The Philippine Educational System

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Two major subsystems – formal and non-formal. The Philippine educational system is composed of two major subsystems: the formal and the non-formal. The formal subsystem consists of sequential academic schooling at three levels. The first two levels are referred to as the basic education level, consisting of six years of primary or elementary education and four years of high school or secondary education. Basic education is intended to provide functional, scientific and social literacy. The Philippine government, through its public schools and the voucher system, provides free education for children up to the secondary level.

The post-secondary and tertiary levels include one to three years of technical/vocational education and degree courses requiring a minimum of four years of college/university education.

The three levels of schooling just described focus for the most part on providing academic training and scholastic competence. Any organized and systematic learning conducted outside the formal educational system, whether providing certification or not, is referred to in the Philippines as non-formal education. Non-formal education addresses the needs of those who are not able to participate in the formal subsystem, most of whom may have dropped out of the formal system due to poverty. The organization, specific activities, and delivery methods associated with non-formal education are usually designed to meet the expressed needs of distinct clientele, such as primary and high school drop-outs, unemployed adults, and other marginal, dislocated, or disabled groups.

Institutionalized in 1977 with the creation of the Office of the Undersecretary for Non-Formal Education under the former Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, the non-formal education program is still provided separately and apart from the formal system. Efforts are being made to provide clear entry points to higher levels of formal education through a system of equivalency and...