Six or seven years in elementary + four years in high school + four years in college.
That’s the equation that most of us are familiar with. But the Philippine government has modified the formula with the recent addition of two more years in high school. Beginning school year 2016, students will not be accepted into college unless they finish grades 11 and 12. And high school diplomas will only be issued to graduates of grade 12. The mandate on Grades 11 and 12 or what is collectively referred to as Senior High School has caused confusion and elicited a lot of complaints from parents and students.
But is it really such a bad thing? “Senior high school will allow our graduates to meet the global standard requirement of twelve years of basic education. It will let Filipinos be globally competitive. Those who want to work abroad will not have to take additional state examinations or certifications and will receive commensurate compensation,” rationalized Engr. Mike Tan, Global City Innovative College (GIC) President, during a meeting with a group of parent writers.
“It will still be like high school but with specialization. The curriculum will be geared towards the student’s interest. The specialization will be reflected in the student’s choice of tracks and strands. The tracks and strands offered at GIC prepares students better for specific college programs. So the students move up to the next level better equipped,” explained Dr. Gerry De La Zerna, GIC Chairman for Senior High School.
The track is similar to what we refer to as ‘course’ in college while strands are similar to what is called ‘major’ in college.
Established in 2002, GIC offers Bachelor of Science courses on Business Administration, Hospitality Management, Information Technology, Tourism Management, Medical Technology, Accountancy and Accounting Technology. And now they are introducing their Senior High School program.
“GIC wants to play a role in the country’s new education framework and do our share in bridging the gap between the high school and the tertiary levels. We also see this as an opportunity to cascade our approach to education to more students,” related Mike. “We employ 21st-century learning. We offer a kind of education that addresses the needs of students to thrive in the future. We teach timeless skills that will serve as a strong foundation regardless of what the future holds. This is done through holistic and innovative education,” he continued.
Students who enroll in GIC will have a unique 3D experience – discover, develop and direction. “We believe that these 2 years are critical yet confusing to a young student’s life stage. GIC’s 3D approach will help them discover their innate talents and gifts. Our unique enrichment programs for grades 11 and 12 aim to develop these talents and gifts by honing them with the needed skills needed for the 21st century. Finally, GIC will help them determine and focus on the direction to take for the important life choices they will make for their career or further education. This innovative approach will be rooted in the 21st-century education framework and fully compliant with the requirements of the Department of Education,” Mike guaranteed.
GIC offers Academic and Tech Voc tracks. Under the Academic track they have three strands: Accountancy Business and Management (ABM), Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Humanities and Social Sciences (HUMSS). Under the Tech Voc track, they have two strands: The first is Home Economics which includes pastry and bakery production; food and beverages; and tour guiding and tourism promotions. The second is Information and Communications Technology (ICT) where they have animation, computer programming and medical transcription. Slots per strand are limited.
To help the students decide on which track/strand to take GIC conducts a career assessment prior to enrollment. “We discuss the results with the parents and emphasize to them that students who pursue their interests are more likely to succeed. If students take up what they want, truancy in college is reduced,” Gerry disclosed.
Education the GIC way sounds really fun! Students will be thrilled that they will not be given assignments to bring home. “We want our students to do the assignments in school. We want them to be well-rounded and enjoy their social life and family life,” shared Gerry.
And there will be only four days of school. “The fifth day will be spent as immersion in their industry of choice. For example, if the topic is about interviews, we will let them spend the fifth day of the week going on interviews. We want them to get the experience so that when they return to the classroom, they will understand the discussion better. If it’s all lecture then everything remains abstract. They will not comprehend until they go through it. And the experience will make them remember better,” justified Gerry.
“Senior high school is more about skills but not just technical skills, we must not forget the soft skills such as attitude and personality. They have to learn more skills that will match with what the industry wants like critical thinking, decision making, and presentation skills. These are the things we will teach you in GIC through our curriculum enhancement,” emphasized Gerry.
The Life course is an example of an enhancement. It is a required subject. “This is where we guide them to discover themselves and embrace their uniqueness, we teach them to explore their community and relate with others properly. It is also in the Life course where we prepare them for the professional world and life realities,” said Mr. Jayson Bergania, GIC Director for Innovative Holistic Development Education. How I wish we had this during our time!
Last but not the least, the teachers at GIC are industry practitioners who can provide real life examples and impart their experience from the field.
After graduating from Senior High School in GIC, students can explore three options. They can move up to college for higher studies and pursue the specialization track taken in senior high school. No entrance exam if they enroll in GIC! Or they can get a job armed with a TESDA certification (when applicable) of the chosen specialization in senior high school. However, with this, their chances of moving up will be limited to middle management positions at the most. Because companies usually require a college degree for promotion to higher levels. The third option involves starting their own business.
“At the end of the day, the objective is to have GIC’s high school graduates be both industry-ready and college-ready,” concluded Mike.
Know more about Global City Innovative College and its Senior High School program through www.global.edu.ph or by calling (02) 882-4242 and (02) 666-8881 to 82.
GIC is located at PET Plans Tower Annex, 444 EDSA, Makati City 1211 (near Estrella Street and Rockwell).