Allo' Expat Philippines - Connecting Expats in Philippines
Main Homepage
Allo' Expat Philippines Logo


Subscribe to Allo' Expat Newsletter


Check our Rates

Education in Philippines
 
 
 

General

The National Statistics Office reports a simple literacy rate of 93.4% and a functional literacy rate of 84.1% for 2003. Literacy is about equal for males and females. Spending for education is around 2.5% of GDP. According to the Department of Education (DepEd), there were 42,152 elementary schools and 8,455 high schools registered for the school year 2006-2007 while the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) lists 2,060 higher education institutions, 537 of which are public and 1,523 private. Classes start in June and end in March. The majority of colleges and universities follow a semester calendar from June to October and November to March. There are a number of foreign schools with study programs. Republic Act No. 9155 gives the framework of basic education in the Philippines and provides for compulsory elementary education and free high school education.

Several government agencies are involved with education. The Department of Education covers elementary, secondary, and non-formal education; the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) administers the post-secondary middle-level education training and development; and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) supervises the college and graduate academic programs and degrees as well as regulates standards in higher education.

Primary Education

Primary school is also called Elementary school (Mababang Paaralan). It consists of six levels, with some schools adding an additional level (level 7). The levels are grouped into two primary subdivisions, Primary-level, which includes the first three levels, and Intermediate-level, which includes the last three or four levels.
Primary education in the Philippines covers a wide curriculum. The core subjects (major subjects) include Mathematics, Sciences, the English and Filipino languages, and Makabayan (Social Studies, Livelihood Education, Values). Other subjects include Music, Arts, and Physical Education. Starting at the third level, Science becomes an integral part of the core subjects. On December 2007, Philippine president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced that Spanish is to make a return as a mandatory subject in all Filipino schools starting in 2008. That announcement has not yet come into effect. In private schools, subjects include Mathematics, English, Science, Social Studies, Basic Computer, Filipino, Music, Arts and Technology, Home Economics, Health, Physical Education, and in Catholic schools, Religion or Christian Living. International schools and Chinese schools have additional subjects, especially in their language and culture.

The Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) Bilingual Policy is for the medium of instruction to be Filipino for: Filipino, Araling Panlipunan, Edukasyong Pangkatawan, Kalusugan at Musika; and English for: English, Science and Technology, Home Economics and Livelihood Education. Article XIV, Section 7 of the 1987 Philippine constitution mandates that regional languages are the auxiliary official languages in the regions and shall serve as auxiliary media of instruction therein. As a result, the language actually used in teaching is often a polyglot of Filipino and English with the regional language as the foundation, or rarely the local language. Filipino is based on Tagalog, so in Tagalog areas (including Manila), Filipino is the foundational language used. Philippine regional languages are also used outside Manila in the teaching of Makabayan. International English language schools use English as the foundational language. Chinese schools add two language subjects, such as Min Nan Chinese and Mandarin Chinese and may use English or Chinese as the foundational language. The constitution mandates that Spanish and Arabic shall be promoted on a voluntary and optional basis. Following on this, a few private schools mainly catering to the elite include Spanish in their curriculum. Arabic is taught in Islamic schools. Primary-level students generally graduate with a knowledge of two or three languages, although most primary school graduates in Manila cannot speak English.

Until 2004, primary students traditionally sat for the National Elementary Achievement Test (NEAT) administered by the DECS. It was intended as a measure of a school's competence, and not as a predictor of student aptitude or success in Secondary school. Hence, the scores obtained by students in the NEAT were not used as a basis for their admission into Secondary school. During 2004, when DECS was officially converted into the DepEd, and also, as a result of some reorganisation, the NEAT was changed to National Achievement Test (NAT) by the DepEd. Both the public and private elementary schools take this exam to measure a school's competency. As of 2006, only private schools have entrance examinations for Secondary school.

DepEd expects over 13.1 million elementary students in public elementary schools for school year 2009-2010.


See more information on the next page... (next)