29 November 2022

Philippines: The world’s awakening. Mankind is beginning to understand that the future starts with education

Currently, various countries all over the globe - following the global educational trend that emphasizes 21st-century competencies - have undertaken reforms to their curricula. These changes are the result of moving away from thinking that "hard knowledge" (such as the ability to do mathematical calculations or knowledge of chemistry) itself is enough for a student to function satisfactorily and respectfully with others in society. According to current reform in the Philippines, learners must acquire wider socio-emotional skills such as the "fours Cs": Critical thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity.

Author: Marcin Sakowicz,


The education objective

In May 2022 first-ever long-term plan for primary education in the Philippines, named Basic Education Development Plan 2030 (BEDP 2030), was adopted1. This plan serves to improve the delivery and quality of primary education and learners’ experience in the school environment. The ultimate goal to achieve is a situation where “all Filipinos are able to realize their full potential and contribute meaningfully to a cohesive nation.” For this reason, the country has developed its approach to education for the future. Filipino learners are envisioned to be holistically educated, acquiring 21stcentury skills that will enable them to manage themselves, build connections, inquire, innovate, and serve society. These competencies are fully compatible with the list of What School Ought to Teach, prepared by Holistic Think Tank.

Four domains

The 21st century skills are the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and competencies that learners need to develop to be well-prepared for successful work and life in the current century. The attainment of these skills will assist learners in thriving in a complex and uncertain world. The 21st-century skills in the K-12 conceptual framework consisting of four domains:

  • Information, media, and technology skills
  • Learning and innovation skills
  • Communication skills
  • Life and career skills

Table: Domains of The 21st Century Skills in education framework of Philippines

21st Century Skills
Information, Media and Technology Skills Learning and Innovation Skills Communication Skills Life and Career Skills
  • Visual literacy
  • Information literacy
  • Media literacy
  • Technology literacy
  • Digital literacy
  • Creativity
  • Openness
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Reflective thinking
  • Teamwork
  • Collaboration
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Intrapersonal skills
  • Interactive communication
  • Non-verbal communication
  • Communicating in diverse environments
  • Informed decision-making
  • Adaptive leadership
  • Intercultural understanding
  • Self-discipline
  • Future orientation
  • Resilience and adversity

Source: Basic Education Development Plan 2030, Department of Education, Republic of the Philippines https://www.deped.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/DO_s2022_024.pdf

21st century skills

Each of the four domains contains skills, competencies, values, and attributes that learners are expected to develop, as shown in the table. The Information, Media, and Technology Skills domain refers to the ability to effectively, efficiently, and responsibly gather, manage, use, synthesize, evaluate, and create information through media and technology. The Learning and Innovation Skills domain is a set of competencies, including the ability to think critically, reflectively, and creatively; analyze and solve problems; create and implement innovations using various techniques or methods. The Communication Skills domain, in turn, covers the wide range of communication skills in all forms and contexts, including, but not limited to, verbal and non-verbal communication, active listening, collaboration, as well as the ability to express feelings and provide feedback. And finally, the Life and Career Skills domain prepares learners to make informed life and career decisions and enables them to become citizens that engage in a dynamic global community and to successfully adapt to meet the challenges and opportunities in the labor market.

Education for future generations starts today

Together, the 21st-century skills, foundational skills, and discipline-specific competencies are expected to prepare Filipinos to succeed in the future.

It should be noted, however, that while the assumptions are ambitious, their implementation – which involves the introduction of a new, holistic and interdisciplinary curriculum – raises the demand for more qualified teachers. In the past, the requirement for educators to embed critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity skills within all curriculum subjects has been instituted without sufficient professional development. As for the new strategic plan, the capacity building of teachers and learning facilitators is a top priority. HTT could also support such efforts since we work on Handbook to teach IDS (Interdisciplinary Subject) worldwide.

For the world to function better in the future, we must work very hard today.

1 https://www.deped.gov.ph/2022/06/02/deped-to-launch-basic-education-development-plan-2030-asstrategic-roadmap-for-basic-education/