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A Phenomenological Inquiry of Experiences of Pioneer Senior High School Graduates under General Academic Strand: Influence on Career Decision Making

Mary Ann B. Gatpandan, Felinda E. Cruz, Edwin G. de Taza,


As Philippines fully implemented one of the biggest changes in its educational system, the impact of the new K to 12 curriculum to pioneer senior high school (SHS) graduates in their selection of career after completing the basic education is described. Thus, this paper presents the experiences of General Academic Strand (GAS) graduates in different subjects which they find significant and influential in their development and career choice to come up with recommendations on how to improve teachers’ subject instruction and the implementation of the school GAS program itself. The main sources of data are from the survey, interviews participated in by pioneer graduates and documentary analysis of their individual portfolio. All fifty-seven graduates were asked to rate the level of influence of thirty-one subjects in their personal and skills development and eventually to their career choice. Seven interviewed co-researchers who shared their individual experiences were purposefully selected based on the ratio of the outcome of the survey about their plan as they exit SHS: four will pursue college, one will enter the military, one is planning to look for a job and one is undecided on the day the interview was conducted. Clark Muostaka’s phenomenological treatment of qualitative data is used to analyze and interpret the individual transcript of interviews. Findings from the study show individual textural description of experiences: “A More Responsible and Compassionate Research Leader”, “Built Character through Various Social Sciences Disciplines”, “Fascinated by Technology, From Carefree to a Disciplined Man”, Mystified by Philosophy”, “Enlightened by World Religions” and “The Accidental Writer”. Though reduction, eidetic insights to serve as the essence of the experiences include “Self-discovery and Awareness”, “Guided by Educators” and “Learners’ Transformation”.

Philippines through the Department of Education
(DepEd) implemented a new curriculum which started
during the school year 2012-2013. This is a major reform
in basic education. From Basic Education Curriculum,
the country shifted the educational system to K to 12
Curriculum as mandated by the Republic Act 10533
otherwise known as Enhanced Basic Education Act of
2013. One of the changes introduced in the said
curriculum is the extension of years spent in school. From
ten years of basic education, it has been modified to
twelve years. There are additional two years for Senior
High School (SHS).
While other Academic SHS strands focus on
specific college courses and career of students, General
Academic Strand (GAS) on the other hand is offered to
SHS students who are undecided on what course to
pursue in college. The aim of GAS is to help students
realize their potentials and skills to decide for the future.
According to Commission on Higher Education (CHED)
Memorandum Order Number 105 series of 2017 or the
Policy on the Admission of SHS Graduates to the
Higher Education Institutions (HEI) Effective Academic
Year 2018-2019, all grade 12 graduates are eligible to
enter college regardless of the track or strand taken
in the SHS as long as they passed the admission
requirements of the admitting HEI.
GAS curriculum has a total of thirty-one subjects.
The SHS students are required to take up to 15 core
subjects with eight learning areas: Language, Humanities,
Communication, Mathematics, Science, Philosophy,
Social Science and Physical Education, 7 applied
subjects in which the context depends on the track and
9 specialized subjects. Under specialized subjects offers
two electives depending on what the school can offer and
students’ interest.
Two years of SHS offers students new learning
experiences to assess themselves, their interest and skills
to help them make up their mind on what career to pursue
after SHS. It is not easy to mature and make decisions
about the future. Wilcox (2017) said that it requires all
to control emotions and physical being.. Guiding students
with their decisions is a very crucial responsibility of the
The main objective of this study was to identify
and highlight the subjects or activities for two school
years which greatly influenced the pioneer graduates’
decision on what path to take after exiting SHS and
uncover the picture of the experiences of the first batch
of senior high school graduates of Gen. E. Aguinaldo
National High School-Bailen under GAS. This paper
describes how subjects’ experiences influenced the
graduates’ identity development and career decisionmaking
and recommend ways to improve teachers’
instruction related to GAS curriculum as well as school’s
GAS program.

Key words: Senior High School, General Academic Strand, K to 12 curriculum, career choice
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