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Philippines Education Facts


The Philippine government has invested more in higher education, where quality is relatively good, than in primary schools. However, the differences are large between different regions and in rural areas teaching is often neglected. In 2013, the government promised to invest over US $ 580 million on building new schools. But the severe typhoon that hit the country later that year meant that at least 2,500 schools were completely or partially destroyed (see Current Policy).

There are major differences between schools in different regions and in rural areas, teaching is often neglected. In the cities, large classes create problems (on average 40-50 students in each class). In their quarters, students study in shifts to accommodate everyone, and there is a great lack of textbooks.

  • COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Philippines, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.

The children start six-year primary school at the age of seven. It is followed by a four-year higher stage that has both theoretical and professional lines. There are both state and private schools. In 2013, compulsory schooling was extended from six to nine years. Preschool was also compulsory, and the higher level of the state schools was extended by two years. From 2017, it is intended that the compulsory schooling should be extended to 13 years. The state elementary schools are formally free of charge, but parents have to pay for school uniforms, textbooks and transport.

Most children start school and now about 85 percent of students complete all six years. But only 60 percent continue to the next stage and one in four jumps off prematurely. More girls than boys are completing their studies. There are a number of reasons why students stop attending school, not least that they have to contribute to the family’s livelihood, but also that they have a long school path because high school is so few. The government is trying, without much success, to counteract this by offering financial support to poor families in order for their children to continue to study.

The education system of the Philippines has traditionally promoted bilingualism and multilingualism. In 2013, a new law was passed that allowed teaching in Tagalog and other local languages ​​from the preschool and during the first three years of compulsory school, and then gradually transitioned to English. English and Filipino are compulsory school subjects. English is the main language at the higher education level and at the university level.

Religious education is allowed in schools, but parents must give their consent. In 2012, there were over 600 registered Muslim schools. A process is underway to integrate the Muslim schools into the national education system. Muslim girls have the right to wear a headscarf, hijab, at school. In Mindanao, it is common for Muslim students to attend Catholic schools as well. With the peace agreement with the separatist group Milf 2014 (see Muslim separatists), the government has promised more money to Muslim schools.

There are a large number of universities and colleges. In Manila, there are a number of elite universities that are considered to maintain good quality in their education. The fees for studying at universities can be high, but in 2017 a law was passed that makes education at state universities and colleges free of charge.

Many families make great efforts to ensure that their children receive a good education. However, unemployment among academics is quite high. However, more girls than boys are moving on to higher education.

  • Andyeducation: Introduction to education system in Philippines, including compulsory schooling and higher education.


Proportion of children starting primary school

95.0 percent (2016)

Number of pupils per teacher in primary school

29 (2016)

Reading and writing skills

96.4 percent (2013)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP

13.2 percent (2009)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget

13.2 percent (2009)



Grace Poe is not accepted as a candidate

At the beginning of the month, the Election Commission rejected Grace Poe’s candidacy in the presidential election, citing her failure to prove she was born in the Philippines (she was found abandoned in a church, and adopted six years later by a movie star couple, the father was Fernando Poe Jr. in the 2004 presidential election. She also lived in the United States for many years, becoming an American citizen, but resigned to become a Filipino citizen in 2006. Grace Poe appeals the decision.


Income from Filipinos abroad is declining

New statistics show that the money that Filipinos working abroad send home, so-called referrals, has been reduced for the first time since 2003.


Grace Poe’s favorite for the presidential election

Speculation about who will succeed Aquino in the presidential post is gaining momentum. In the polls, Senator Grace Poe is the best, despite not belonging to any of the political dynasties (though she has close contacts with President Aquino’s uncle Eduardo Cojuangco). Even Jejomar Binay, who comes from one of the large families, has set his sights on the presidential post, as has Manuel “Mar” Roxas, grandson of the first president of the Philippines. About two-thirds of the members of the sitting Congress belong to one of the political dynasties, whose interest in issues affecting most ordinary Filipinos, such as creating new jobs and improving social services, is not so great. At the end of the month, Davao City’s mayor also joins,


NPA leaders are arrested

At the end of the month, a senior NPA leader, Ernesto Lorenzo, is arrested by security forces.

Aquinos supports Roxas in the presidential election

President Aquino announces his support for Interior Minister Manuel Roxas as the Liberal Party’s candidate in the 2016 presidential election.

Murder suspect dies

Andal Ampatuan Sr., one of the main suspects of the mass murder of a rival clan and a large number of journalists in 2009, dies in a hospital.


Vice President Binay resigns

Jejomar Binay resigns as Vice President on June 22. It is happening at the same time as the President ordered the Justice Department to order an investigation into the charges of corruption against him.

Disarmament of Milf begins

In the middle of the month, 75 Milf members leave their arms, in a ceremony that marks the next step in the peace process between the government and the former rebel movement. 145 former rebels are now to be integrated into the government army. At the same time, they receive 25,000 Filipino pesos (over $ 500) to be used for education and living.


The economy is slowing down

Statistics show that the Philippine economy has slowed down in the first quarter of 2015. Economic growth is just over 5 percent, which is the lowest figure since the last quarter of 2011. Behind the downturn is reduced demand for both agricultural and industrial goods from the countries of Southeast Asia.

Mindanao offers refuge for refugees

As a result of international appeals in connection with a boat refugee crisis in the Andaman Sea off Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Bangladesh, the Muslim Autonomous Region of Mindanao offers Muslim Rohingya refugees a refuge. Rohingya escapes repression in Buddhist-dominated Myanmar in search of security in Muslim countries in the region, mainly Indonesia and Malaysia.

New tours in the conflict around the Sprat Islands

A Philippine general announces that the Philippines will begin with tourist trips to Pagasa (also called Thitu, or Zhong Ye Dao in Chinese), which belongs to the disputed Sprat Islands. At the same time, China has initiated a series of construction projects on other islands in the Archipelago Act.


Aquino warns of China

President Aquino says that China’s increased activities in the South China Sea are increasingly alarming, criticizing sharply the outside world for lack of response to what China is doing there. The statement is being made at the same time as the US and the Philippines are conducting a major joint military exercise in the region.


Try to stop execution of Filipino woman in Indonesia

The Philippines is acting to stop the execution of a Filipino woman sentenced to death for drug smuggling in Indonesia. The woman was arrested in 2010 and carried 2.6 kilos of cocaine.

Aquino drops in support

The support for President Aquino rages in opinion polls from 59 percent in November 2014 to 38 percent at the end of March 2015. At the same time, Aquino is calling on Congress to approve the bill that will pave the way for increased Muslim self-government in parts of Mindanao. He warns that otherwise the Philippines may start counting sacks. According to a Senate report, the United States played an important role in the failed rescue against Milf at the beginning of the year (see January 2015). Senator Grace Poe questions whether the Philippine army would have embarked on such a risky operation without the United States and the $ 5 million reward that would go to those who could harm Zukkifli bin Hir.

Murder suspects are released on bail

March 10

Sajid Ampatuan, one of the main suspects in the 2009 Maguindan massacre, is released on bail. The country’s justice minister says the prosecutor will appeal the decision. In the past, 16 police officers suspected of involvement in the deed have been granted bail, but they remain in custody because they were unable to pay the bail.


Appeal against Abu Sayyaf

Government troops strike against the Islamist group Abu Sayyaf on the island of Jolo. At least 24 rebels and two government soldiers are killed in the fighting.

Demonstration in support of new laws for Muslim autonomy

February 10

Thousands of people are demonstrating on Mindanao to urge Congress to reconsider its decision to postpone the treatment of new laws for the new Muslim self-government on the island.

Military operations against Muslim outbreak group Biff

At the beginning of the month, Milf conducts an operation aimed at the breakout group Biff in North Cotabato. Tens of thousands of civilians are forced to flee. Later, the government army also intervenes against Biff, which has threatened to attack the provincial capital.


Abu Sayyaf is suspected of bombing

At least two people are killed in a bomb attack in Zamboanga for which the militant group Abu Sayyaf is suspected.

Violence on Mindanao triggers Aquino’s “worst crisis”

The murders of the 44 special police officers lead the Congress to postpone a session where laws for the new self-government at Mindanao would be discussed. Two senators withdraw their support for the bill. This is described as Aquino’s worst crisis since coming to power. The Philippines’ support for handing over more power to Milf is reported to have fallen. Several MEPs demand that the president resign. Criticism against Aquino comes, among other things, from Catholic bishops and Christian leaders.

New outbreak of violence in Mindanao

Forty-four special police officers and an unknown number of Milf and Biff rebels are killed when an action force raids, called Plan Exodus, against a Milf-controlled village in the Maguindanao province of Mindanao. Seven civilians are also killed. The police command is in search of two wanted terrorists, a Malaysian man and a Filipino, who are believed to be in the village. According to Milf, the rebels are resisting because the police have not informed the council in advance. The Malaysian man, Zukkifli bin Hir, is said to have been killed in connection with the raid, while the other must have managed to escape.

Pope’s visit attracts millions of Filipinos

Pope Francis visits the Philippines for five days in mid-January. Despite bad weather, six million Filipinos are estimated at an outdoor worship service in Manila. During his visit, the Pope spoke several times about the need to reduce poverty and inequality. A visit to the city of Tacloban that was hit hard by the typhoon Haiyan in 2013 will be shorter than planned due to storms. The papal visit has the repercussions when the government recognizes that hundreds of homeless and homeless people have been removed from the streets of Manila for the papal visit. The homeless were taken to a first class hotel where they were allowed to stay as long as the Pope was in the country. Then they were thrown out onto the street again. Requirements are made for an investigation into what has happened.

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