Education in Philippines

Philippines Population: 91 million people

Philippines Literacy Rate: 93.9 %

Philippines GNP: USD 1,300 per capita

Philippines Human Development Index: 0.77

Philippines School Distribution:

  • 44,000 Primary Schools 1,800,000 Students/Level.
  • 8,500 Secondary Schools 1,600,000 Students/Level.

Teachers Distribution:

  • Primary Schools 400,000 (35 Students/Teacher)
  • Secondary Schools 180,000 (40 Students/Teacher)

Philippines Academic Year from June to following year March.

The Filipino school year runs for 10 months, and a school year must be at least 200 days as prescribed by law. The school year usually begins between the first and third weeks of June and lasts until the last week of March.

Education in the Philippines has a similar system to that of the United States, as the Philippines was colonized by the Americans from 1898 to 1946. Filipino children enter public school at about age four, starting from Nursery up to Kindergarten. At about seven years of age, children enter a Primary School (6 to 7 years). This is followed by secondary school (4 years). Students then sit for the College Entrance Examinations (CEE), after which they enter collegiate school (3 to 5 years). Other types of schools do exist, such as Private schools, Preparatory schools, International schools, and Science High Schools. Also, several nationalities, such as the Chinese, British, Americans, and the Japanese also have their own schools. School year in the Philippines starts from June and ends in March with a two-month summer break from April to May, one week of semestral break (every last week of October), and a week or two of Christmas break.

Philippines Primary or Elementary School

Primary School is also called Elementary School. 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 levels.

Primary education in the Philippines covers a wide curriculum. The core subjects (major subjects) include Mathematics, English, and Makabayan (a mixture of Social Studies and Filipino). Other subjects include Sciences, Music, Arts, and Physical Education. Starting at the third level, Science becomes an integral part of the core subjects. In private schools, the subjects include Mathematics, English, Science, Social Studies, Basic Computer, Filipino, Music, Arts, Technology and Home Economics, Health, and Physical Education. International schools and Chinese schools have additional subjects, especially in their language and culture.

The teaching medium in the vast majority of all local schools is English. Filipino is considered only as a second language, and is used only in the Makabayan subject. Outside of Manila, other languages such as Cebuano, Bicolano, and Waray, are also used in the teaching of Makabayan. International schools generally use English in all subjects. Chinese schools add two language subjects, such as Min Nan Chinese and Mandarin Chinese. A few private schools mainly catering to the elite also include Spanish in their curriculum. Meanwhile, Arabic is used in Islamic schools. All primary-level students generally graduate with a knowledge of two or three languages.

Primary students traditionally sit for the National Elementary Achievement Test (NEAT) administered by the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (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 the student in the NEAT is not used as a basis in his or her admission into Secondary school. During 2004, when the DECS was officially converted into the Department of Education (DepEd), and also, as a result of some reorganization, the NEAT was abolished. As of 2006, only private schools have entrance examinations for Secondary school.

Philippines Secondary or High School

Secondary education in the Philippines is largely based on the American schooling system. It consists of four levels. Secondary schooling is compartmentalized, meaning, each level focuses on a particular theme or content. Secondary school is often called simply as High school, and as such, this will be the prevailing word in this section.

The first year of High school includes five core subjects, namely, Algebra I, Integrated Science, English I, Filipino I, and Philippine History I. The second year of High school includes Geometry, Biology, English II, Filipino II, and Asian History. The third year of High school includes Trigonometry, Chemistry, American Literature, Filipino III, and World History, and the fourth year of High school has Calculus, Physics, World Literature, Filipino IV, and Economics. Other minor subjects include Health, Advanced Computer, Music, Arts, Technology and Home Economics, and Physical Education.

In exclusive schools, various languages are offered as Electives, together with Computer programming, Literary writing, as well as other subjects. Chinese schools add language and cultural subjects. Preparatory schools usually add some Business and Accountancy courses, while Science high schools have Biology, Chemistry, ad Physics on every level.

Secondary students traditionally sit for the National Secondary Achievement Test (NSAT), which is originally tailored as a counterpart of the American SAT, and is administered by the Department of Education (DepEd). Like Philippines Primary School counterpart, it was eventually phased-out after major reorganizations in the said department. As of now, there is no government-sponsored entrance examination for Tertiary schools, and all schools, public or private, administer their own College Entrance Examinations (CEE).

After finishing secondary education, students have a choice of either continuing their education by taking two or three years of vocational courses, or going to college or university.

Philippines Technical or Vocational School:

Technical or Vocational school is school offering courses practically to enhance skills. Schools and their curriculum were accredited and approved by TESDA. They offer short program or two year - course on technology courses like automotive technology, electronic technology, nursing aide, hotel and restaurant management, computer technology, drafting ,etc. Upon graduation of these courses, students take a licensure examination from TESDA to obtain a certificate or diploma.

Philippines Tertiary or College School

Tertiary schools in the Philippines are either colleges or universities. Colleges are tertiary institutions that typically offer one or a few specialized courses, for example, in Science or in Liberal Arts, whereas Universities are tertiary institutions housing several constituent colleges or institutes, each offering academic degree programs of a particular type (i.e., college of commerce, college of law, college of denstistry, college of education, etc.). All tertiary institutions, also called higher education institutions are licensed, controlled, and supervised by the Commission on Higher Education of the Philippines. Volunteer accrediting organizations such as the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU) exist to upgrade the standards of higher education in the country.

Tertiary schooling in the Philippines is more cosmopolitan, with thousands of international students enrolling here, the vast majority of which come from United States, South Korea, India, Pakistan, and other European countries like Sweden and Italy. The number of American nationals applying for tertiary education may be due to the fact that the Philippines itself has a large population of Americans. Most Korean students are transients, studying for the first two or three years in the Philippines to have a working knowledge of English, and then transferring abroad to the United States for degrees, but many still complete their tertiary education in the country.

Noteworthy universities that enjoy national recognition of academic excellence include the Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University-Manila (DLSU-Manila), the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM), the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP),the University of the Philippines (UP), and the University of Santo Tomas (UST). The Ateneo de Manila and UP-Diliman are in Quezon City, whereas DLSU-Manila, PLM, PUP-Sta Mesa, UP-Manila, and UST are in Manila. All, except for UP, PLM, and PUP, are private schools.

Other reputable universities are the Saint Louis University in Baguio City, University of the East, Far Eastern University, Adamson University and Centro Escolar University in Metro Manila, University of San Carlos in Cebu City, University of St. La Salle in Bacolod City, Silliman University in Dumaguete, University of San Agustin in Iloilo City, Xavier University (Cagayan de Oro), Ateneo de Davao University, and the Mindanao State University in Mindanao. Other reputable colleges include Mapua Institute of Technology, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, and San Beda College, and some noteworthy women's colleges include Assumption College (Philippines), Miriam College, and St. Scholastica College, all located within Metro Manila.


  1. On 17-Jun-2014, Anonymous wrote: 
    It depends. If you send your child to a public school Makati where I live right now, practically you'll be spending a maximum of P1000, considering that school uniforms and PE uniforms as well as school supplies are given free. P1000 will be spent in buying 2 pairs of shoes (black leather and rubber shoes) and other personal effects. There will also be a few more expenses like PTA and girl/boy scouts fee of about P50. Schools are but a ride away (P7 student fare) or just a few meters away from the place where you live. In case you want a private school, that's another story. I suggest that you choose a good one. San Sebastian College or UST for co-ed, St. Paul's or Sta. Isabel for girls and San Beda for boys. If you can afford Ateneo or La Salle, they're better bets -- just I can't afford them. OB or Maria Montessori are also good. Don't opt for cheap private schools. They're not worth it.
    Your reply to Anonymous

  2. On 06-Jun-2014, Anonymous wrote: 
    What are the current fees per year for school, busing, and food for elementary and high schools?
    Your reply to Anonymous

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