Higher earnings for senior high school graduates in the Philippines

These graduates have higher chances of securing medium-skill work, improving employment prospects and skills development opportunities.
By: | July 17, 2023

Senior high school (SHS) graduates in the Philippines are reaping the benefits of the K-12 programme, and are earning approximately 19% higher wages compared to those who completed the old high school curriculum, a study conducted by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) has revealed.

PIDS analysed labour market outcomes among high school graduates and discovered that SHS graduates were more likely to secure medium-skill work that required advanced literacy, numeracy, and interpersonal skills. Furthermore, individuals who completed Grade 12 were approximately 16.2 percentage points more likely to be employed in medium-skill occupations compared to those who only completed Grade 10.

The K-12 programme in the Philippines covers kindergarten, six years of primary education, four years of junior high school, and two years of SHS to prepare graduates for tertiary education, middle-skills development, employment, and entrepreneurship.

While these findings highlight the positive impact of SHS education on employment prospects, PIDS emphasised the need to consider these benefits in conjunction with the associated costs of attending SHS, and noted, “The government had to hire additional teachers, develop new modules, and construct more classrooms to accommodate SHS students. Households have to extend providing pocket money to their children attending SHS.”

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Additionally, the study acknowledged the opportunity cost of time for SHS students, who could have potentially started working had they concluded their education at the junior high level.

PIDS urged caution against overselling the benefits of SHS education but emphasised the need to communicate these advantages to parents and caregivers to dispel misconceptions about the programme. The study acknowledged that while reverting to the old K-10 curriculum might offer immediate financial rewards, “the K-12 programme may be a superior option in the longer term based on projections”, reported Philstar.