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The Philippine Educational System

The educational ladder in the Philippines has a 6-4-4 structure, that is, six years of elementary or primary education (some private schools require seven years), four years of high school or secondary education, and another four years of higher education for a degree program (except for some courses like Engineering, Law and Medical Sciences which require five or more years of schooling).

The 1987 Philippine Constitution mandates the establishment of a system of free public education in the elementary and high school levels. The entry age for elementary education is 6 years effective School Year 1995-96; for secondary education, it is 12-15 years; and for higher education, it is 16-19 years. Pre-school education is optional. Some private schools offer seven years of primary education.

There are two types of secondary schools according to curricular offerings: the general high school and the vocational high school. General high schools offer the four-year general academic secondary curriculum while vocational high schools offer the same secondary curriculum with additional vocational courses. Science high schools offer an enriched Science, Mathematics, and English curriculum in addition to the requirements of the secondary education curriculum.

Higher education is divided into collegiate, masters and doctorate levels in various programmes or disciplines. Foreign students are allowed to pursue higher education in some 150 colleges and universities in the Philippines. A list of these schools, colleges and universities authorized to accept foreign students is available in Philippine Embassies and Consulates.

The responsibility of administering, supervising and regulating basic education (elementary and secondary education) is vested in the Department of Education (DepEd) while that of higher education is with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). The post-secondary technical-vocational education is under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) which is also in charge of skills orientation, training and development of out-of-school youth and unemployed community adults.

Schools open in June and close in April. There is a two-week Christmas break before classes resume in January. The Philippines uses a bilingual medium of instruction. Certain subjects are taught in English and the rest in the national language which is Filipino.

Practical Guide to Education in the Philippines

List of Philippine Schools authorized to accept foreign students

Student Visa Requirements

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