceptualized by DepEd will not lead to intense and productive collaboration between schools and emerging local industries in the country because the framework leans in favor of the objective of supplying the manpower needs of other countries and big foreign corporations.

TLE is the central component of K-12. It’s a mandatory TESDA program for all students in the country. Other reforms like mother tongue-based education and new teaching strategies can be adopted even without restructuring the whole education set-up. It means we don’t need the present K-12 to implement reforms in the core learning disciplines.

11 Responses to “K-12: TESDA in High School”

  1. Thank you for giving us more information about the K-12 program. The whole Filipinos must read this information, because many of them cannot really understand the whole content of this program, I’m not against K-12, but I cannot understand why it should be implement as soon where there still lots of problems.


  2. I am a graduate of a 2-year IT TESDA Ladderized..
    Do i have the license to teach computer class, or what kind of certificate do i need to make it.


  3. No textbooks in TLE for K 12 program and collaboration between DepEd and TESDA cannot be felt for the past 2 years of K 12 curriculum in high school.

    Felix Caldito

  4. Hi. Thank you for your very informative thoughts regarding k-12, definitely it enlightened my mind. However, i do believe that the government has a good intention in this new educational system but i don’t think so that they can easily meet their objectives because some public schools can’t afford to offer all the courses stated in the k-12 curriculum. They cannot fully support this unless the corruption is over…in my dreams… 🙂


  5. I do believe that the easy transfer of knowledge to the students would be materialized if there are textbooks available or simply format or guides regarding the subject matter..


  6. Seems that public school teachers and employees are still groping in the dark on what lessons to teach in TLE for grade 9


  7. I am a graduate of a 2-year IT TESDA Ladderized and i am also a CHS NC II Holder.

    Do i have the license to teach computer class?

    Chris John

  8. i graduated as a Bachelor in Agriculture major in Agronomy/Crop Production and a LEA passer.Do i have a chance to teach w/o LET?

    Eiryale Palacios

  9. TLE based on the Kto12 curriculum? and yet no textbooks available..if ever there is at all, VERY LIMITED content. All others would be left to the teacher/s to research…and be more creative in teaching.

    If you will try to analyze the TLE curriculum under the Kto 12, it is all geared to “exporting human services”, ergo: more OFWs, more families set apart, more broken families..sooo sad 🙁


  10. May available po ba kayong pang highschool dko po kasi natapos yong highschool ko dapat mag 3rdyear natigil kaxe .

    marilou b. delacruz

  11. In the previous curriculum, Business Technology is one of the best areas of TLE. At present K to 12 Junior High, they did not include business tech. area where in fact they had an Accounting and Business Management strand under the Academic track in Grade 11 and 12. How can we motivate students to enroll in this ABM strand if we do not offer basic subjects in the Junior High to lead their interest? May I request the DepEd to review the TLE offerings for the Junior High specifically for Grade 9 and 10 and to please consider the Business Tech basic courses in the TLE subject.

    Emily C. Timbang

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