DepEd's K to 12 Ensures Employment for Its Graduates?

"The K to 12 basic education curriculum will be sufficient to prepare students for work." This is one of the promises of the Philippine DepEd K to 12 curriculum. With assumed school-industry partnerships, the techvoc tracks of the senior high school are expected "to allow students gain work experience while studying and offer the opportunity to be absorbed by the companies". Focusing on a school-work transition in high school may indeed yield employment benefits in the short-term, but sacrificing general education may also lead to a very early specialization that can easily hinder adaptability and therefore decrease employment in later life. With a rapidly changing job market, skills specific to a given occupation can become obsolete. Thus, vocational education in high school may be beneficial right away, but disadvantageous in the long term.

Determining the effects of either a vocational or general education on employment is not straightforward since tracking in high school is often selective. Students placed in a vocational track often have lower academic scores than students placed in a general education track or college-readiness path. With this bias, it is easy to see why students with vocational education often have lower employment rates than students on an academic track. Thus, it is important to remove this bias before drawing conclusions from employment data based on the type of high school education an individual has completed. Hanushek and coworkers have recently done such an analysis in a paper published in the Journal of Human Resources. And from international data, it is clear that even without selection bias, vocational students have difficulty staying employed.

General Education, Vocational Education, and Labor-Market Outcomes over the Lifecycle*

  1. Lei Zhang
  1. Eric Hanushek is the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, Stanford, California. Guido Schwerdt is a professor of economics at the University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany. Ludger Woessmann is a professor of economics at the University of Munich, Munich, Germany, and Director of the Center for the Economics of Education at the Ifo Institute. Lei Zhang is an associate professor of economics at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China.


Policy proposals promoting vocational education focus on the school-to-work transition. But with technological change, gains in youth employment may be offset by less adaptability and diminished employment later in life. To test for this tradeoff, we employ a difference-in-differences approach that compares employment rates across different ages for people with general and vocational education. Using microdata for 11 countries from IALS, we find strong and robust support for such a tradeoff, especially in countries emphasizing apprenticeship programs. German Microcensus data and Austrian administrative data confirm the results for within-occupational-group analysis and for exogenous variation from plant closures, respectively.

Skills do become obsolete in a changing job marketplace. Using data from countries where there are clear "apprenticehip" programs, vocational students demonstrate much higher employment rates than students that have gone through general education. However, this turns around in later life.

Above copied from
Hanushek, Eric A.; Woessmann, Ludger; Zhang, Lei (2011) : General education, vocational education, and labor-market outcomes over the life-cycle, CESifo working paper: Economics of Education, No. 3614

The list of Technical-Vocational-Livelihood Tracks of DepEd's K to 12 is enormous. In Home Economics alone, there are at least five specializations to choose from:

SpecializationNumber of HoursPre-requisite
Attractions and Theme Parks (NC II)160 hours
Barbering (NC II)320 hours
Bartending (NC II)320 hours
Beauty/Nail Care (NC II)160 hours
Bread and Pastry Production (NC II)160 hours
Caregiving (NC II)640 hours
Commercial Cooking (NC III)320 hoursCookery (NC II)
Cookery (NC II)320 hours
Dressmaking (NC II)320 hours
Events Management Services (NC III)320 hours
Fashion Design (Apparel) (NC III)640 hoursDressmaking (NC II) or Tailoring (NC II)
Food and Beverage Services (NC II)
updated based on the TESDA Training Regulations published December 28, 2013
160 hours
Front Office Services (NC II)160 hours
Hairdressing (NC II)320 hours
Hairdressing (NC III)640 hoursHairdressing (NC II)
Handicraft (Basketry, Macrame) (Non-NC)160 hours
Handicraft (Fashion Accessories, Paper Craft) (Non-NC)160 hours
Handicraft (Needlecraft) (Non-NC)160 hours
Handicraft (Woodcraft, Leathercraft) (Non-NC)160 hours
Housekeeping (NC II)
updated based on the TESDA Training Regulations published December 28, 2013
160 hours
Local Guiding Services (NC II)160 hours
Tailoring (NC II)320 hours
Tourism Promotion Services (NC II)160 hours
Travel Services (NC II)160 hours
Wellness Massage (NC II)160 hours

Of course, DepEd maybe hoping that some of these jobs will never become obsolete:

Above copied from Philippine Online Chronicles