Education in the Philippines
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 1945. 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.
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 Islamnic 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.
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 tradtionally 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 its' 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).
Tertiary schools in the Philippines are either colleges or universities. Colleges are tertiary institutions that typically offer one or few specialized courses, for example, in Science or in Liberal Arts, whereas Universities are tertiary institutions that offer several courses, which are often varied.
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 still, many still complete their tertiary education in the country.
Some noteworthy universities 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 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.
Chinese schools add two additional subjects to the core curriculum, Hôa-gí (Chinese grammar and literature) and Tiĉng-hàp (Chinese communication). Some add two more, namely, Chinese History and Chinese Culture. Still, other Chinese schools called cultural schools, offer Confucian classics and Chinese history as part of their curriculum.