PATTERN OF EDUC IN THE PHILIPPINES
FR: Pinas your gateway to information(pinas.dlsu.edu.ph/gov/education.html)
Philippine education is patterned after the American system, with English as the medium of
instruction. Schools are classified into public (government) or private (non-government). The
general pattern of formal education follows four stages: Pre-primary level (nursery and
kindergarten) offered in most private schools; six years of primary education, followed by four
years of secondary education.
College education usually takes four, sometimes five and in some cases as in medical and law
schools, as long as eight years. Graduate schooling is an additional two or more years. Classes in
Philippine schools start in June and end in March. Colleges and universities follow the semestral
calendar from June-October and November-March. There are a number of foreign schools with
study programs similar to those of the mother country.
The Philippine Educational System
The Philippine Educational System  | Hello.Lenin!
By KarloMongaya / January 6, 2012 / Historia, Política, Theoria / 6 Comments
Education is generally described as “the process of receiving or giving systematic
instruction.” It is a basic human right because it is considered one of the fundamental
guarantees that enable an individual to live his full potential as a human being.
Various international agreements entered into by the Philippines, including the 1948 Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, state that
the state has a responsibility to guarantee the people‟s right to education.
Our 1987 Constitution itself explicitly provides for government to “protect and promote the right
of all citizens to quality education at all levels” and “take appropriate steps to make such
education accessible to all.” The constitution also states that “the highest budgetary priority”
shall be assigned to education.
Reactionary or liberatory
Education is given a high value in the country because it is perceived by the masses as a stepping
stone out of poverty, it is imagined by the middle classes as a way to climb to a higher social
status, and is used by the ruling classes to reinforce their influence over the populace.
Education, more importantly, is of great importance for nation-building because it can mold the
consciousness of the youth and the people and direct them towards particular purposes.
Education, in this sense, can be either reactionary or liberatory.
It is reactionary if it functions to defend an exploitative and oppressive social order by
“prevent[ing] the people from gaining critical awareness, from „reading‟ critically their
reality.” Education can be liberating if it seeks the opposite and works for social
The Philippine educational system has been plagued by a severe and chronic crisis that leaves it
incapable of pushing for national progress. It has instead been molded “according to the interests
of those who have power” and has reinforced worsening social inequality.
Rather than being treated as an investment with a crucial role in nation-building, education has
become perpetually hostage to grave shortages, wrong priorities, and the demands of foreign
powers. Instead of being conferred to the people as a basic right, it has become a privilege for a
A colonial education
The sorry state of affairs of Philippine education can be traced back to the country‟s colonial
period when the educational system was designed to mold loyal colonial subjects who valued the
interests of their foreign masters above their own needs and aspirations.
This was clearly the case under 300 years of Spanish colonial rule when all the schools were
under the control and the direction of the Catholic Church. After all, “the most effective means
of subjugating a people is to capture their minds.”
The arrival of the Americans did little to change this. Having waged a genocidal war that
murdered over a million Filipinos in order to subdue the Filipino revolutionaries, the new
colonizers realized the need for establishing a public school system in order to make the new
Filipinos were forced to speak in the colonizers‟ tongue. They sang the “Star Spangled Banner.”
They were told that the colonizers came to liberate them and teach them democracy. They were
inculcated with the new rulers‟ consumerist values. They were transformed into “little brown
Schools like the University of the Philippines and the Philippine Normal University were
established to produce a new generation of Filipino clerks, businessmen, bureaucrats, teachers,
and other professionals who are trained in the ways of the colonizers and beholden to foreign
Ultimately, education was fashioned to suit the colonial project of making the country dependent
on the U.S. economically, politically, and culturally even after it was “granted” freedom.
Under a neocolonial state
The formal declaration of independence finally came on 1946, but the policies of the new
government would remain bound to U.S. designs through various unequal treaties and
agreements. Philippine education became and continues to be a testament of this new neocolonial
Fashioned to serve the aims of foreign powers and the demands of the international market, the
Philippine educational system became a regular testing ground for World Bank and International
Monetary Fund prescriptions and impositions.
This assumed a more brazen form under President Ferdinand Marcos who would subsequently
assume dictatorial powers. His regime would reconfigure the educational system to focus on
technical and vocational training “to provide the manpower required by foreign investors and
their local partners.”
The Marcos-era Education Act of 1982 allowed unregulated tuition increases while his regime‟s
New Elementary School Curriculum (NESC)of 1983 used World Bank funded textbooks.
Marcos revised foreign borrowing rules “for a more extensive funding of educational projects
from foreign and external sources.”
The removal of the dictatorship from power did not bode any change for the prevailing
orientation of Philippine education. The new president would promise the U.S. government to
pay the $26 billion debt accumulated under Marcos never mind that much of it went to the
dictator and his cronies‟ pockets.
Cory Aquino remained subservient to the dictates of foreign banks and powers, which would
attain larger roles in crafting the country‟s educational policies. Her regime‟s New Secondary
Education Curriculumof 1989, for instance, would simply serve as the high school version of
Philippines 2000 and beyond
The same pattern would continue under Fidel Ramos whose Education 2000 program would
direct the reduction of government funding for state universities and colleges (SUCs) in order to
make way for higher allocations for foreign debt servicing.
The short-lived Estrada regime would meanwhile form the Philippine Commission on
Educational Reform (PCER) which recommended that the “use of large allocations of the
government budget for public higher education is perceived to be inefficient and
Some of the proposals of the study, in the main, included the raising of tuition to “realistic
levels,” the use of SUCs‟ idle assets for commercial purposes, and intensified fund-raising from
the private sector.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo‟s Long Term Higher Education Development Plan
(LTHEDP) would put this direction to its logical conclusion by directing:
The decrease of SUCs by 20 percent,
Transforming 20 percent of SUCs into semi-corporatized entities,
Making 20 percent self-sufficient by selling intellectual products and grants,
Requiring 50 percent of SUCs to engage in active income generating projects,
Having 70 percent of SUCs charge tuition comparable to private universities, and
Involving 60 percent of SUCs into collaborations with big business.
In order to produce a “globally competitive” labor force, the Arroyo government also introduced
the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank-recommended “Millennium Curriculum”
which emphasized English, Math and Science at the expense of history, humanities and social
The same perverted logic would form the core of the education policies of the Aquino regime.
His Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016 would aim to “Harness private-sector resources in
the delivery and monitoring of, social marketing and advocacy for education, especially higher
The implementation of K to 12 would meanwhile take-off where the “Millennium Curriculum”
left by creating a new generation of cheap semi-skilled workers who are employable by
transnational corporations or qualified for labor exports immediately after high school
What has become clear after the end of every administration and the passing of each decade is
the way the educational system has been structured to benefit the profit-oriented political and
economic interests of foreign and local elites.
Under this setup, the “global competitive workforce” which the educational system seeks to mass
produce becomes another fancy name for cheap and docile labor, a youth that can be easily
disposed of in transnational corporations in the country or abroad.
Thus, Philippine education is directed towards whatever is the demand in the international
market: it was engineering in the 1960s, medicine in the 1970s, computer science and
information technology in the 1980s and 1990s, and nursing and caregiving courses in the first
decade of the 21st century.
What the government euphemistically terms “job-skills mismatch” is actually a result of its very
own labor export policy and the lack of national industries that can essentially provide job
opportunities at home. It is a symptom of an economy that has become overly dependent on
The predominance of the English language in the Philippines is closely linked to the country‟s
foreign-dominated economy. English, after all, is essential if one pursues a career in call centers
or goes abroad. The use of the foreign language is therefore strongly campaigned by the present
The fining of students speaking in the native tongue in order to promote English has become a
common practice in several schools. English is prescribed as the favored medium of instruction
even if using native languages is more effective than the use of a foreign one.
EDUCATIONAL PROFILE OF THE PHILIPPINES
Philippines - International Bureau of Education - Unesco