Education in Manila

School system in Manila

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The Philippine education system is overseen by the Department of Education. The Field Offices in each Philippine region are responsible for implementing policy for public education at a regional level.

Education is mandatory from ages 5 to 17. Students may continue their college or university education for another four years up until age 21.

The Philippine school system implements a K to 12 Program. The program covers 13 years of basic education with the following key stages:

  • Kindergarten
  • Grades 1 to 6 (Primary Education)
  • Grades 7 to 10 (Junior High School)
  • Grades 11 and 12 (Senior High School)

Senior High School is two years of specialized upper secondary education. Students may choose a specialization based on their aptitude, interests and school capacity. Students can choose their specialization from three tracks:

  • Academic which is further divided into three strands:
    • Business, Accountancy, Management
    • Humanities, Education, Social Sciences
    • Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics
  • Technical-Vocational-Livelihood
  • Sports and Arts

Students will get an elementary diploma upon finishing Grade 6, a junior high school diploma upon finishing Grade 10 and a senior high school diploma upon finishing Grade 12.

A student who finished a Technical-Vocational-Livelihood track may obtain a National Certificate Level II provided he/she passes the competency-based assessment of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). This improves the employability of graduates in fields such as Agriculture, Electronics and Trade.

A full 13 years of education will be required for entry into colleges or universities.

For more information on the K to 12 Program, you may refer here.

Private School

Private schools can offer an elevated environment of learning for some students. It is important to visit a school to determine the best fit for you and your child. Most private schools have open days for prospective parents, but it is wise to ask to make an appointment to visit on a normal working day. Questions you may want to ask:

  • Special needs: Does the school have facilities and suitably qualified and experienced staff to look after any special needs your child may have? Is there a program for gifted and talented children or special provision for those with physical disabilities?
  • Curriculum: Is it broad and balanced? Will your child have an adequate range of options? Are there specialist teachers?
  • The staff: How well qualified are they? Is there reasonable staff stability? Do the teachers stay long in post?
  • Extra activities: Does the school offer an exciting extra-curricular activities program that will stimulate your child's interest?


Fees range from school to school so make sure to compare. There are occasional grants and scholarships for worthy students but these are competitive. Inquire at the school for opportunities.

Extra activities like school uniforms or school trips may require additional fees.


Students normally enter university at age 17 and a Bachelor's degree is usually awarded after four years of study. Some Engineering courses take five years to complete.


The following degrees are awarded upon finishing a course:

  • Undergraduate
    • B.Sc. (Bachelor of Science)
    • B.A. (Bachelor of Arts)
    • B.Ed. (Bachelor in Education)
  • Master's Degree
    • M.Sc. (Master of Science)
    • M.A. (Master of Arts)
  • Doctoral Degree
    • Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Colleges and universities also offer graduation with honors - cum laude (with honor), magna cum laude (with great honor) and summa cum laude (with highest honor).


Admission requirements are different for each college or university. Most colleges or universities require an applicant to fill up and submit an application form along with a copy of his/her permanent school record containing grades from the last three high school years before the year of graduation. Some universities also require an applicant to take and pass an entrance exam.

Below is a list of some top universities in Manila:

  • University of the Philippines Diliman - This is the premier state university in the Philippines located in Diliman, Quezon City.
  • Ateneo de Manila University - This is a private university in Quezon City. It is the third-oldest university in the Philippines and follows a Catholic-rooted liberal arts curriculum.
  • De La Salle University - This is a private research university located in Taft Avenue, Manila.
  • University of Santo Tomas - This is a private university in Manila. It is the oldest university in the Philippines and is one of the world's largest Catholic universities.


The National Library of the Philippines is the Philippines' official national library. It is located in a portion of Rizal Park in Ermita, Manila. It is open on weekdays from 8:00 to 17:00. No membership is required but you will need a registered library card to borrow books.

You can find a list of other public libraries here.

Update 9/06/2016


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