Present Philippine Educational Situation: Issues and Challenges

In the Philippines having a good quality education has always been considered as an opportunity to a better quality of life. It’s an equalizing instrument between the rich and the poor. Like any other developing nation-state, the Philippines have various issues and challenges on the existing educational system. Alejo (2006) identified the following as the major current issues facing the educational system:

1)    Lack of physical resources,
2)    Low salaries of teachers,
3)    Lack of competent teachers,
4)    Intensifying dichotomy between private and public schools,
5)    Increasing cost of education, and
6)    Mismatch between training actual job opportunities.

Lack of physical resources. This problem was caused by rapid population increase and the non-improvement of the Philippine economy. This means that school enrollment is constantly increasing every year, while the government spending on education cannot cope-up with said increase. The government spending per capita on education is minimal compared to debt service payments to lending countries and IMF- World Bank.

One of the resulting situation of this problem is the insufficient classroom for increasing supply of students and high ratio of students per teacher. In remote areas, sometimes teachers are holding classes for two different grade level at the same time and in the same room. This is called split teaching. The normal size of this kind of class between 70- 80 students.
Low salaries of teachers. On the average, a new teacher receives Php9, 939 a month. Compare this with the entry-level salary of at least P159, 000 in the public schools in California. No wonder, many teachers are continuously tempted to leave the Philippines in search for a greener pasture (Alejo, 2006).

Lack of competent teachers. This is due to the continuing condition of brain drain in the country. Most of highly competent teachers are migrating to the United States and some are even employed as domestic helpers in the Middle East countries. 

Intensifying dichotomy between private and public schools. In the country private schools are perceived to have high quality of instruction and students from public schools are seen as mediocre students. From this perception private schools are somewhat licensed to charge high tuition fees and other fees to maintain their superior school infrastructures.

Increasing cost of education. Primary and secondary education is free as mandated by law. But the increasing cost of education means that a family cannot support the other expenses in sending their children to school. These expenses include school uniform, books, transportation expenses and other related expenses. In a family with four children this would be a large amount of money and this is the regular family size in the country.

Mismatch between training actual job opportunities. This is one problem at the tertiary level and it is also the cause of the existence of a large group of educated unemployed or underemployed.

The Philippine problems on education were the effect of ineffective macro and micro policies of the government inter-playing with other factors in the society. The main reasons for this problems would be that the country is simply not investing enough in the education system, and the education system has been inefficiently managed.

To solve this problem in my point of view, in the macro level, we need to increase the budget expenditure on education. But how? The Philippines can have a moratorium on its foreign debt payment and prioritize the budget on education. 

According to Isagani Cruz, a former Department of Education official, on the micro level, the department is implementing numerous effort to curb the effect of these problems. Such interventions is the introduction of new curriculum, education service contracting, multi-shift classroom policy, library hubs, early childhood education, madrasah education, inclusive education, alternative learning system, school feeding, Every Child a Reader Program (ECARP), competency-based teacher assessment standards, computerization, Schools First, Brigada Eskwela, Sagip Eskwela, Adopt-a-School, Oplan Balik Eskwela, and the Basic Education Sector Reform Agenda (BESRA). A former department secretary commented on an interview that, “if we are to improve Philippine education, we must attract and recruit the best and the brightest among our young citizens to become teachers”, and teachers should also be well compensated to prevent them from migrating to other countries.


Alleba Politics, URL:

Big Brother (Kuya)/Big Sister (Ate) Culture: A Proactive and Responsible Way of Alleviating the Philippine Educational System, URL:

KAAKBAY CDI, Philippine Public Education – A Situationer by Monday, Jun. 05, 2006 at 6:56 AM, URL:

Philippine Daily Inquirer, URL:

Cruz, Isagani. URL:

Key Issues in Philippine Education, URL:

Submitted by:

Lecture on Japan’s Development Experience
Department of International Development- GSID

Submitted to:

Prof. Yasushi Hirosato
Graduate School of International Development
Nagoya University

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