Massive societal changes over the past twenty years (Drucker,1994; Reigeluth,1994) have altered society’s educational needs and in turn are driving schools to redesign their curricula. Within the educational field, schools have been challenged to shift from the traditional paradigm of teacher-directed learning and dissemination of knowledge to learner-centered curricula that can promote the development of life-long learners who can think critically, solve problems and work collaboratively. These are the skills youths need to survive in the future (Drucker,1994; Reigeluth,1994; Banathy,1992). In order to realize these goals, secondary education schools need to adopt a new paradigm that embeds learning within real world contexts and that involves students in hands-on activities that promote meaningful problem solving and cognitive apprenticeship (Jonassen,1991). The Philippines, classified as a developing country and grouped in the East Asian region, needs to establish a system of mass secondary education: (a) that responsive to the country’s socio economic needs and capabilities; ( b) that can respond effectively to increased and diversified demand by expanding access to secondary education; and (c) that can help students to graduate with knowledge, skills, attitudes and experience needed to exercise their choices beyond secondary education. Hence, secondary education is considered the bridge between primary or basic education, the labor market and tertiary education.
Patterns of Secondary Education in the East Asian Region
From year 1945 onwards, primary and secondary education were given significant investments that advanced economies of Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan adopted to increase the length , access and improve the quality of basic education that included lower secondary schooling or junior secondary school (Mundle,1998). From Table 1 (p.21), the duration and age of entry as per data from the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education...
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