Filipinos have deep regard for education. Education occupies a central place in the Philippine economic, political, social and cultural life. It has been strongly viewed as the pillar of national development and a primary avenue for social and economic mobility. A clear evidence of the value placed in education is the proportion of the national government budget going to that sector. The Department of Education is given the highest budget allocation among government agencies each year as required by the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
The 1987 Constitution likewise guarantees the right to education of every Filipino. Laws were passed too to reaffirm this policy of the state: Republic Act 9155 or the Governance of Basic Education Act of 2001 and the Republic Act 6655 or the Free Secondary Education Act. The policy of the State and these laws provide children free and compulsory education in the elementary and high school level. This pertains to six years of free tuition fees for children aged 6 to 11, and free four years of secondary schooling for those aged 12 to 15.
However, despite these legal mechanisms, budget prioritization, and increased access Philippine education has been dogged with issues. Among these issues include high dropout rates, high number of repeaters, low passing grades, lack of particular language skills, failure to adequately respond and address the needs of people with special needs, overcrowded classrooms, and poor teacher performances. These problems in turn resulted to a considerable number of illiterate Filipinos and out of school youths and graduates who are not prepared to work.
*Governance of Basic Education Act of 2001 provides the legal basis for the decentralization of basic education management and governance to the level closest to the learners – school and community. The DepEd started the adoption of policy on Principal Empowerment in mid-1990s when some of the administrative and instructional supervision functions of the divisions were delegated to school heads. The said reform produced improved learning outcomes in several schools as a result of delegating some decision-making functions to the principal. The Philippine Education Structure
The Philippine education system includes both formal and non-formal education. The formal education is a sequential progression of academic schooling at three levels: elementary (grade school), secondary (high school), and tertiary (college and graduate levels). By structure, Philippine education is categorized as either as basic (preschool, elementary, and high school) or tertiary (college, graduate and technical/vocational).
Basic education pertains to optional pre school at age 3 to 5, then six years of elementary schooling for aged 6 to 11, and four years of secondary schooling for aged 12 to 15. Excluding preschool or early childhood care and development, the Philippine formal subsystem of basic education is one of the shortest in Asia Pacific with just 10 years of basic schooling compared to 11 to 12 years in other countries.
Basic Education is being handled by the Department of Education (DepEd) while college is under the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and vocational/technical and non-degree training is under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), which is under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). TESDA runs a variety of skills development center throughout the country. Alhtough overseen by CHED, local colleges, however, are being operated by local governments as indicated in the local government code.
The Department of Education also handles the alternative learning system (ALS) for out-of-school youths and adults through its Bureau of Alternative Learning System. Islamic educational institutions or Madaris (plural of Madrasah) are also under the jurisdiction of DepEd, although most...