Amid basic problems such as lack of classrooms, flooded campuses and inadequate teaching materials, the Department of Education (DepEd) is going full steam ahead with a new school system, K+12, starting this school year.
The program extends the number of school years from 10 to 12 which, education officials say, puts the Philippines in the same league as most countries in the world which already have a 12-year primary and secondary school cycle.
Only 2 countries, Angola and Djibouti, both in Africa, still have a 10-year cycle.
But is the Philippines ready for it?
Many citizens have complained that the country would be better off first solving basic problems like classroom and teacher shortages, rather than jumping unprepared into a 12-year school system.
But the DepEd counters that the Philippines needs to implement this now, at least partially, from Grades 1 to 7.
In the new school system, the former first year high school will now be grade 7, and high school will become a five-year program with the addition of grades 11 and 12.
The first batch of grade 7 students this year will be the first batch of grade 11 students in 2016 and will graduate in 2018, thus completing the full transition to the 12-year system.
Aside from K+12, another new education strategy being implemented this year aims to upgrade Filipinos' English proficiency.
The DepEd is implementing the "mother-tongue" system, wherein classes up to grade three will be taught in their mother-tongue or the language in the province, starting with grade 1 students this year.
The DepEd maintains the country needs these changes so it can catch up with its more advanced Asian neighbors.
Ready or not, the 21 million public school students who are the supposed beneficiaries of this new system, faced all the challenges right on the first day of school, June 4.