Education in the Philippines has undergone several stages of development from the pre-Spanish times to the present. In meeting the needs of the society, education serves as focus of emphases/priorities of the leadership at certain periods/epochs in our national struggle as a race.
As early as in pre-Magellanic times, education was informal, unstructured, and devoid of methods. Children were provided more vocational training and less academics (3 Rs) by their parents and in the houses of tribal tutors.
The pre-Spanish system of education underwent major changes during the Spanish colonization. The tribal tutors were replaced by the Spanish Missionaries. Education was religion-oriented. It was for the elite, especially in the early years of Spanish colonization. Access to education by the Filipinos was later liberalized through the enactment of the Educational Decree of 1863 which provided for the establishment of at least one primary school for boys and girls in each town under the responsibility of the municipal government; and the establishment of a normal school for male teachers under the supervision of the Jesuits. Primary instruction was free and the teaching of Spanish was compulsory. Education during that period was inadequate, suppressed, and controlled.
The defeat of Spain by American forces paved the way for Aguinaldo's Republic under a Revolutionary Government. The schools maintained by Spain for more than three centuries were closed for the time being but were reopened on August 29, 1898 by the Secretary of Interior. The Burgos Institute in Malolos, the Military Academy of Malolos, and the Literary University of the Philippines were established. A system of free and compulsory elementary education was established by the Malolos Constitution.
An adequate secularized and free public school system during the first decade of American rule was established upon the recommendation of the Schurman Commission. Free primary instruction that trained the people for the duties of citizenship and avocation was enforced by the Taft Commission per instructions of President McKinley. Chaplains and non-commissioned officers were assigned to teach using English as the medium of instruction.
A highly centralized public school system was installed in 1901 by the Philippine Commission by virtue of Act No. 74. The implementation of this Act created a heavy shortage of teachers so the Philippine Commission authorized the Secretary of Public Instruction to bring to the Philippines 600 teachers from the U.S.A. They were the Thomasites. YEAR| OFFICIAL NAME OF THE DEPARTMENT| OFFICIAL TITULAR HEAD| LEGAL BASES| 1863| Superior Commission of Primary Instruction| Chairman| Educational Decree of 1863| 1901-1916| Department of Public Instruction| General Superintendent| Act. No. 74 of the Philippine Commission, Jan. 21, 1901| 1916-1942| Department of Public Instruction| Secretary| Organic Act Law of 1916 (Jones Law)| 1942-1944| Department of Education, Health and Public Welfare| Commissioner| Renamed by the Japanese Executive Commission, June 11, 1942| 1944| Department of Education, Health and Public Welfare| Minister| Renamed by Japanese Sponsored Philippine Republic| 1944| Department of Public Instruction| Secretary| Renamed by Japanese Sponsored Philippine Republic| 1945-1946| Department of Public Instruction and Information| Secretary| Renamed by the Commonwealth Government| 1946-1947| Department of Instruction| Secretary| Renamed by the Commonwealth Government| 1947-1975| Department of Education| Secretary| E.O. No. 94 October 1947 (Reorganization Act of 1947)| 1975-1978| Department of Education and Culture| Secretary| Proc. No. 1081, September 24, 1972| 1978-1984| Ministry of Education and Culture| Minister| P.D. No. 1397, June 2, 1978|...