The Education Structure of the Philippines

Category: Study Destinations
Posted on September 25, 2019

The Education System Of the Philippines

The education model of the Philippines has been genuinely influenced by the country’s history that includes periods of Spanish, American, and Japanese rule. Significant contributions came during America’s occupation of the country and the most influential language English was first introduced as the language of instruction. The United States has left kind remarks on the Philippines with a perfect impression, and the main goal was to educate the nation’s teachers.

The United States of America continues to influence the Philippines education system, and the country has show progress. Many of its teachers and professors have achieved in getting advanced degrees from the States universities.

Education Structure in the Philippines

The academic school year starts in June through to March( total of 40 weeks). Institutions for higher education follows a semester system (fall semester, winter semester, and summer term). Six years of schooling is compulsory for children from age 7 to age 12. Pilipino or Tagalog and English are the two official languages of instruction and communication. For most of the schools, the language of instruction is English, especially in the urban sector and at the nation’s universities.

The education system is administered, monitored, and overseen by the offices of a federal department at country’s 13 regions - Department of Education. The government funds public schools. Education is offered through formal and non-formal systems. Formal education spans for a total of 14 years and is structured in a 6+4+4 system:

  • Six years of primary school education
  • Four years of secondary school education
  • Four years of higher education


Primary School Education

Six years of Primary school education in the Philippines is compulsory for all students. The structure of the primary level of education has:

A four-year primary cycle

A two-year intermediate period 

Filipino children generally begin school when they are six or seven years old in Public schools. However, private schools start early and typically operate for a seven-year curriculum. Children are promoted from one class to the next after specific achievement standards are met. Subject-wise ratings are done, and to level up, pupils need at least 75 points out of 100. 

Class 1-2: local dialect (170 nationally, language choose based on the region in which the children reside) is the medium of instruction in Schools. English and Pilipino are second languages.

Class 3-6: Mathematics and science are taught in English, and the social sciences and humanities are taught in Pilipino

A certificate of graduation is awarded from the school they attended after completing all the six classes of primary school.

Subjects in Primary section includes;

  • Pilipino
  • English
  • Local dialect
  • Mathematics
  • Health
  • Science
  • Civics
  • Culture
  • Music and art
  • Physical education
  • Home economics
  • Livelihood

Things to know

Primary school also introduce Makabayan. The Department of Education has made this study essential.

What is Makabayan?

  • It is a learning area which helps to serve as a practice environment for holistic learning.
  • To serve at an area in which students develop a healthy personal and national self-identity
  • These major construction would consist of modes of integrative teaching which will allow students to process and synthesize.
  • It widens a variety of skills and values that includes cultural, vocational, economic, aesthetic, ethical, and political.


Secondary School Education

Secondary school education is not compulsory in the Philippines, but it is widely attended by urbaner. At this level, private schools enroll students at a higher percentage than any other elementary level.

Like in primary school, secondary school pupils are rated for four times every year. Students who cannot earn a rating of 75 percent in any subject should repeat that subject. After receiving a 75 percent or better in all topics, students get a secondary school graduation certificate.

There are two types of schools: 

The general secondary schools

General secondary schools enroll approximately about 90 percent of high schoolers and, the vocational secondary school students. The curriculum consists of;

  • Language or communicative arts in English and Pilipino
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Social sciences (including anthropology)
  • Philippine history and government
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Sociology

Students also take part in youth development training that includes;

  • Physical education
  • Health education
  • Army training
  • Music
  • Practical arts in entrepreneurship, home economics, fisheries, agriculture, industrial arts, etc.
  • Values education
  • Electives in academic and vocational pathways

Vocational Secondary Schools

Students who wish to study at vocational secondary schools require to attend and pass the core academic subjects along with the exposure to a higher concentration of technical and vocational subjects. Vocational schools offer technical and vocational instruction in different fields:

  • Agriculture
  • Fishery
  • Trade or technical
  • Home industry
  • Non-traditional courses with a specialization. 

The types of vocational fields that are conducted at vocational schools depend on the region in which the school is located. For example, the fishery is one of the most popular professional fields offered in the coastal area. The programs offered at vocational secondary schools will have a combination of theory and practical courses.

Science Secondary Schools — This type of school enrolls students who are good in subjects like mathematics, science, or technology at the primary school level. The Philippine Science school is wholly dedicated to the public system which operates as a part of the agency of the Philippine Department of Science and Technology. On completion of a minimum of four years of education at secondary schools, students receive a diploma or Katibayan. They also get (Katunayan) or the secondary school Certificate of Graduation by the Department of Education.


Higher Education

The degree structure of university education in the Philippines is similar to that of the United States. A high school Certificate of Graduation or the results of the National Secondary Achievement Test (NSAT) is required for admission or entry to colleges and universities. Some universities conduct their entrance examinations.

There are three-degree stages of higher education in the Philippines:

  • Bachelor - Batsilyer
  • Master - Masterado
  • Ph.D. - Doktor sa Pilospiya

Bachelor Degrees - Batsilyer

Bachelor degree programs run for a minimum of four years in duration where the first two years are entirely on the study of general education courses for 63 credits. A major is chosen by the student in the final two years. There are bachelor degree programs, which take up to five years to complete.

Master Degrees

Master degrees in the Philippines runs for two years for full-time students along with a minor thesis or comprehensive examination. Students must have had completed a bachelor’s degree in a related field, with an average grade equal to or with a good percentage — some professional degrees like law and medicine span more than average two years of study.

Ph.D. Degrees

Ph.D. degrees in the Philippines, which is also known as a Doctor of Philosophy, has a great opportunity of coursework, as well as a dissertation that may comprise from one-fifth to one-third of the final grade. Admission to Ph.D. programs is very selective, and it requires a  Master’s degree with at least a B average.  Ph.D. programs span for two to four years beyond the Master’s degree. The faculty must approve topics for dissertations at the university at which the student is studying.


Grading system

  • 95%-100% Excellent
  • 91%-94% Superior
  • 88%-90% Very Good
  • 86%-87% Good
  • 84%-85 Very Satisfactory
  • 82%-83% High Average
  • 79%-80% Average
  • 77%-78% Fair
  • 75% - 76% Pass
  • 58%-74.99 Conditional if Pass/Failed
  • 58.49 below Failing Final Grade
  • 5A - Failure Due To Absences
  • 5W - Withdrawal
  • INC - Incomplete
  • DRP - Dropped

We hope that the information above will equip you with the necessary knowledge and idea of the education system of the Philippines.

Bhumika Sharma
Bhumika Sharma

Bhumika has more than 4 years of experience as a software engineer. Having done MCA from Dayananda sagar Institutions, Bangalore and BCA from Sikkim Manipal University, Sikkim, she found her calling as the head researcher at PlanAll. In her free time, her 5 year old daughter, Mishka, keeps her busy and happy.

Vidhita Sharma
October 07, 2019 - 08:42am
Vidhita Sharma October 07, 2019 - 08:42am

Thank you for this useful information.

Kavya Chaudhari
September 30, 2019 - 08:01am
Kavya Chaudhari September 30, 2019 - 08:01am

Thanks for sharing helpful info with us.

Anchal Chabra
September 27, 2019 - 11:23am
Anchal Chabra September 27, 2019 - 11:23am

Your blog will really help me. Thanks for sharing.

Abdul Hamit
September 27, 2019 - 11:16am
Abdul Hamit September 27, 2019 - 11:16am

Appreciated.....Really useful info.

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