The system of education in the Philippines was patterned both from the educational systems of Spain and the United States. However, after the liberation of the Philippines in 1946, the system has changed radically. The Department of Education (or DepEd) administers the whole educational system, which also includes the allocation of funds utilized for school services and equipment (such as books, school chairs, etc.), recruitment of teachers for all public schools in the Philippines, and the supervision and organization of the school curricula. The former education system of the Philippines is composed of 6 years of elementary education starting at the age of 6 or 7, and 4 years of high school education starting at the age of 12 or 13. In this system, education is not compulsory. However, since June 4, 2012, DepEd started to implement the new K-12 educational system, which includes the new curricula for all schools. In this system, education is now compulsory. All public and private schools in the Philippines must start classes from a date mandated by the Department of Education (usually every first Monday of June for public schools only), and must end after each school completes the mandated 200-day school calendar of DepEd (usually around the third week of March to the second week of April).
In pre-Spanish times, education was still decentralized. Children were provided more vocational training but less academics in their houses by their parents and in the houses of their tribal tutors. They were using a unique system of writing known as the baybayin. When the Spanish arrived in Manila, they were surprised to find a population with a literacy rate higher than the literacy rate of Madrid.
During the early Spanish period most education was carried out by the religious orders. The friars, recognizing the value of a literate indigenous population, built printing presses to produce material in baybayin. The church and the school both worked together. The Spanish missionaries established schools immediately after reaching the islands. The Augustinians opened a school in Cebu in 1565. The Franciscans, in 1577, immediately took to the task of teaching improving literacy, aside from the teaching of new industrial and agricultural techniques. The Jesuits followed in 1581, also by the Dominicans in 1587, which they started a school in their first mission at Bataan. In 1590, the Universidad de San Ignacio was founded in Manila by the Jesuits, and after the suppression of the Jesuits was incorporated into the University of Santo Tomás, College of Medicine and Pharmacy. The first book printed in the Philippines dates back to 1590. In 1610, Tomas Pinpin, a Filipino printer, writer and publisher, who is sometimes referred as the "Patriarch of Filipino Printing", wrote his famous Librong Pagaaralan nang manga Tagalog nang Uicang Castilla, which was meant to help Filipinos learn the Spanish language. In 1640, the Universidad de San Felipe de Austria was established in Manila. It was the first public university in the Philippines. On April 28, 1611, the University of Santo Tomás was founded in Manila as the Colegio de Nuestra Señora del Santísimo Rosario. By the end of the 16th century, several religious orders had established charity hospitals all over the archipelago and provided the bulk of this public service. These hospitals also became the setting for rudimentary scientific research work on pharmacy and medicine. The Jesuits also founded the Colegio de San José in 1601 and took over the management in what became Escuela Municipal in 1859 (which was later renamed as Ateneo Municipal de Manila in 1865; today as Ateneo de Manila University). The Dominicans on their part founded the Colegio de San Juan de Letran in 1620 in Manila.
The defeat of Spain following the Spanish-American War let to the short-lived independence and establishment of the First...