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Education in the Philippines


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The Philippines, located the lower Pacific Rim, has a decentralized public education system that provides free primary and secondary education with primary education for all pupils between 7 and 12 years of age being compulsory. Its education budget is 17% of the national budget.

The literacy rate in the Philippines is 94.6%.

General goals of education in the Philippines are to:

  • Provide a well-rounded education that will assist each individual in society to attain his or her potential as a human being, and enhance the range and quality of the individuals within the group.
  • Help the individual to participate in the basic functions of society and acquire the essential educational foundation for his or her development into a productive and versatile citizen
  • Train the nation's manpower in the middle-level skills required for national development
  • Develop high-level professions that will provide leadership for the nation, advance knowledge through research, and apply new knowledge for improving the quality of life
  • Respond effectively to changing needs and conditions through system of educational planning and evaluation

After implementation of the new constitutional provision in 1987 calling for free compulsory education, the Philippines has been working toward accomplishing this goal. The Filipino Department of Education has been working to improve strategies and overall educational quality. Increased emphasis has been placed on English, science, technology, mathematics and staff training for administrators. Vocational education has also been revised to incorporate technological advancements.

Strategies for active improvement of education have included curriculum development, improvement of private and public school teacher education prior to their careers as well as during, update of materials and equipment, improving access of disadvantaged students, liberalizing policies for higher education private schools, and strengthening connections between government professional boards for evaluation.

Notable Programs aimed at improving education in the Philippines are:

The Elementary and Secondary Education Project

The aim of the project has been to meet the sector's requirement for essential physical resources (facilities and equipment), especially in educationally and economically disadvantaged areas; improve the professional competence of teachers and school administrators; expand the population's basic knowledge and the skills of children at risk of dropping out of school as well as illiterate out-of-school youth and adults. As well as further development of Department of Education institutional capacities in planning and management of the education system.

Implementing the New Secondary Education Curriculum (1992-93)

This project had of a mass training for Grade 4 teachers, and complemented with the production and delivery of textbooks and teacher's manuals to fully support the implementation of the new curriculum.

National Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) System for Pre-School Education 

It refers to the full range of health, nutrition, early education and social services programs that provide for the basic holistic needs of young children from birth to age six (6), to promote their optimum growth and development.

It aims to facilitate smooth transition from care and education provided at home to community or school-based setting and to ensure that young children are adequately prepared for the formal learning system both in public and private schools.

The School Building Program

This program provides for the construction of classrooms, science laboratories and multi-purpose workshops, and the provision of equipment for instruction for selected elementary and secondary schools within the typhoon belt of the country and in remote or rural areas.

Science Teaching Improvement Project

This project aims to develop science equipment through research, prototype production, standards setting and tests, and expertise within the educational sector through workshops seminars, and training of teachers and staff locally.

Science Equipment Project

This project addresses the pressing need of the public school system for instructional materials and equipment. The National Science Equipment Center and three Regional Distribution/ Service Centers were developed and institutionalized for the purpose of developing, testing, producing, and distributing science equipment to the public secondary schools.

Rationalizing Program offerings of State Colleges and Universities on a regional basis

This program encourages specialization in each State College and University (SUCs)and intra-regionally among SUCs with special emphasis on capital and land-intensive courses such as agriculture, technology, engineering, and technical education. The program encourages regional coordination among SUCs to minimize duplication of program offerings.

Pre-school and Elementary education

Pre-school education is non-compulsory and includes nursery schooling and kindergartens that cater to children three to six years of age.

Elementary school is compulsory and provides students seven to twelve with six years of schooling. These six years are divided into primary and intermediate. Primary level covers grades one to four while intermediate is for grades five to six or seven.

Students receive a certificate of graduation following completion of Elementary school.

Secondary education

Secondary education (high school) continues elementary basic education and includes vocation and technical education. Secondary education is designed for students age 13-16 and includes four years of instruction.

Higher education

Higher education can include a two-year post-secondary programs 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 their baccalaureate degree.

Graduate students may be eligible for an additional two to three more years of studying to complete their post-graduate degrees.

For more information please visit:


Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)