Schooling in the Philippines suffers from underfunding and a lack of resources. Education at local Filipino schools is not likely to be of the standard most expats are used to. Expats living in the Philippines opt to send their children to international schools.

Education system in the Philippines

The education system in the Philippines has largely been shaped by its colonial history, particularly by the Spanish and American cultures. Today, the system is largely modelled on the US education system.

Education in the Philippines fares poorly compared with other countries in the region. While primary education is compulsory until the 6th grade, drop-out rates are high after this level.
Filipino and English are the main languages of instruction at all public and private schools in the Philippines. From grades 1 to 3, students are taught in the dominant language of their particular region. Class are held in either English or Filipino from then on. 
The school year for both public and private schools in the Philippines normally runs from June to March or April. A typical school week is Monday to Friday, from 7:30am to 4pm or 5pm. Students usually have an hour lunch break; as school cafeterias are rare, many students either go home for lunch or bring their own lunch to school.

Public schools in the Philippines

Most local Filipino children attend public schools, which are funded by the government and free to attend. The quality of education at public schools remains poor. Classes are big, teaching material is lacking and teachers are poorly paid.
For these reasons, expats in the Philippines generally don’t send their children to public schools.

Private schools in the Philippines

Those who can afford it send their children to private schools. Private schools are not funded by the government, but follow much the same curriculum as public schools. Many private schools in the Philippines started as missionary or Christian schools. Classes are smaller than public schools and facilities and resources are usually much better. 

International schools in the Philippines

There are a number of international schools in the Philippines. Most of these schools are located in Manila, with the most popular catering to American, British, French, Japanese and German nationals. 
International schools generally follow the curriculum of their home country, and subjects are taught in their own language. Some international schools offer the International Baccalaureate programme.
Admission to an international school often requires a personal interview. For this reason, expats might only be able to enrol their children after arrival in the Philippines. Nevertheless, expats should start the admission process as soon as possible, as space can be limited.
Fees at international schools in the Philippines can range upwards of 8,000 USD per year. Expats should factor this into any contract negotiations.

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