|Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)|
|Secretary of DepEd
Chairperson of CHED
Director-General of TESDA
|National education budget (2016)|
|Budget||₱461 billion (US$10 billion)|
|Total||21,042,250 (public elementary and junior high schools only)|
|Primary||15,114,208 (only public elementary schools)|
|Secondary||5,928,042 (only public junior high schools)|
Education in the Philippines is managed and regulated by the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). DepEd is responsible for the K–12 basic education; it exercises full and exclusive control over public schools and nominal regulation over private schools, and it also enforces the national curriculum that has been put in place since 2013. CHED and TESDA, on the other hand, are responsible for higher education; CHED regulates the academically-oriented universities and colleges while TESDA oversees the development of technical and vocational education institutions and programs in the country.
From 1945 to 2011, basic education took ten years to complete—six years of elementary education and four years of high school education for children aged six up to fifteen. However, after the implementation of the K–12 Program of DepEd and subsequent ratification of Kindergarten Education Act of 2012 and Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, the basic education today takes thirteen years to complete—one year of kindergarten, six years of elementary education, four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school for children aged five up to seventeen. As of 2016[update], the implementation of Grade 11 has started.
Meanwhile, higher education requires even as little as two years (e.g. associate degree) or much longer (e.g. bachelor's degree, master's degree, doctorate) to complete in universities and colleges, and much shorter in technical and vocational schools. University of the Philippines serves as the country's national university and widely regarded as the top higher education institution in the Philippines. There is also a large number of state universities and colleges and privately-run ones, and can either be for-profit or not-for-profit and secular or religious.
The school year usually runs from June to March, although it may also end in April, depending on when the Holy Week is. Republic Act 7797 states that a school year may not exceed two hundred and twenty school days, and that it may only start classes between the first Monday of June and last day of August. While K–12 private schools are free to assign the date of opening of classes anytime they want as long as it is within the prescribed period, K–12 public schools have to follow a stringent school calendar crafted by DepEd regardless of circumstances.
|Life in the Philippines|
Before the Philippines attained complete independence in 1946, the country's education system was patterned on the systems of Spain and the United States—countries which colonized and governed the country for more than three hundred years. However, after independence, the country's educational system has constantly undergone reform.
During the pre-colonial period, most children were provided with solely vocational training, which was supervised by parents, tribal tutors or those assigned for specific, specialized roles within their communities (for example, the babaylan). In most communities, stories, songs, poetry, dances, medicinal practices and advice regarding all sorts of community life issues were passed from generation to generation mostly through oral tradition. Some communities utilised a writing system known as baybayin, whose use was wide and varied, though there are other syllabaries used throughout the archipelago.
Formal education was brought to the Philippines by the Spaniards, which was conducted mostly by religious orders. Upon learning the local languages and writing systems, they began teaching Christianity, the Spanish language, and Spanish culture. These religious orders opened the first schools and universities as early as the 16th century. Spanish missionaries established schools immediately after reaching the islands. The Augustinians opened a parochial school in Cebu in 1565. The Franciscans, took to the task of improving literacy in 1577, aside from the teaching of new industrial and agricultural techniques. The Jesuits followed in 1581, as well as the Dominicans in 1587, setting up a school in Bataan. The church and the school cooperated to ensure that Christian villages had schools for students to attend.
Schools for boys and for girls were then opened. Colegios were opened for boys, ostensibly the equivalent to present day senior high schools. The Universidad de San Ignacio, founded in Manila by the Jesuits in 1589 was the first colegio. Eventually, it was incorporated into the University of Santo Tomas, College of Medicine and Pharmacology following the suppression of the Jesuits. Girls had two types of schools - the beaterio, a school meant to prepare them for the convent, and another, meant to prepare them for secular womanhood.
The Spanish also introduced printing presses to produce books in Spanish and Tagalog, sometimes using baybayin. The first book printed in the Philippines dates back to 1590. It was a Chinese language version of Doctrina Christiana. Spanish and Tagalog versions, in both Latin script and the locally used baybayin script, were later printed in 1593. In 1610, Tomas Pinpin, a Filipino printer, writer and publisher, who is sometimes referred to as the "Patriarch of Filipino Printing", wrote his famous "Librong Pagaaralan nang manga Tagalog nang Uicang Castilla", which was meant to help Filipinos learn the Spanish language. The prologue read:
|“||Let us therefore study, my countrymen, 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 it.
The Educational Decree of 1863 provided a free public education system in the Philippines, managed by the government. The decree mandated the establishment of at least one primary school for boys and one for girls in each town under the responsibility of the municipal government, and the establishment of a normal school for male teachers under the supervision of the Jesuits. Primary education was also declared free and available to every Filipino, regardless of race or social class. Contrary to what the propaganda of the Spanish–American War tried to depict, they were not religious schools; rather, they are schools that were established, supported, and maintained by the Spanish government.
After the implementation of the decree, the number of schools and students increased steadily. In 1866, the total population of the Philippines was 4,411,261. The total number of public schools for boys was 841, and the number of public schools for girls was 833. The total number of children attending those schools was 135,098 for boys, and 95,260 for girls. In 1892, the number of schools had increased to 2,137, of which 1,087 were for boys, and 1,050 for girls. By 1898, enrolment in schools at all levels exceeded 200,000 students.
Among those who benefited from the free public education system were a burgeoning group of Filipino intellectuals: the Ilustrados ('enlightened ones'), some of whom included José Rizal, Graciano López Jaena, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Mariano Ponce, and Antonio Luna—all of whom played vital roles in the Propaganda Movement that ultimately inspired the founding of the Katipunan.
The defeat of Spain following the Spanish–American War led to the short-lived Philippine Independence movement, which established the insurgent First Philippine Republic. The schools maintained by Spain for more than three centuries were closed briefly, but were reopened on August 29, 1898 by the Secretary of Interior. The Burgos Institute (the country's first law school), the Academia Militar (the country's first military academy), and the Literary University of the Philippines were established. Article 23 of the Malolos Constitution mandated that public education would be free and obligatory in all schools of the nation under the First Philippine Republic. However, the Philippine–American War hindered its progress.
About a year after having secured Manila, the Americans were keen to open up seven schools with army servicemen teaching with army command-selected books and supplies. In the same year, 1899, more schools were opened, this time, with 24 English-language teachers and 4500 students.
A highly centralised, experimental public school system was installed in 1901 by the Philippine Commission and legislated by Act No. 74. The law exposed a severe shortage of qualified teachers, brought about by large enrolment numbers in schools. As a result, the Philippine Commission authorized the Secretary of Public Instruction to bring more than 1,000 teachers from the United States, who were called the Thomasites, to the Philippines between 1901 and 1902. These teachers were scattered throughout the islands to establish barangay schools. The same law established the Philippine Normal School (now the Philippine Normal University) to train aspiring Filipino teachers.
The high school system was supported by provincial governments and included special educational institutions, schools of arts and trades, an agricultural school, and commerce and marine institutes, which were established in 1902 by the Philippine Commission.
Several other laws were passed throughout the period. In 1902, Act No. 372 authorised the opening of provincial high schools.
The emergence of high school education in the Philippines, however, did not occur until 1910. It was borne out of rising numbers in enrolment, widespread economic depression, and a growing demand by big businesses and technological advances in factories and the emergence of electrification for skilled workers. In order to meet this new job demand, high schools were created and the curriculum focused on practical job skills that would better prepare students for professional white collar or skilled blue collar work. This proved to be beneficial for both the employer and the employee; the investment in human capital caused employees to become more efficient, which lowered costs for the employer, and skilled employees received a higher wage than those employees with just primary educational attainment.
However, a steady increase in enrolment in schools appeared to have hindered any revisions to then-implemented experimental educational system. Act No. 1381, also known as Gabaldon Law, was passed in 1907, which provided a fund of a million pesos for construction of concrete school buildings and is one of many attempts by the government to meet this demand. In line as well with the Filipinization policy of the government, the Reorganization Act of 1916 provided that all department secretaries except the Secretary of Public Instruction must be a natural-born Filipino.
A series of revisions (in terms of content, length, and focus) to the curriculum began in 1924, the year the Monroe Survey Commission released its findings. After having convened in the period from 1906 to 1918, what was simply an advisory committee on textbooks was officiated in 1921 as the Board on Textbooks through Act No. 2957. The Board was faced with difficulties, however, even up to the 1940s, but because financial problems hindered the possibility of newer adaptations of books.
In 1947, after the United States relinquished all its authority over the Philippines, President Manuel Roxas issued Executive Order No. 94 which renamed Department of Instruction into Department of Education. During this period, the regulation and supervision of public and private schools belonged to the Bureau of Public and Private Schools.
In 1972, the Department of Education became the Department of Education and Culture (DECS) under Proclamation 1081, which was signed by President Ferdinand Marcos.
On September 24, 1972, by Presidential Decree No. 1, DECS was decentralized with decision-making shared among its thirteen regional offices.
Following a referendum of all barangays in the Philippines from January 10–15, 1973, President Marcos ratified the 1973 Constitution by Proclamation 1102 on January 17, 1973. The 1973 Constitution set out the three fundamental aims of education in the Philippines:
In 1978, by the Presidential Decree No. 1397, DECS became the Ministry of Education and Culture.
The Education Act of 1982 provided for an integrated system of education covering both formal and non-formal education at all levels. Section 29 of the act sought to upgrade educational institutions' standards to achieve "quality education" through voluntary accreditation for schools, colleges, and universities. Section 16 and Section 17 upgraded the obligations and qualifications required for teachers and administrators. Section 41 provided for government financial assistance to private schools. This act also created the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports.
A new constitution was ratified on February 2, 1987, and entered into force of February 11. Section 3, Article XIV of the 1987 Constitution contains the ten fundamental aims of education in the Philippines. Section 2(2), Article XIV of the 1987 Constitution made elementary school compulsory for all children.
In 1987, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports became again the DECS under Executive Order No. 117. The structure of DECS as embodied in the order remained practically unchanged until 1994.
On May 26, 1988, the Congress of the Philippines enacted the Republic Act 6655 or the Free Public Secondary Education Act of 1988, which mandated free public secondary education commencing in the school year 1988–1989.
On February 3, 1992, the Congress enacted Republic Act 7323, which provided that students aged 15 to 25 may be employed during their Christmas vacation and summer vacation with a salary not lower than the minimum wage—with 60% of the wage paid by the employer and 40% by the government.
The Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM) report of 1991 recommended the division of DECS into three parts. On May 18, 1994, the Congress passed Republic Act 7722 or the Higher Education Act of 1994, creating the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), which assumed the functions of the Bureau of Higher Education and supervised tertiary degree programs. On August 25, 1994, the Congress passed Republic Act 7796 or the Technical Education and Skills Development Act of 199, creating the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), which absorbed the Bureau of Technical-Vocational Education as well as the National Manpower and Youth Council, and began to supervise non-degree technical-vocational programs. DECS retained responsibility for all elementary and secondary education. This threefold division became known as the "trifocal system of education" in the Philippines.
In August 2001, Republic Act 9155, otherwise called the Governance of Basic Education Act, was passed. This act changed the name of DECS to the current Department of Education (DepEd) and redefined the role of field offices (regional offices, division offices, district offices and schools). The act provided the overall framework for school empowerment by strengthening the leadership roles of headmasters and fostering transparency and local accountability for school administrations. The goal of basic education was to provide the school age population and young adults with skills, knowledge, and values to become caring, self-reliant, productive, and patriotic citizens.
In 2006, the Education for All (EFA) 2015 National Action Plan was implemented. It states:
|“||The central goal is to provide basic competencies to everyone, and to achieve functional literacy for all. Ensuring that every Filipino has the basic competencies is equivalent to providing all Filipinos with the basic learning needs, or enabling all Filipinos to be functionally literate.||”|
In terms of secondary level education, all children aged twelve to fifteen, are sought to be on track to completing the schooling cycle with satisfactory achievement levels at every year.
In January 2009, the Department of Education signed a memorandum of agreement with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to seal $86 million assistance to Philippine education, particularly the access to quality education in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and the Western and Central Mindanao regions.
In 2010, then-Senator Benigno Aquino III expressed his desire to implement the K–12 basic education cycle to increase the number of years of compulsory education to thirteen years. According to him, this will "give everyone an equal chance to succeed" and "have quality education and profitable jobs". After further consultations and studies, the government under President Aquino formally adopted the K–6–4–2 basic education system—one year of kindergarten, six years of elementary education, four years of junior high school education and two years of senior high school education. Kindergarten was formally made compulsory by virtue of the Kindergarten Education Act of 2012, while the further twelve years were officially put into law by virtue of the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013. Although DepEd has already implemented the K–12 Program since SY 2011–2012, it was still enacted into law to guarantee its continuity in the succeeding years.
The former system of basic education in the Philippines consists of one-year preschool education, six-year elementary education and four-year high school education. Although public preschool, elementary and high school education are provided free, only primary education is stipulated as compulsory according to the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Pre-primary education caters to children aged five. A child aged six may enter elementary schools with, or without pre-primary education. Following on from primary education is four-years of secondary education, which can theoretically be further divided into three years of lower secondary and one year of upper secondary education. Ideally, a child enters secondary education at the age of 12. After completing their secondary education, students may progress to a technical education and skills development to earn a certificate or a diploma within one to three years, depending on the skill. Students also have the option to enrol in higher education programmes to earn a baccalaureate degree.
|Former educational system
(used from 1945 until June 3, 2012)
|Kindergarten was not compulsory|
|Elementary school (Primary)||Grade 1||Primary||6–7|
|High school (Secondary)||First Year||Freshman||12–13|
The start of the twenty-first century's second decade saw a major improvement in the Philippine education system.
In 2011, the Department of Education started to implement the new K-12 educational system, which also included a new curriculum for all schools nationwide. The K-12 program has a so-called "phased implementation", which started in S.Y 2011-2012.
|School year||Kindergarten||Elementary||High school|
Formal education is the hierarchically structured, chronologically graded 'education system', running from primary school through the university and including, in addition to general academic studies, a variety of specialised programmes and institutions for full-time technical and professional training. K-12 and tertiary education from colleges are characterized as formal education. This does not include the informal education in the Philippines learned from daily experience and the educative influences and resources in his or her environment. Nor does this include non-formal education like the alternative learning systems provided by DepEd and TESDA and other programs from educational institutions.
K-12 is a program that covers kindergarten and 12 years of basic education to provide sufficient time for mastery of concepts and skills, develop lifelong learners, and prepare graduates for tertiary education, middle-level skills development, employment, and entrepreneurship.
Its general features include (1) Strengthening Early Childhood Education (Universal Kindergarten), since the early years of a human being, from 0 to 6 years, are the most critical period when the brain grows to at least 60-70 percent of adult size; (2) Making the Curriculum Relevant to Learners (Contextualization and Enhancement) by making lessons localized and relevant to Filipinos including discussions on Disaster Risk Reduction, Climate Change Adaptation, and Information & Communication Technology (ICT);(3) Ensuring Integrated and Seamless Learning (Spiral Progression) which means that students will be taught from the simplest concepts to more complicated concepts through grade levels; (4) Building Proficiency through Language (Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education) hence the introduction of 12 Mother Tongue Languages as mediums of instruction from grades 1-3 before the introduction of English; (5) Gearing Up for the Future (Senior High School) wherein the seven learning areas and three tracks for students to choose (See 220.127.116.11 Curriculum) prepare them for senior high school, the two years of specialized upper secondary education; and (6) Nurturing the Holistically Developed Filipino (College and Livelihood Readiness, let Century Skills) so that every graduate to be equipped with information, media and technology skills; learning and innovation skills; effective communication skills; and life and career skills.
|Current educational system (used since June 4, 2012 as partial; starting June 5, 2017 as total )|
|School||Grades||Age||What are the changes?||Implementation status|
|Is it a new grade?||Did it now become compulsory?||Did the curriculum change?||Did it have a new name?|
|Elementary school||Kindergarten||5||No||Yes||Yes||No||Since 2011|
|Grade 1||6||No||Retained compulsory status||Yes||No||Since 2012|
|Grade 2||7||No||Retained compulsory status||Yes||No||Since 2013|
|Grade 3||8||No||Retained compulsory status||Yes||No||Since 2014|
|Grade 4||9||No||Retained compulsory status||Yes||No||Since 2015|
|Grade 5||10||No||Retained compulsory status||Yes||No||Since 2016|
|Grade 6||11||No||Retained compulsory status||Yes||No||Starting 2017|
|Junior high school||Grade 7||12||No||Retained compulsory status||Yes||Yes||Since 2012|
|Grade 8||13||No||Retained compulsory status||Yes||Yes||Since 2013|
|Grade 9||14||No||Retained compulsory status||Yes||Yes||Since 2014|
|Grade 10||15||No||Retained compulsory status||Yes||Yes||Since 2015|
|Senior high school||Grade 11||16||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Since 2016|
|Grade 12||17||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Starting 2017|
Senior High School, an important feature of the new K-12 program, creates several opportunities. Standard requirements will be applied to make sure graduates know enough to be hirable. Senior High School students will now be able to apply for TESDA Certificates of Competency (COCs) and National Certificates (NCs) to provide them with better work opportunities. Partnerships with different companies will be offered for technical and vocational courses. Senior High School students can also get work experience while studying. Aside from these, entrepreneurship courses will now be included. Instead of being employed, one can choose to start his or her own business after graduating, or choose to further one's education by going to college.
Senior High School, as part of the K to 12 Basic Curriculum, was developed in line with the curriculum of the Commission of Higher Education (CHED) – the governing body for college and university education in the Philippines. This ensures that by the time one graduates from Senior High School, one will have the standard knowledge, skills, and competencies needed to go to college.
Because of the shift of the curriculum in K-12, the College General Education curriculum will have fewer units. Subjects that have been taken up in Basic Education will be removed from the College General Education curriculum. Details of the new GE Curriculum may be found in CHED Memorandum Order No. 20, series of 2013.
Regarding teachers, there are common misconceptions that teachers will lose their jobs because of the shift to the K-12. However, DepEd ensures that "no high school teachers will be displaced."
The Department of Education (DepEd) is in constant coordination with CHED and DOLE on the actual number of affected faculty from private higher education institutions (HEIs). The worst-case scenario is that 39,000 HEI faculty will lose their jobs over 5 years. This will only happen if none of the HEIs will put up their own Senior High Schools; however, DepEd is currently processing over 1,000 Senior High School applications from private institutions.
DepEd is also hiring more than 30,000 new teachers in 2016 alone. The Department will prioritize affected faculty who will apply as teachers or administrators in Senior High Schools.
|#||Name||#||Name||Elementary School||Junior High School||Senior High School|
|Kindergarten||Grade 1||Grade 2||Grade 3||Grade 4||Grade 5||Grade 6||Grade 7||Grade 8||Grade 9||Grade 10||Grade 11||Grade 12|
|2||Mathematics||1||Numbers and Number Sense|
|3||Patterns and Algebra|
|5||Statistics and Probability|
|4||Earth and Space Science||N|
|4||Values Education/Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao|
|6||Technology and Livelihood Education/Edukasyong Pantahanan at Pangkabuhayan (for Grades 4 and 5)||1||Agri-Fishery Arts||N|
|4||Information and Communications Technology||N|
K-12's implementation began in 2011 when kindergarten was rolled out nationwide. It continued by fully implementing the system for grades 1-7 during the school year 2012-2013, for grade 11 during 2016, and for grade 12 on 2017.
There are four "phases" during the implementation of the new system. These are:
In terms of preparing the resources, specifically classrooms, teacher items, textbooks, seats, and water and sanitation improvements, the following table shows the accomplished material from 2010 to 2014 and those planned for 2015.
|RESOURCE||2010 SHORTAGE||2010 TO 2014 ACCOMPLISHMENT||PLANS FOR 2015|
|Classrooms||66,800||86,478 constructed classrooms as of February 2015||41,728 classrooms for Kinder to Grade 12
30,000 of which are for Senior High School (Grades 11 and 12)
|Teacher Items||145,827||128,105 teachers hired as of December 31, 2014||39,066 additional teacher items|
|Water and Sanitation||135,847||80,197 completed
23,414 ongoing construction 43,536 ongoing procurement as of May 2014
|13,586 programmed for 2015|
|Textbooks||61.7M||1:1 student-textbook ratio since December 2012||69.5 million additional learning materials|
|Seats||2,573,212||1:1 student-school seat ratio since December 2012||1,547,531 additional new seatsThe Department of Education's justifications in this change, in implementing 13 years of basic education, is that the Philippines is the last country in Asia and one of only three countries worldwide with a 10-year pre-university cycle (Angola and Djibouti are the other two), and that 13-year program is found to be the best period for learning under basic education. It is also the recognized standard for students and professionals globally.|
The Department of Education's justifications in this change, in implementing 13 years of basic education, is that the Philippines is the last country in Asia and one of only three countries worldwide with a 10-year pre-university cycle (Angola and Djibouti are the other two), and that the 13-year program is found to be the best period for learning under basic education. It is also the recognized standard for students and professionals globally.
Elementary school, sometimes called primary school or grade school (Filipino: paaralang elementarya, sometimes mababang paaralan), is the first part of the educational system, and it includes Kindergarten and the first six years of compulsory education (Grades 1–6).
In public schools, the core/major subjects that were introduced starting in Kindergarten and Grade 1 include mathematics, Filipino, and Araling Panlipunan (this subject is synonymous to social studies).English is only introduced after the second semester of Grade 1. Science is only introduced starting Grade 3. Other major subjects then include music, arts, physical education, and health (abbreviated as MAPEH), TLE (Technology and Livelihood Education) for Grade 6, EPP (Edukasyong Pantahanan at Pangkabuhayan) for Grades 4 and 5, Mother Tongue (until Grade 3) and Values Education. In private schools, subjects in public schools are also included with the additional subjects including:computer education. In Christian and Catholic schools, religious education is also part of the curriculum. International schools also have their own subjects in their own language and culture.
From Kindergarten-Grade 3, students will be taught using their mother tongue, meaning the regionallanguages of the Philippines will be used in some subjects (except Filipino and English) as a medium of instruction. It may be incorporated as a separate subject. But from Grade 4, Filipino and English as a medium of instruction will then be used.
On December 2007, the Philippine president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced that Spanish is to make a return as a mandatory subject in all Filipino schools starting in 2008, but this didn't come into effect.
DepEd Bilingual Policy is for the medium of instruction to be Filipino for: Filipino, Araling Panlipunan, Edukasyong Pangkatawan, Kalusugan at Musika; and English for: English, Science and Technology, Home Economics and Livelihood Education. Article XIV, Section 7 of the 1987 Philippine constitution mandates that regional languages are the auxiliary official languages in the regions and shall serve as auxiliary media of instruction therein. As a result, the language actually used in teaching is often a polyglot of Filipino and English with the regional language as the foundation, or rarely the local language. Filipino is based on Tagalog, so in Tagalog areas (including Manila), Filipino is the foundational language used. International English language schools use English as the foundational language. Chinese schools add two language subjects, such as Min Nan Chinese and Mandarin Chinese and may use English or Chinese as the foundational language. The constitution mandates that Spanish and Arabic shall be promoted on a voluntary and optional basis. Following on this, a few private schools mainly catering to the elite include Spanish in their curriculum. Arabic is taught in Islamic schools.
In July 2009, the Department of Education moved to overcome the foreign language issue by ordering all elementary schools to move towards initial mother-tongue based instruction (grades 1–3). The order allows two alternative three-year bridging plans. Depending on the bridging plan adopted, the Filipino and English languages are to be phased in as the language of instruction for other subjects beginning in the third and fourth grades.
Until 2004, primary students traditionally took 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 students in the NEAT were not used as a basis for their admission into secondary school. During 2004, when DECS was officially converted into the Department of Education, the NEAT was changed to the National Achievement Test (NAT) by the Department of Education. Both the public and private elementary schools take this exam to measure a school's competency. As of 2006, only private schools have entrance examinations for secondary schools.
The Department of Education expects over 13.1 million elementary students to be enrolled in public elementary schools for school year 2009–2010.
Though elementary schooling is compulsory, as of 2010[update] it was reported that 27.82% of Filipino elementary-aged children either never attend or never complete elementary schooling, usually due to the absence of any school in their area, education being offered in a language that is foreign to them, or financial distress.
Secondary school in the Philippines, more commonly known as "high school" (Filipino: paaralang sekundarya, sometimes mataas na paaralan), consists of 4 lower levels and 2 upper levels. It formerly consisted of only four levels with each level partially compartmentalized, focusing on a particular theme or content. Because of the K-12 curriculum, the high school system now has six years divided into 2 parts. The lower exploratory high school system is now called "Junior High School" (Grades 7-10) while the upper specialized high school system is now called "Senior High School" (Grades 11 and 12).
Secondary students used to sit for the National Secondary Achievement Test (NSAT), which was based on the American SAT, and was administered by the Department of Education. Like its primary school counterpart, NSAT was phased out after major reorganizations in the education department. Its successors, the National Career Assessment Examination (NCAE) and National Achievement Test (NAT) were administered to third- and fourth-year students respectively, before the implementation of the K-12 system. The National Career Assessment Examination (NCAE) is now being administered for Grade 9 and the National Achievement Test (NAT) is being administered at Grade 6, 10, and 12. Neither the NSAT nor NAT have been used as a basis for being offered admission to higher education institutions, partly because pupils sit them at almost the end of their secondary education. Instead, higher education institutions, both public and private, administer their own College Entrance Examinations (CEE) (subjects covered will depend on the institutions). Vocational colleges usually do not have entrance examinations, simply accepting the Form 138 record of studies from high school, and enrolment payment.
Students graduating from the elementary level automatically enroll in junior high, which covers four years from grades 7 to 10. This level is now compulsory and free to all students attending public schools.
There are two main types of high school: the general secondary school, which enroll more than 90 percent of all junior high school students, and the vocational secondary school. In addition, there are also science secondary schools for students who have demonstrated a particular gift in science at the primary level.
Admission to public school is automatic for those who have completed six years of elementary school. Some private secondary schools have competitive entrance requirements based on an entrance examination. Entrance to science schools is also by competitive examination.
The Department of Education specifies a compulsory curriculum for all junior high school students, public and private. Grade 7 has five core subjects: Mathematics 7, Science 7, English 7:Philippine Literature, Filipino 7:Regional Literature, and Asian Studies as part of Araling Panlipunan 7. The Grade 8 curriculum has Mathematics 8, Science 8, English 8:Afro-Asian Literature, Filipino 8:Philippine Literature, and World History as part of Araling Panlipunan 8. Grade 9 has Mathematics 9, Science 9, English 9:British and American Literature, Filipino 9:Asian Literature, and Economics as part of Araling Panlipunan 9. The Grade 10 curriculum has Mathematics 10, Science 10, English 10:World Literature, Filipino 10:World Literature, and Contemporary Issues as part of Araling Panlipunan 10. Other subjects in all levels of junior high school include MAPEH (Music, Art, Physical Education and Health), Values Education and TLE (Technology and Livelihood Education).
In selective schools, various languages may be offered as electives, as well as other subjects such as computer programming and literary writing. Chinese schools have language and cultural electives. Preparatory schools usually add some business and accountancy courses, while science high schools have biology, chemistry, and physics at every level.
Formal technical and vocational education starts at secondary education, with a two-year curriculum, which grants access to vocational tertiary education.  However, there is also non-formal technical and vocational education provided as alternative learning programs.
Vocational schools offer a higher concentration of technical and vocational subjects in addition to the core academic subjects studied by students at general high schools. These schools tend to offer technical and vocational instruction in one of five main fields: agriculture, fisheries, trade-technical, home industry, and ‘non-traditional’ courses while offering a host of specializations. During the first two years, students study a general vocational area, from the five main fields mentioned. During the third and fourth years they specialize in a discipline or vocation within that area. Programs contain a mixture of theory and practice.
Upon completion of grade 10 and junior high, students can obtain Certificates of Competency (COC) or the vocationally oriented National Certificate Level I (NC I). After finishing a Technical-Vocational-Livelihood track in Grade 12 of senior high school, a student may obtain a National Certificate Level II (NC II), provided he/she passes the competency-based assessment administered by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority(TESDA).
The new high school curriculum includes core classes and specialization classes based on student choice of specialization. Students may choose a specialization based on aptitude, interests, and school capacity. There are seven learning areas under the core curriculum. These are languages, literature, communication, mathematics, philosophy, natural sciences, and social sciences.
For their specialization classes, students choose from three tracks: Academic; technical-vocational-livelihood; and sports & arts. The Academic track includes three strands: business, accountancy, management (BAM); humanities, education, social sciences (HESS); and science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM). The Technical Vocational Livelihood track includes four specializations: Home economics, agri-fishery, industrial arts, ICT.
The government projects some 1.2 to 1.6 million students will enter senior high school in the 2016-17 academic year.
Senior High School "completes" basic education by making sure that the high school graduate is equipped for work, entrepreneurship, or higher education. This is a step up from the 10-year cycle where high school graduates still need further education (and expenses) to be ready for the world. There are 334 private schools with Senior High School permits beginning in SY 2014 or 2015. Last March 31, 2015, provisional permits have been issued to 1,122 private schools that will offer Senior High School in 2016.
Senior High School will be offered free in public schools and there will be a voucher program in place for public junior high school completers as well as ESC beneficiaries of private high schools should they choose to take Senior High School in private institutions. This means that the burden of expenses for the additional two years need not be completely shouldered by parents. All grade 10 completers from a public Junior High School who wish to enroll in a private or non-DepEd Senior High School automatically get a voucher.
All tertiary education matters are outside of the jurisdiction of DepEd, which is in charge of primary and secondary education, but is instead governed by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). As of 2013, there are over 2,229 higher education institutions (HEI’s) in the country which can be divided into public and private institutions. There are 656 public higher education institutions which account for 28.53% of all HEI’s. While 1,643 private institutions account for 71.47% of all HEI’s.
Public HEI's are further divided into state universities and colleges (SUC’s), local colleges and universities (LUC’s), special HEI’s, and government schools. State universities and colleges are administered and financed by the government as determined by the Philippine Congress. LUC's are established by the local government units that govern the area of the LUC. The local government establish these institutions through a process and number of ordinances and resolutions, and are also in charge of handling the financing of these schools. Special HEI's are institutions that offer courses and programs that are related to public service. Examples of these include the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA), Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), etc. These institutions are controlled and administered through the use of specific laws that were created for them. Finally, government schools are public secondary and post-secondary technical-vocational education institutions that offer higher education programs.
Private HEI's are established, and governed by special provisions by a Corporation Code, and can be divided into sectarian and non-sectarian. Non-sectarian are characterized by being owned and operated by private entities that have no affiliation with religious organizations; while sectarian HEI's are non-profit institutions that are owned and operated by a religious organization. Of the 1,643 institutions, 79% are non-sectarian, and 21% are sectarian.
According to the last CHED published statistics on its website, there were 7,766 foreign nationals studying in various higher education institutions in the Philippines as of 2011-2012. Koreans were the top foreign nationals studying in the country with 1,572. The rest were Iranian, Chinese, American and Indian. 
There are other types of schools, aside from the general public school, such as private schools, preparatory schools, international schools, laboratory high schools, and science high schools. Several foreign ethnic groups, including Chinese, British, Singaporeans, Americans, Koreans, and Japanese operate their own schools.
The Philippine Science High School System is a specialized public system that operates as an attached agency of the Philippine Department of Science and Technology. There are a total of nine regional campuses, with the main campus located in Quezon City. Students are admitted on a selective basis, based on the results of the PSHS System National Competitive Examination.
As well as following the general secondary curriculum, there are advanced classes in science and mathematics. The PSHSS system offers an integrated junior high and senior high six-year curriculum.
Students who successfully completed a minimum of four years of secondary education under the pre-2011 system were awarded a Diploma (Katibayan) and, in addition, the secondary school Certificate of Graduation (Katunayan) from the Department of Education. Students are also awarded a Permanent Record, or Form 137-A, listing all classes taken and grades earned. Under the new K-12 system, the permanent record will be issued after the completion of senior high school.
Chinese schools add two additional subjects to the core curriculum, Chinese communication arts and literature. Some also add Chinese history, philosophy and culture, and Chinese mathematics. Still, other Chinese schools called cultural schools, offer Confucian classics and Chinese art as part of their curriculum. Religion also plays an important part in the curriculum. American evangelists founded some Chinese schools. Some Chinese schools have Catholic roots.
In 2004, the Department of Education adopted DO 51, putting in place the teaching of Arabic Language and Islamic Values for (mainly) Muslim children in the public schools. The same order authorized the implementation of the Standard Madrasa Curriculum (SMC) in the private madaris(Arabic for schools, the singular form is Madrasa).
While there has been recognized Islamic schools—i.e., Ibn Siena Integrated School (Marawi), Sarang Bangun LC (Zamboanga), and Southwestern Mindanao Islamic Institute (Jolo)—their Islamic studies curriculum varies. With the Department of Education-authorized SMC, the subject offering is uniform across these private madaris.
Since 2005, the AusAID-funded Department of Education project Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao (BEAM) has assisted a group of private madaris seeking government permit to operate (PTO) and implement the SMC. To date, there are 30 of these private madaris scattered throughout Regions XI, XII and the ARMM.
The SMC is a combination of the RBEC subjects (English, Filipino, Science, Math, and Makabayan) and the teaching of Arabic and Islamic studies subjects.
For school year 2010–2011, there are forty-seven (47) madaris in the ARMM alone.
The alternative learning systems in the Philippines caters to the needs of the following: elementary and secondary school dropouts, kids that are older than the normal age for a specific grade level (this may be a 12 year old in grade 4), unemployed adults that haven’t finished their education degree, indigenous people, people with disabilities or are mentally challenged, and inmates. It is possible to have both informal and formal references for these alternative learning systems because these are apart from the formal teaching institutions. Although similarly to the formal teaching institutions, there will be a diagnostic test for everyone that will participate in order to gauge the level they are in in terms of the skills needed per grade level. If there are people that do not have the basic skills such as reading and writing there will be an additional program that will help them first learn the basics before taking the diagnostic test. There will be a specific number of hours that is required of the student in order for him/her to be able to finish the program. There will be a final assessment to test the comprehensive knowledge of the student. If the students passes he/she will be given a certificate that is signed by the secretary of the department of education allowing the student to apply for college degrees, work, formal training programs, and can re-enroll in elementary/secondary education in formal teaching institutions.
There are other avenues of alternative learning in the Philippines such as the Radio-Based Instruction (RBI) Program. This is designed to give the lectures through a radio transmission making it easier for people to access wherever they are. The goal is for the listeners to receive the same amount of education that people that sit in classroom lectures.
Non-formal technical and vocational education is assumed by institutions usually accredited and approved by TESDA: center-based programs, community-based programs and enterprise-based training, or the Alternative Learning System (ALS). The Institutions may be government operated, often by provincial government, or private. They may offer programs ranging in duration from a couple of weeks to two-year diploma courses. Programs can be technology courses like automotive technology, computer technology, and electronic technology; service courses such as caregiver, nursing aide, hotel and restaurant management; and trades courses such as electrician, plumber, welder, automotive mechanic, diesel mechanic, heavy vehicle operator & practical nursing. Upon graduating from most of these courses, students may take an examination from TESDA to obtain the relevant certificate or diploma.
In the country, there are a number of people particularly kids that do not receive proper education from formal education institutions because of various reasons. These reasons usually pertain to financial problems.
When it comes to influence, the educational system of the Philippines has been affected immensely by the country's colonial history including the Spanish period, American period, and Japanese rule and occupation. Although having been significantly influenced by all its colonizers with regard to the educational system, the most influential and deep-rooted contributions arose during the American occupation (1898); it was during this aforementioned period that 1. English was introduced as the primary language of instruction and 2. A public education system was first established - a system specifically patterned after the United States school system and further administered by the newly established Department of Instruction. Similar to the United States of America, the Philippines has had an extensive and extremely inclusive system of education including features such as higher education.
The present Philippine Educational system firstly covers six years of compulsory education (from grades 1 to 6), divided informally into two levels - both composed of three years. The first level is known as the Primary Level and the second level is known as the Intermediate Level.
However, although the Philippine educational system has extensively been a model for other Southeast Asian countries, in recent years such a matter has no longer stood true, and such a system has been deteriorated - such a fact is especially evident and true in the country's more secluded poverty-stricken regions.
Nationwide the Philippines faces several issues when it comes to the educational system.
First of which, is the quality of education. In the year 2014, the National Achievement Test (NAT) and the National Career Assessment Examination (NCAE) results show that there had been a decline in the quality of Philippine education at the elementary and secondary levels. The students’ performance in both the 2014 NAT and NCAE were excessively below the target mean score. Having said this, the poor quality of the Philippine educational system is manifested in the comparison of completion rates between highly urbanized city of Metro Manila, which is also happens to be not only the country's capital but the largest metropolitan area in the Philippines and other places in the country such as Mindanao and Eastern Visayas. Although Manila is able to boast a primary school completion rate of approximately 100 percent, other areas of the nation, such as Eastern Visayas and Mindanao, hold primary school completion rate of only 30 percent or even less. This kind of statistic is no surprise to the education system in the Philippine context, students who hail from Philippine urban areas have the financial capacity to complete at the very least their primary school education.
The second issue that the Philippine educational system faces is the budget for education. Although it has been mandated by the Philippine Constitution for the government to allocate the highest proportion of its government to education, the Philippines remains to have one of the lowest budget allocations to education among ASEAN countries.
The third prevalent issue the Philippine educational system continuously encounters is the affordability of education (or lack thereof). A big disparity in educational achievements is evident across various social groups. Socioeconomically disadvantaged students otherwise known as students who are members of high and low-income poverty-stricken families, have immensely higher drop-out rates in the elementary level. Additionally, most freshmen students at the tertiary level come from relatively well-off families.
France Castro, secretary of Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), stated that there is a graved need to address the alarming number of out-of-school youth in the country. The Philippines overall has 1.4 million children who are out-of-school, according to UNESCO's data, and is additionally the only ASEAN country that is included in the top 5 countries with the highest number of out-of-school youth. In 2012, the Department of Education showed data of a 6.38% drop-out rate in primary school and a 7.82% drop-out rate in secondary school. Castro further stated that "the increasing number of out-of-school children is being caused by poverty. The price increases in prices of oil, electricity, rice, water, and other basic commodities are further pushing the poor into dire poverty." Subsequently as more families become poorer, the number of students enrolled in public schools increases, especially in the high school level. In 2013, the Department of Education estimated that there are 38, 503 elementary schools alongside 7,470 high schools.
There is a large proportion of mismatch, wherein there exists a massive proportion of mismatch between training and actual jobs. This stands to be a major issue at the tertiary level and it is furthermore the cause of the continuation of a substantial amount of educated yet unemployed or underemployed people.
Brain Drain is a persistent problem evident in the educational system of the Philippines due to the modern phenomenon of globalization, with the number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who worked abroad at anytime during the period April to September 2014 was estimated at 2.3 million. This ongoing mass emigration subsequently inducts an unparalleled brain drain alongside grave economic implications. Additionally, Philippine society hitherto is footing the bill for the education of millions who successively spend their more productive years abroad. Thus, the already poor educational system of the Philippines indirectly subsidizes the opulent economies who host the OFWs.
There exists a problematic and distinct social cleavage with regard to educational opportunities in the country. Most modern societies have encountered an equalizing effect on the subject of education. This aforementioned divide in the social system has made education become part of the institutional mechanism that creates a division between the poor and the rich.
There are large-scale shortages of facilities across Philippine public schools - these include classrooms, teachers, desks and chairs, textbooks, and audio-video materials. According to 2003 Department of Education Undersecretary Juan Miguel Luz, reportedly over 17 million students are enrolled in Philippine public schools, and at an annual population growth rate of 2.3 per cent, about 1.7 million babies are born every year which means that in a few years time, more individuals will assert ownership over their share of the (limited) educational provisions. To sum it up, there are too many students and too little resources. Albeit the claims the government makes on increasing the allocated budget for education, there is a prevalent difficulty the public school system faces with regard to shortages. Furthermore, state universities and colleges gradually raise tuition so as to have a means of purchasing facilities, thus making tertiary education difficult to access or more often than not, inaccessible to the poor. However, it is worth taking note of what the Aquino administration has done in its five years of governance with regard to classroom-building - the number of classrooms built from 2005 to the first half of the year 2010 has tripled. Additionally, the number of classrooms that were put up from the year 2010 to February 2015 was recorded to be at 86,478, significantly exceeding the 17,305 classrooms that were built from 2005 to 2010 and adequate enough to counterbalance the 66,800 classroom deficit in the year 2010.
In President Aquino's fourth state of the nation address (SONA), he spoke of the government's achievement of zero backlog in facilities such as classrooms, desks and chairs, and textbooks which has addressed the gap in the shortages of teachers, what with 56,085 new teachers for the 61, 510 teaching items in the year 2013. However, the data gathered by the Department of Education shows that during the opening of classes (June 2013), the shortages in classrooms was pegged at 19, 579, 60 million shortages when it came to textbooks, 2.5 million shortages with regard to chairs, and 80, 937 shortages of water and sanitation facilities. Furthermore, 770 schools in Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao were considered overcrowded. The Department of Education also released data stating that 91% of the 61, 510 shortages in teachers was filled up alongside appointments (5, 425 to be specific) are being processed.
There is dispute with regard to the quality of education provided by the system. In the year 2014, the National Achievement Test (NAT) and the National Career Assessment Examination (NCAE) results show that there had been a decline in the quality of Philippine education at the elementary and secondary levels. The students’ performance in both the 2014 NAT and NCAE were excessively below the target mean score. Having said this, the poor quality of the Philippine educational system is manifested in the comparison of completion rates between highly urbanized city of Metro Manila, which is also happens to be not only the country's capital but the largest metropolitan area in the Philippines and other places in the country such as Mindanao and Eastern Visayas. Although Manila is able to boast a primary school completion rate of approximately 100 percent, other areas of the nation, such as Eastern Visayas and Mindanao, hold primary school completion rate of only 30 percent or even less. This kind of statistic is no surprise to the education system in the Philippine context, students who hail from Philippine urban areas have the financial capacity to complete at the very least their primary school education.
The second issue that the Philippine educational system faces is the budget for education. Although it has been mandated by the Philippine Constitution for the government to allocate the highest proportion of its government to education, the Philippines remains to have one of the lowest budget allocations to education among ASEAN countries. The third prevalent issue the Philippine educational system continuously encounters is the affordability of education (or lack thereof). A big disparity in educational achievements is evident across various social groups. Socioeconomically disadvantaged students otherwise known as students who are members of high and low-income poverty-stricken families, have immensely higher drop-out rates in the elementary level. Additionally, most freshmen students at the tertiary level come from relatively well-off families. Lastly, there is a large proportion of mismatch, wherein there exists a massive proportion of mismatch between training and actual jobs. This stands to be a major issue at the tertiary level and it is furthermore the cause of the continuation of a substantial amount of educated yet unemployed or underemployed people.
I have seen with my own eyes many of these schools and thousands of those students. They were not "religious schools," but schools established, supported and maintained by the Government (Spanish). [He visto con mis propios ojos muchas de estas escuelas y miles de esos alumnos. No eran "escuelas parroquiales," sino escuelas creadas, sostenidas y mantenidas por el Gobierno (español).]