What is the Difference Between Junior and Senior High School?

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What is the Difference Between Junior and Senior High School?

The Philippines recently underwent a major change in the educational structure. Previously, students went from six years of grade school, and then finally headed to four years of high school. This led to a total of 10 years of education, which was far less than the global standard.

The newly reformed education system added two more years to the students’ total learning journey, hence the term K (for kindergarten) to 12 (for a new total of 12 years). These 12 years are divided as follows: 6 years in elementary school, 4 years in junior high school, and 2 years in senior high school.

Now the question most parents and students alike have is: what are the differences between junior high school and senior high school?

1. Subjects

The subjects discussed in junior high school and senior high school are extremely different. In junior high school, subjects are divided into two: general subjects and vocational subjects. General subjects include Mathematics, Science, Filipino, English, and so on and are continuation of lessons from the previous years. Vocational subjects, as the name implies, teach the students life-skills that students can use both inside and outside of the classroom. These include subjects such as Computer and Home Economics for Grades 7 – 9, and an elective of their choice for Grade 10 which is set to be a precursor for the track they are going to choose in senior high school.


Senior high school, on the other hand, teach students core subjects, specialized subjects, and applied subjects. Core subjects are subjects that are taught to all students such as General Mathematics, Personality Development, English, etc. Specialized subjects are subjects that are dependent on the strand you choose. Some of the subjects you may encounter include Pre-Calculus or Business Ethics (more on this later). Applied Subjects refer to subjects such as Research in Daily Life and Applied Economics.

2. Work Load

As can be expected, the work load students experience in senior high school is heavier and greater than that experienced by those in junior high school. The texts assigned, home work given, and papers written are more than those done in junior high school and is a preparation for what’s to come in college. Junior high school students typically read select pages from a chapter while senior high school students read two to three chapters a day per subject.

3. Specialization

As mentioned earlier, senior high school students each have to choose a specific strand before they begin. This is to make their schooling more specified and to help them narrow down their choices for college, or to assist them in finding a job should they choose to forego college and work straight out of senior high school. As such, the subjects for students are tailored to their specific strands. Curricula veer away from more generalized subjects experienced by all students and instead, are more targeted to the student’s strengths and interests.


Junior high school and senior high school, although both relatively new to the Philippine setting, are vastly different from each other. Junior high school is more generalized, with students more or less studying the same subject matter, while senior high school is more individualized. Students should also expect to have more work and projects assigned to them in senior high school as a preparation for their life in college. While it isn’t easy, these are done to help set the path for success for each student and lay the foundation for a bright future ahead.

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