Primary Education In The Philippines: An Overview

Primary Education In The Philippines: An Overview

The Philippines, a country in South East Asia, was under American, Japanese and Spanish occupation for long periods in its history. Among all, the American rule had the most profound impact on the country’s history and educational system. During their rule, English became the medium of instruction in The Philippines. The country’s education system was also established during this time. The influence of the United States on the Philippine education system is pervasive till date, and many Filipinos go to the United States for higher studies.

Structure of the Philippine Education System:

In the Philippines, formal education typically lasts for 14 years and follows a 6+4+4 system. The duration of primary school education in the country is 6 years, secondary education lasts for another 4 years, and higher education for another 4 years. One gets a bachelor’s degree on completion of higher education.

Beginning of Primary School Education in the Philippines:

Primary school education in the Philippines, known as Paaralang Elementarya, begins at age 7 and continues for six years till a child reaches age 12. The school year begins in the month of June in the Philippines and ends in March. 40 weeks are covered in all. Some private schools in the country begin classes when children are 6 years old, and primary school education continues for seven years instead of six years.

Reach of Primary School Education in the Philippines:

Compared to other countries in Southeast Asia, the Philippines can boast of a much higher rate of primary school enrollment. However, this rate varies according to the region. Manila is the country’s capital as well as the largest city. Nearly 100% of all children in Manila complete their primary school education. However, in the less developed and poverty stricken regions of the country like the Eastern Visayas and Mindanao, less than 30% of all children complete it. While primary school education is supposed to be compulsory for all Filipino children, there is a wide gap between theory and practice. Unsurprisingly, students from Manila and other large cities have higher mean scores in mathematics and the sciences compared to students from the country’s underdeveloped rural regions.

Grading of Students in Primary School:

Students who succeed in meeting the academic standards of a particular grade are promoted to the next grade at the end of each school year. In each school year, students receive scores four times for each subject. Students are typically promoted based on the cumulative points received by them. A student becomes eligible for passing a grade if they manage to score at least 75% or 75 points out of hundred.

Language of Instruction:

In grades one and two, children usually receive instruction in the local dialect of their particular region. There are over 170 local dialects in the Philippines. They study Filipino and English as second languages. Once they reach third grade, they study Science and Mathematics in English, and the humanities and social science subjects in Filipino. A student is awarded a certificate of graduation on successful completion of all the six grades of primary school. After successful completion of primary school, students are eligible to gain admission in the secondary schools. They are not required to go through any additional entrance examination. However, some of the private schools sometimes conduct various tests for the students looking to get admission there.

Subjects Covered in the Primary School:

In Government schools in the Philippines, the major subjects covered are:

  • Filipino
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Social sciences

Among the optional subjects covered there are:

  • Physical education
  • Music
  • Arts
  • Healthcare

There are also quite a few schools, which offer classes on religion. Instructions on different types of religions are imparted in these classes.

Required Qualification to become a Primary School Teacher in the Philippines:

Someone desiring to become a Primary School Teacher in the Philippines should pass the four year Bachelor of Elementary Education (BEED) program. They can choose to major in one of these fields:

  • Special Education
  • Mathematics
  • English
  • General Education
  • Filipino
  • Science
  • Arts and Physical Education
  • Technology and Home Economics
  • Social Studies

In the fourth year of BEED, the students who are studying the course teach in a primary school. The class is supervised by the course adviser.


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