Education during the
Spanish Regime and
Its Colonial Effects to
During the Spanish Colonial Period
of the Philippines (1565-1898) most
of the archipelago underwent a deep
cultural, religious transformation
from various native Asian cultures
and traditions with Islamic or animist
religious practices, to a unique
hybrid of Southeast Asia and
Western culture including the
Spanish education played a major role
in that transformation. The oldest
schools and the first modern public
education system in Asia were created
during the colonial period.
Education was still in the early stage of
development during the Spanish
period. Even by the late 19th
century, the Spanish language was still
unknown to a great majority. They were
literate in their own native dialects.
The Spanish aristocracy tried to
distinguish themselves from the indios
with the use of language and level
During the early years of Spanish
colonization, education was mostly religionoriented and controlled by the Roman
Catholic Church. Spanish friars and
missionaries educated the natives through
religion with the aim of converting
indigenous populations to the Catholic faith.
System of Writing during the Spanish Regime
was Latin Alphabet.
The Augustinians opened a school
immediately upon arriving in Cebú in
The Franciscans arrived in 1577, and
they, too, immediately taught the people how
to read and write, besides imparting to them
The Jesuits who arrived in 1581 also
concentrated on teaching the young. When
the Dominicans arrived in 1587, they did the
The friars were effective in evangelizing the
Catholic religion to the Filipinos. One major
failure of the educational system of the religious
congregations was the withholding of the
Filipinos to learn other bodies of knowledge.
Education during the Spanish regime was
privileged only to Spanish students. Several
educated Filipinos referred to as
ilustrados began movements
directed towards change in the
system of government in the
The Chinese language version of the Doctrina
Christiana (Christian Doctrine) was the first
book printed in the Philippines in about 1590 to
In 1610 Tomas Pinpin a Filipino
printer, writer and publisher, who is
sometimes referred as the "Patriarch of
famous Librong Pagaaralan nang
Castilla, that was meant to help
Filipinos learn the Spanish language.
The prologue read:
“Let us therefore study, my country men, for
although the art of learning is somewhat
difficult, yet if we are persevering, we shall
soon improve our knowledge.
Other Tagalogs like us did not take a year to
learn the Spanish language when using my
book. This good result has given me
satisfaction and encouraged me to print my
work, so that all may derive some profit from
Colegio de Santa Potenciana was the first
school and college for girls that opened in
the Philippines, in 1589. It was followed by
another school for women, Colegio de Santa
Isabel, that opened in 1632.
Other Schools and Colleges for girls
were Santa Catalina, Santa Rosa, La
congregations also established schools for
orphaned girls who could not educate
In 1590, the Universidad de San Ignacio was
founded in Manila by the Jesuits, initially as
the Colegio-Seminario de San Ignacio.
The Universidad de San Carlos was
founded in Cebú by the Jesuits on
August 1, 1595, initially named as
the Colegio de San Ildefonso.
It closed down in 1769 as a result of the
expulsion of the Jesuits from the
Philippines and didn't open again until
On April 28, 1611, the Universidad de Santo
Tomás was founded in Manila, initially named
as the Colegio de Nuestra Señora del
Santísimo Rosario and later renamed
as Colegio de Santo Tomas.
Benavides, the third archbishop of
Manila established the Colegio de
Nuestra Senora del Santissimo
Rosario, later renamed Universidad
de Santo Tomas (in 1645 by Pope
Innocent X). Universidad de Santo
Archbishop Fray Miguel de
Pope Innocent X
San Carlos and Santo Tomás
maintain a friendly rivalry over the
claim to be the oldest university in
Asia. The University of San
Carlos makes the claim of tracing
its roots to the Colegio de San
Ildefonso founded by the Spanish
Jesuits fathers Antonio Sedeno,
Pedro Chirino and Antonio Pereira
The Jesuits also founded the Colegio de San
José (1601) and took over the management of a
school that became the Escuela Municipal
(1859, later renamed Ateneo Municipal de Manila
in 1865, now the Ateneo de Manila University).
The Dominicans on their part had the Colegio de
San Juan de Letrán(1620) in Manila. All of them
provided courses leading to different prestigious
degrees, like the Bachiller en Artes, that by the 19th
century included science subjects such as
physics, chemistry, natural history and mathematics.
In 1621, College of San Ignacio was elevated to
the rank of a university by Pope Gregory XV and
was named University of san Ignacio.
However, this school was closed in 1768 when
the Jesuits were expelled from the country.
Pope Gregory XV
established the Real Monasterio de
Santa Clara (now St. Claire Convent
of Manila), the first nunnery in the
Philippines in 1621.
San Juan de Letran for the
orphaned boy established in 1630.
The girls were also given special education.
Schools were of two kinds:
•COLEGIO - a regular school for girls
•BEATERIO – a combined school and nunnery.
The first college for girls in the Philippines was the
College of Santa Potenciana (1594). After the
school ceased its operations, the students
transferred to College of Santa Isabel, now the
oldest existing college for girls in the country. The
institution was originally built to care for orphaned
Spanish girls. Eventually, it became an exclusive
school for the daughters of affluent Spaniards.
In 1640, the Universidad de San Felipe de
Austria was established in Manila. It was the
first public university created by the Spanish
government in the Philippines. It closed down
During the 18th century, the Faculty of
Jurisprudence and Canonical Law was
In 1871, several schools of medicine and
pharmacy were opened.
A Nautical School was created on January
1, 1820 which offered a four-year course of
study (for the profession of pilot of merchant
marine) that included subjects such as
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry,
physics, hydrography, meteorology, navigati
on and pilotage. A School of Commercial
Accounting and a School of French and
English Languages were established in
The Don Honorio Ventura College of
in Bacolor, Pampanga is said to be the
oldest official vocational school in Asia.
Augustinian Friar Juan Zita and civic
leader Don Felino Gil established the
vocational school on November 4, 1861.
The Manila School of Agriculture was
created in 1887, although it was unable
to open its doors until July 1889.
stations, run by professors who were
agricultural engineers, were also established
in Isabela, Ilocos, Albay, Cebú, Iloílo, Leyte an
d parts of Mindanao.
The Real SociedadEconómica de los Amigos
del País de Filipinas (Royal Economic Society
of Friends of the Philippines) was first
introduced in the islands in 1780, and offered
Filipinos, professorships and financed trips of
scientists from Spain to the Philippines.
The Observatorio Meteorológico del
Ateneo Municipal de Manila (Manila
Observatory) was founded in 1865 by
the Jesuits after an article they
published in the newspaper Diario de
Manila, describing typhoon observations
made on September 1865, attracted the
attention of many readers who publicly
requested for the observations to be
Modern public school education was introduced
in Spain only in 1857.
Free access to modern public education by all
Filipinos was made possible through the
enactment of the Education Decree of
December 20, 1863 by Queen Isabella II.
The Education Decree of 1863 provided for the
establishment of at least two free primary
schools, one for boys and another for girls, in
each town under the responsibility of the
municipal government. It also commended the
creation of a free public normal school to train
men as teachers, supervised by the Jesuits.
One of these schools was the Escuela
Normal Elemental, which, in 1896 became
the Escuela Normal Superior de Maestros de
Schoolmistresses). The Spanish government
established a school for midwives in
1879, andEscuela Normal Superior de
Maestras (Superior Normal School) for
female teachers in 1892.
1. The first educational
system for students in the
country was established by
virtue of the Education
Decree of 1863.
2. The decree required the
government to provide
school institutions for boys
and girls in every town.
3. Spanish schools started
4. The Normal School was
5. The friars controlled
the educational system
during the Spanish
6. The missionaries took
teaching, controlling and
maintaining the rules and
regulations imposed to the
7. The schools before were
exclusive for the Spaniards.
The Filipinos were only able
The effect of education to
the Filipinos was only compelled
to the friars' influences from
their lessons based on the
One major failure of the
educational system of the
religious congregations was the
withholding of the Filipinos to
during the Spanish regime was
privileged only to Spanish
Philippine education was only a
means to remain colonizers.
Meanwhile, several educated
ilustrados may considered one
of the major effects of
-education was “religion centered”
-education for the elite only
-Spanish is compulsory
-boys and girls school are separated
-inadequate, suppressed and controlled
THANK YOU FOR LISTENING !
FRANCESS ANGELU VILLASANTA
RIZZA MAE YUSON
MA. ANDREA INGENTE