Formal education in the Philippines

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Formal education in the Philippines follows the educational ladder of 6+4+4 structure, (i.e., six years of elementary education, four years of secondary education, and four years of higher education for a degree program), except for some higher education programs which require a longer period of study to complete a degree, covering a total of 14 years for elementary, secondary, and tertiary education.


Structure of formal education

Formal Education Age of student Number of years Levels
(Grade School)
6 to 11 years old 6 Grade 1 to 6 (Public)
Grade 1 to 7 (for some private schools)
(High School)
12 to 15 years old 4 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th year
(College or University)
16 - 20 or 21 years old 4 to 5 1st, 2nd, 3rd and to 4th or 5th year

Preschool education

Preschool education is optional for children 3 to 4 years old; some private organizations and some public schools offer nursery, kindergarten and preparatory classes. This is not prerequisite for entrance to grade one for the elementary level but most of the private schools require preschool of kindergarten education before admission. On the other hand, elementary education is required for children six to eleven years old and some private exclusive schools offer seven years of elementary education.

Elementary level

Elementary level provides basic education traditionally until the sixth grade while other schools offer until the seventh. It is divided into two categories: primary level which covers first to fourth grades and the intermediate level which covers fifth to sixth grade or until the seventh grade.

Secondary level

The secondary level covers a period of four years which includes learning and training in basic employable skills.

Students receive a certificate of graduation or diploma for the successful completion of elementary and secondary education. Both levels are prerequisites for pursuing tertiary education.

Tertiary level

Tertiary education provide courses of studies geared towards degrees in academic/technical disciplines and professions. It covers a wide scope of curriculum from technical/vocational to professional degree programs. The technical/vocational program is usually taken between one to three years of schooling while professional degree programs requires four to five years of schooling.


See also



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