Education in the Philippines

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In 2012:

  • Students enrolled in pre-primary education: 2,274,090
  • Students enrolled in primary education: 13,440,982
  • Students enrolled in secondary education: 8,335,697
  • Students enrolled in tertiary education: 9,671,462

In 2009:

  • Net enrollment rate in pre-primary education: 38.7%
  • Net enrollment rate in primary education: 88.2%
  • Net enrollment rate in secondary education: 61.4%
  • Gross enrollment rate in tertiary education: 28.2%
  • The government spend 2.7% of GDP on education (13.2% of total government expenditure)
Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics

The Philippines, located in the lower Pacific Rim, has a decentralized public education system. According to the Education Act of 1982, the education system aims to:

  • provide for a broad general education that will assist each individual in society to attain his/her potential as a human being, and enhance the range and quality of the individual and the group;
  • help the individual participate in the basic functions of society and acquire the essential educational foundation for his/her development into a productive and versatile citizen;
  • train the nation’s manpower in the middle-level skills required for national development;
  • develop the high-level professions that will provide leadership for the nation, advance knowledge through research, and apply new knowledge for improving the quality of human life; and
  • respond effectively to changing needs and conditions through a system of educational planning and evaluation.

Department of Education

At the national level, the Filipino Department of Education works to improve strategies and overall educational quality. The current Secretary of Education is Armin Luistro. The principles of the current administration on education are guided by the 10 Point Basic Education Agenda:

  1. A 12-year basic education cycle
  2. Universal Pre-schooling for all
  3. Establish the Madaris Education as a sub-system in the current education system
  4. Re-introduce technical and vocational education in public high schools
  5. Every child a reader by Grade 1
  6. Improve science and mathematics
  7. Expand government assistance to private education
  8. Use of mother-language instruction
  9. Better textbooks
  10. Build more schools in cooperation with local government units (LGUs)

The Department is organized into two main components. The Central Office maintains the administration of basic education at the national level, while Field Offices are tasked with coordinating regional and local administration of the Department’s mandate. Six additional centers/units supplement the work of the Department. These are the National Education Testing Research Center (NETRC), Health and Nutrition Center (HNC), National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP), Educational Development Projects Implementing Task Force (EDPITAF), National Teaching Instrumentation Center (NSTIC), and Instructional Materials Council Secretariat (IMCS).

Levels of Instruction

At the pre-primary level, optional preschool education is provided for children aged 3-5. Kindergarten is provided for 5 year olds but is not compulsory. In 2009, the gross enrollment ratio for the pre-primary level was 51%.

Elementary education is free and compulsory for students aged 6-11 and is part of basic education. It is divided into two levels: primary and intermediate. The primary level comprises grades 1-4 while the intermediate level includes grades 5 and 6. Secondary education lasts four years and is tuition free in public schools. It is also part of basic education but is expanded to include general education and vocation and technical education.

The Department of Education plans to introduce an enhanced K-12 education program that will consist of one year of kindergarten, six years of elementary education, four years of junior high school, and two years of senior high school. The two years of senior high school are intended to provide time for students to consolidate acquired academic skills and competencies. The curriculum will allow specializations in science and technology, music and arts, agriculture and fisheries, sports and business and entrepreneurship. The Department aims to put in place the infrastructure needed to provide senior high school education by 2017.

The Commission on Higher Education is responsible for various aspects of postsecondary education; it formulates and implements policies, plans and programs for the development and efficient operation of the higher education system. Higher education is available through private and public higher education institutions. Public higher education institutions are established by law, and are administered and financially subsidized by the government. Higher education can include a two-year post-secondary program that trains students for a career in technology or vocation. Other students may choose to study for a professional career at a four-year university or state college in order to obtain a baccalaureate degree. Master’s degree programs last two to three years, and Doctoral degree programs last a minimum of two to three years beyond a Master’s degree.

Teacher Profession

Anyone who chooses a teaching career must hold a degree in teacher education. Teachers in public and private elementary schools must have at least a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. High school teachers are expected to have a bachelor’s degree in secondary education with specialization in high school subjects. Teaching in colleges requires at least a master’s degree in a particular area of specialization and a doctorate is required of those who teach courses in graduate programs.

The following qualifications for day care staff are prescribed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development: being female; between 18 and 45 years of age; high school graduate; physically healthy; willing to accept training and technical supervision; must render full-time service for a minimum of two years. Quality of preschool teachers remains a challenge. While privately owned preschool institutions are hiring relatively good teachers because they can afford to pay them more, public preschools are usually staffed with undergraduate teachers since the remuneration is very low.

The National Competency-Based Teacher Standards (NCBTS) is used as the basis for teacher education and development, hiring, deployment and promotion. The structure of NCBTS considers seven domains: social regard for learning, the learning environment, the diversity of learners, the curriculum, planning, assessing and reporting, community linkages, and personal and professional growth.

Higher Education in Mobility

  • 11,210 Filipinos studied abroad in 2012.
  • Top destinations for outbound Filipino students include the U.S., Australia, and the U.K. (2012)


This page primarily comprises excerpts from the World Data on Education- The Philippines Country Profile. In addition, the following resources were consulted:

See Also: