Spanish Period

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SPANISH COLONY
Under Spanish rule there were established in these islands a system of primary schools. The Spanish regulations provided that there should be one male and one female primary school-teacher for each 5,000 inhabitants. It is clearly shown in the report of the first Philippine Commission that even this inadequate provision was never carried out. They say: “Taking the entire population at 8,000,000, we find that there is but one teacher to each 4,179 inhabitants.” There were no schoolhouses, no modern furniture, and, until the Americans came, there were no good text-books. The schools were and are now held in the residences of the teachers, or in buildings hired by the municipalities and used by the principals as dwellings. In some of the schools there were wooden benches and tables, but it was not at all unusual to find a school without any seats for the pupils. In these primary schools, reading, writing, sacred history, and the catechism were taught. Except in a very few towns, the four elementary arithmetical processes were attempted, and in a few towns a book on geography was used as a reading book. Girls were taught embroidery and needlework. From the beginning the schools were entirely under the supervision of the religious orders, who were disposed to emphasize secondary and higher education for a few pupils rathe than to further and promote the primary education of the masses. The result of this policy is that a few persons have stood out prominently as educated Filipinos, while the great mass of people have either not been educated at all or furnished only the rudiments of knowledge, acquiring merely the mechanical processes of reading and writing. The little school instruction the average Filipino has had has not tended to broaden his intelligence or to give him power of independent thought. One observes in the schools a tendency on the part of the pupils to give back, like phonographs, what they have heard or read or memorized, without seeming to have thought for themselves. As a rule, they possess mechanical skill, and they excel in writing and drawing. The Spaniards made very little use of this peculiar capacity. ...It is stated on good authority that when the Spaniards came here several of the tribes of the Philippine Islands could read and write their own language. At the present time, after three hundred years of Spanish domination, the bulk of the people cannot do his. The Spanish minister for the colonies, in a report made December 5, 1870, points out that, by the process of absorption, matters of education had become concentrated in the hands of the religious orders. He says: “While every acknowledgement should be made of their services in earlier times, their narrow, exclusively religious system of education, and their imperviousness to modern or external ideas and influences, which every day become more and more evident, rendered secularization of instruction necessary." ...It has been stated that in 1897 here were in these islands 2,167 public schools. The ineffectiveness of these schools will be seen when it is remembered that a school under the Spanish regime was a strictly sectarian, ungraded school, with no prescribed course of study and no definite standards for each year, and that they were in charge of duly certificated but hardly professionally trained or progressive teachers, housed in unsuitable and unsanitary buildings.[33] hose numbers led some people to conclude that less than 6% of the population were attending schools. However that assumption was completely misleading, because it takes into account all of the population, including babies and old people, when in reality public school systems are meant primarily for children and teenagers. To calculate the percentage of children on scholar age, it must be taken into account the number of children in Elementary School age (ages 5 through 13) and teenagers in High School age (ages 14 through 17). That would yield a total...
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