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Updated UK ENIC guidance for new post K-12 Philippine Bachelor degrees

Following reforms to the Philippine education system, UK ENIC advice for Bachelor degrees from the Philippines has been updated.

UK ENIC considers Bachelor degrees from the Philippines, awarded from 2022 onwards, comparable to a UK Bachelor degree. Information about what this comparability advice means can be found in this article. This comparability advice applies to degrees that require a Grade 12 Senior High School Diploma for entry. These degrees were first awarded in 2022.

UK ENIC guidance on ‘pre-reform’ Bachelor degrees, which required a Grade 10 High School Diploma for entry, is unchanged. These degrees are typically considered comparable to a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE) in the UK. These Grade 10 entry Bachelor degrees have now been discontinued.

More information on UK ENIC’s guidance for both types of degree can be found in the International Comparisons database [Log in required].

Educational reform and the introduction of K-12

The education system in the Philippines has undergone major reforms in recent years. In particular, the Enhanced Basic Education Act (also known as the ‘K-12 law’) made attendance of secondary school compulsory and extended the curriculum by two years. ‘K-12’ refers to the new curriculum from kindergarten through to grade 12. A major focus of the K-12 reforms in the Philippines was the implementation of competency-based standards and outcomes-based education.

This change has had a knock-on effect for other parts of the education system, including higher education. Undergraduate programmes in the Philippines have traditionally contained a set number of General Education (GE) courses, which are studied over all four years. Following the K-12 reforms, many of these courses have been incorporated into the national curriculum for grades 11 and 12. This has prompted a redevelopment of Bachelor degree course content and learning outcomes, which are laid out in regulations published by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

The first cohort of K-12 graduates entered university in 2018 and will graduate from 2022.

UK ENIC review process

For the post K-12 Bachelor degrees in the Philippines, UK ENIC considered the new entry requirements, the updated curricula and learning outcomes, and their alignment to the Philippines Qualifications Framework (PQF). We also reviewed the quality assurance processes in-country. Our research involved looking at national guidelines for Bachelor degrees, as well as a sample of “post-reform” Bachelor degree awards in a variety of common subjects.

Reviewing comparability advice involves identifying an overseas qualification in the context of its home education system and comparing it with corresponding qualifications in the UK. We assess qualifications based on a set of criteria, including:
• entrance requirements
• duration / volume of study
• course structure and content
• learning outcomes
• purpose of the qualification and its position in the education system of the country.

Bachelor degrees in the Philippines are a minimum of four years in duration and contain a varying number of credits. All degrees now contain 63 units of General Education (GE) courses, including national service training and physical education, which are mostly studied in the first two years of the programme. All Bachelor degrees include an element of independent research, which may involve a thesis and / or research-based modules; many also contain an internship or an element of on-the-job training. Bachelor degrees in the Philippines are aligned to level 6 on the Philippines Qualification Framework (PQF), the learning outcome descriptors of which compare favourably with FHEQ level 6 descriptors in the UK.

Suitability for academic progression in the UK

The new UK ENIC guidance reflects increased confidence in the suitability of recent and future graduates from Philippine universities for admission to postgraduate study in the UK. As a result, UK universities may wish to consider graduates from post K-12 Bachelor degree programmes in the Philippines for direct admission onto their Master’s degree programmes.

Following this update, UK ENIC plans to review other higher education awards in the country, including Master’s and Doctoral degrees, in due course.

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