A Brief Overview of Senior High Strands in the Philippines

Senior high school or SHS refers to the last two years of the K to 12 program that has been implemented by the Department of Education here in the Philippines since 2012 – namely, grades 11 and 12. Students are now required to choose their preferred senior high strands upon their entrance and to begin studying the subjects that are going to introduce them to the career path that they want to take.

In the old system here in our county, high school education consisted of the first year up to the fourth year. Today, those four years correspond to Grades 7 to 10, otherwise known as junior high school or JHS. It should be noted that currently “senior high” no longer just means the very last year of high school but rather, the two grade levels after it. Likewise, “junior high” also does not just mean the year before the last of high school but rather the four grade levels under senior high.

Under Republic Act No. 10533 or the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, students are now required to complete Kindergarten, Grades 1 to 6 or elementary school, Grades 7 to 10 or junior high school, and Grades 11 to 12 or senior high school. All of this must be completed in 13 years before a student can receive his or her high school diploma.

Upon enrollment in senior high school, students are also going to have to pick among four senior high strands or tracks. Choosing the right strand is one of the biggest decisions a student in the Philippines is going to have to make, so read on and find out how you can best make this choice.

What You Should Know About Senior High

What You Should Know About Senior High


The K to 12 program that has been implemented by the Department of Education has already produced three batches of senior high school graduates since it was initially launched in 2012. However, many parents and even students are still unsure how the senior high system works and why it has been included in the revised education system.

If you or somebody you know happen to fall into this category, don’t fret. Here are a few things you should know about senior high here in the Philippines that might be of great help.


  • The Importance of Senior High


Today, one of the most important requirements for college admissions is completing senior high. So if you are planning on studying a four- or five-year degree program at the college of your dreams, finishing senior high school is a must.

In addition, finishing senior high school also allows students to study general education subjects that they would not have otherwise studied until their first or second year in college. This gives the students more time to familiarize themselves with the specialization that they have chosen if they eventually decide to pursue higher education.

Finishing senior high also plays an important role should you intend to pursue jobs and qualify for employment in countries where companies require a minimum of 16 years of formal education as opposed to the 14 years of education under the old system. This also goes the same for students who are interested in getting their master’s or even doctor’s degree overseas where most academic institutions also require the 16-year minimum.


  • How Long the Duration is


Senior high schools, in this case, grades 11 and 12, spans over two academic years composed of two semesters each. Each of these semesters is further subdivided into 29 mandatory and 2 elective subjects that each require 80 hours to complete. The exception to this is Health and P.E. which only take 20 hours each to complete.


  • Learning Strands and Career Tracks


The senior high school program is further broken down into learning strands and career tracks. The learning strands in senior high school refer to the different areas of expertise under the program while the career tracks refer to the general categories that each different field of study belongs to.

There are currently four career tracks composed of Academic, TVL/TVE, Arts and Design, and Sports. The eight learning strands, meanwhile, are STEM, HUMMS, ABM, GAS, Home Economics, Agri-fishery Arts, Industrial Arts, and ICT. All of these will be further discussed down below.


  • Breaking Down the Curriculum


Generally, the senior high school curriculum is composed of 31 subjects in total, 15 of which are part of the core subjects that every student is going to have to take no matter what the senior high strand they chose is. The exception to this is the DIsaster Readiness and Risk Reduction subject as well as the Earth Science Subject which are only for students that are taking the STEM senior high strand.

For the rest of the subjects, seven are contextualized or applied subjects which means that while these subjects are also taken by every student regardless of the senior high track they chose, the subjects are slightly modified to suit the individual specializations better.

Lastly, nine of the subjects are specialized which means that for the most part, these are taken exclusively by the students who have chosen that particular career track and senior high strand. The exception to this would be the subjects under the HUMSS strand which can be taken by students as electives even if they are taking other career tracks and learning strands.


  • Career Track Requirements


Before you choose your senior high strand or career track, the results of your pre-admission screening of the senior high school you intend to enroll at as well as your NCAE should both be favorable.

For instance, anybody can choose to enroll in the HUMMS, ABM, and General Academic strands along with the various strands under the TVL and TLE tracks regardless of the results of the NCAE. But in order to qualify for the STEM strand, a student needs to have a final grade of 85 percent in both Science and Mathematics as well as a percentile rank of 86 and above in the STEM subtest of the NCAE.

Should you choose to pursue the arts and design and sports tracks, you need to score a percentile rank of 51 and above in your corresponding NCAE subtests as well as pass the skills test that will be administered by the school that you wish to enroll in.


  • Tuition Fees


Similar to college, the tuition fees for senior high schools can vary depending on the school. The Department of Education offers vouchers which can be used by incoming senior high school students to enroll in their public or private senior high school of choice. The value of this voucher can range between PHP 8,750 to PHP 22,500 per year, depending on the area where their senior high school of choice is located and the type of junior high school that they graduated from.

However, it should be pointed out that even though the voucher can be used to enroll in both private and public senior high schools, you should do a little bit more research first in order to get an idea of how much you need to pay for before you send in your enrollment application. While the voucher is typically enough to cover a large portion of the tuition fee, and sometimes even more, in a public school, this can only cover a small portion of the tuition fee in a lot of private schools.

 What Are Senior High Strands

What Are the Senior High Strands?


  1. Academic Track


If you are one of those who have their minds set towards their college education, then this track might appeal to you. The Academic Track is divided into courses that are specific to each degree. This senior high school track aims to prepare students for more advanced university courses. The four senior high strands under this umbrella are as follows:


    • Accountancy, Business and Management Strand


Also known as ABM, this strand is for students who plan on taking up Business Administration, Marketing, Accountancy, or Economics in college. Typically, students who plan on taking a Hotel and Restaurant Management degree can also choose this strand.


    • Humanities and Social Sciences Strand


Otherwise known as HUMSS, this strand is for students who are planning to take up Writing (novelists in particular), Sociology, Community Studies, Law, and Political Science. Those who want to take up Priesthood also tend to choose this strand.


    • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Strand


More popularly known as STEM, this strand is the perfect choice if you are planning to study Applied and Pure Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering in college. Students that choose this strand also end up studying Chemistry, Calculus, Physics, and Biology. Fair warning, though, this strand is not for the faint-hearted.


    • General Academic Strand


This strand might be for you if you are not yet sure what course you want to take in college. This strand teaches you Humanities, Management and Disaster Readiness, Economics, and Social Science.


  1. Technical-vocational Livelihood Track


The TVL track calls out to students that are eligible since its subjects are more focused on job-ready skills. Aside from that, it also offers students practical knowledge along with the necessary certificates to help students land their dream job after they graduate from senior high school. The strands under the tech-voc track are as follows:


    • Home Economics Strand


This subject is probably the first that comes to mind when talking about the TVL track. Students who are interested in tailoring, food and beverage services, tourism, handicrafts, bread and pastry services, caregiving, and housekeeping should take this strand.

It should be noted, though, that this is not the correct strand for those who are planning to take Hotel and Restaurant Management in college. If you are planning on working immediately in the areas mentioned above after finishing senior high school, then this is the strand for you.


    • Information and Communication Technology Strand


The ICT strand is the perfect choice for you if you are interested in computers. Here, you will be taught how to create websites, publish mobile applications, and write computer programs. This strand typically includes Computer Animation and Medical Transcription.

Once you have completed this strand, you can usually proceed to take BSIT in college. If studying isn’t for you, you can also work immediately as an animator, a medical transcriptionist, or a computer programmer as long as your education is adequate enough.


    • Agri-fisheries Strand


This is the strand for students who are interested in aquaculture and agriculture. Other related subjects are also tackled in this strand such as Pest Management, Slaughtering, Fish Production, and Animal Production. Once you have graduated from this strand, you can expect to work on farms immediately or proceed to related courses in college.


    • Industrial Arts Strand


Lastly, this strand under the TVL track is probably the classical idea of what technical-vocational is. This strand includes Automotive Servicing, Electronics Repair, Welding (SMAW), Tile Setting, Plumbing, Electrical Installation, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, and Carpentry.

If you are thinking of taking up a program in TESDA for any of these, then this is the right strand for you. You can typically apply for a TESDA Certificate of Competency after you graduate from senior high school, or better yet, a National Certificate.


  1. Sports Track


This track is pretty much self-explanatory. If you are an athlete and your life is all about sports such as playing, coaching or officiating games, then this is the right track for you. This track is developed to equip senior high school students with physical fitness and sports-related safety knowledge. This track typically appeals to those who want to venture into the fitness, recreation, and athletics industries.

Once you graduate from senior high, you can already towards a sports-related job or even become a professional athlete. You can also pursue a higher education and major in Physical Education.


  1. Design and Arts Track


This track is for students with a penchant for the arts. Design and Arts aren’t limited to just drawing or painting, though, but also performing. Here, students will be able to enroll in subjects that are going to hone their skills in visual design and the performing arts.

Choose this track if you want to be a painter, dancer, sculptor, director, actor, singer, or any related job. Again, you have the choice of immediately going to work after graduating from this track in senior high or proceed to college and take up similar courses such as Theater, Cinema, or Fine Arts.

 How to Pick the Right Strand

How to Pick the Right Strand

 So how do you choose the right strand that is most suitable for your goals and your personality? Here are a few important indicators that might help you tell which track will bring you closer to your dream job:


  1. Establish your Personality


You should have a clear idea of your personality so that you can pick a senior high school track that matches your experience and taste. Because different personalities exist, each one has a corresponding career path that is compatible with them.


  1. Do the Necessary Research


The internet is full of up-to-date information about the new curriculum which can help you make the choice, from the right course content to the outline for each track.


  1. Know the Subjects in Each Course


Create a shortlist of some of the tracks or strands from the senior high school curriculum that interest you and dive deeper into the core of each one.


  1. Find out if Any Nearby Schools Offer your Chosen Track


Once you have your mind set towards a particular track, find out if there are any schools nearby that offer the program. Because schools in the Philippines have adopted the senior high school program since 2017, you should not have any difficulty in finding the perfect school for you.


Choose the Right Track with Enderun Colleges

Your choice of senior high strand and track is what directs you towards reaching your goals. Here at Enderun Colleges, we will ensure that you will be able to choose a program that is most useful to your interests as well as your skills, whether it be business management or the culinary arts.

In addition, you will be able to combine ample research and self-mastery here in our campus so that you can reach the most fruitful choice for your senior high school studies. Click here and let us help guide you to the right path towards your dream career!