EDUCATION

Philippines Table of Contents In 1991 the education system was reaching a relatively large part of the population, at least at the elementary level. According to 1988 Philippine government figures, which count as literate everyone who has completed four years of elementary school, the overall literacy rate was 88 percent, up from 82.6 percent in 1970. Literacy rates were virtually the same for women and men. Elementary education was free and, in the 1987 academic year, was provided to some 15 million schoolchildren, 96.4 percent of the age-group. High school enrollment rates were approximately 56 percent nationwide but were somewhat lower on Mindanao and in Eastern Visayas region. Enrollment in institutions of higher learning exceeded 1.6 million. Filipinos have a deep regard for education, which they view as a primary avenue for upward social and economic mobility. From the onset of United States colonial rule, with its heavy emphasis on mass public education, Filipinos internalized the American ideal of a democratic society in which individuals could get ahead through attainment of a good education. Middle-class parents make tremendous sacrifices in order to provide secondary and higher education for their children. Philippine education institutions in the late 1980s varied in quality. Some universities were excellent, others were considered "diploma mills" with low standards. Public elementary schools often promoted students regardless of achievement, and students, especially those in poor rural areas, had relatively low test scores. The proportion of the national government budget going to education has varied from a high of 31.53 percent in 1957 to a low of 7.61 percent in 1981. It stood at 15.5 percent in 1987. The peso amount, however, has steadily increased, and the lower percentage reflects the effect of a larger total government budget. Although some materials were still in short supply, by 1988 the school system was able to provide one textbook per subject per student. In 1991 the Philippine government and universities had numerous scholarship programs to provide students from low-income families with access to education. The University of the Philippines followed a "socialized tuition" plan whereby students from higher income families paid higher fees and students from the lowest income families were eligible for free tuition plus a living allowance.

Historical Background
Many of the Filipinos who led the revolution against Spain in the 1890s were ilustrados.Ilustrados, almost without exception, came from wealthy Filipino families that could afford to send them to the limited number of secondary schools (colegios) open to non-Spaniards. Some of them went on to the University of Santo Tomás in Manila or to Spain for higher education. Although these educational opportunities were not available to most Filipinos, the Spanish colonial government had initiated a system of free, compulsory primary education in 1863. By 1898 enrollment in schools at all levels exceeded 200,000

more than 1.000 American teachers. These problems. although they did not completely succeed in Americanizing their wards. reflected overcrowded classrooms. As a rule. quality became a major concern in the 1970s and early 1980s. After independence in 1946. but the proportion rose sharply to about 63 percent at the secondary level and approximately 85 percent at the tertiary level. Vocational education in the late 1980s was receiving greater emphasis then in the past. whereas the best performance was in the Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog regions. Programs aimed at improving work productivity and family income could alleviate some of the problems in education. About a third of the private school tertiary-level enrollment was in religiously affiliated . such as the high dropout rates that reflected. and incidence of poverty. Traditionally.S. A survey of elementary-school graduates taken in the mid-1970s indicated that many of the respondents had failed to absorb much of the required course work and revealed major deficiencies in reading. at least in part. Therefore. Almost immediately. Between 1901 and 1902. instilled in the Filipinos a deep faith in the general value of education. had a literacy rate of 65 percent as compared with 90 percent for Central Luzon and 95 percent for Metro Manila. Only about 6 percent of elementary students were in private schools. which transported the original groups to the Philippines. Neither the proprietary nor the religious schools received state aid except for occasional subsidies for special programs. such as poor teacher performance. educational attainment. in turn. and low wages. and there were also proprietary (privately owned. fanned out across the archipelago to open barangay schools. family and work needs. Thomas. Filipinos have tended to equate the attainment of education directly with escape from manual labor.students. mathematics. nonsectarian) schools. and language. families with incomes below the poverty line could not afford to educate their children beyond elementary school. Thus it has not been easy to win general popular support for vocational training. enrollments began to mushroom from a total of only 150. Catholic and Protestant churches sponsored schools. for example. the government picked up this emphasis on education and opened schools in even the remotest areas of the archipelago during the 1950s and the 1960s. Other problems. resulted in poor student performance and high repeater rates and required direct action. Education in the Modern Period The expansion in the availability of education was not always accompanied by qualitative improvements. They taught in English and. Western Mindanao Region. Performance was poorest among respondents from Mindanao and only somewhat better for those from the Visayan Islands. lack of particular language skills. known as "Thomasites" for the S. Data for the 1970s show significant differences in literacy for different regions of the country and between rural and urban areas. Other data revealed a direct relationship between literacy levels.000 in 1900-1901 to just under 1 million in elementary schools two decades later.

The emphasis on English was followed by a shift toward local languages (of which there were eighty-seven). classes taught by Chinese teachers offered instruction in Chinese language and literature. but little has been heard about it since. with simultaneous instruction in English and Pilipino in later grades. and Spanish. but the majority of the students and faculty were foreign. In 1990 the education system offered six years of elementary instruction followed by four years of high school. Another policy issue was the choice of a language of instruction. and Sports. In 1990 over 10. at least in official directives. at least in theory. English. since then.schools. secondary. all instruction was in English. English was. Financing for public schools came from the national treasury. mostly American. although others were admitted as space was available. One of the most serious problems in the Philippines in the 1980s and early 1990s concerned the large number of students who completed college but then could not find a job commensurate with their educational skills.000 foreign students studied in the Philippines. Culture. Pilipino. Classes in the morning covered the usual Filipino curriculum and were taught by Filipino teachers. although there were three schools for international students--Brent in Baguio and Faith Academy and the International School in Manila. Children entered primary school at the age of seven. the language of instruction from first grade through college. and a bilingual--English and Pilipino--program was adopted. One example was the community school program that sought to involve schools in agricultural improvement. It was pushed vigorously in the 1950s. has been increasingly emphasized. which had direct supervision over public schools and set mandatory policies for private schools as well. Before independence in 1946. the national language. Faith Academy served primarily the children of missionaries. In 1991 all education was governed by the Department of Education. Until independence. Education policies fluctuated constantly and were likely to be changed before teachers became accustomed to them. Instruction was bilingual in Pilipino and English. these trained personnel . mostly in the regular system. District supervisors exercised direct administrative oversight of principals and teachers in their district. If properly utilized. Bureaus of elementary. and higher education supervised functional and regional offices. These schools had some Filipino students and faculty. In the afternoon. Until the compulsory study of Spanish was abolished in 1987. in 1974 schools were told to drop the local language. Then. Areas of disagreement among Filipinos produced educational change as one faction or another gained control of a highly centralized public education administration. There was a separate office for nonformal education. Chinese in the Philippines have established their own system of elementary and secondary schools. although localities could supplement national appropriations. although it was often claimed that English was being slighted. secondary and highereducation students had to contend with three languages--Pilipino. which served students not working for a graduation certificate from a conventional school.

this group could be a major source of discontent. .could facilitate economic development. but when left idle or forced to take jobs beneath their qualifications.

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