Elementary Education in the Philippines

Recent Scenario

The last week of July and the first two weeks of August this year were spent by this hubber. travel_man1971, helping his cousin, who happened to be a principal at the elementary school of the neighboring barrio, prepare for the school evaluation.

The evaluation covered the nooks and crannies of the school and the requirements for the teaching staff. Starting from the pre-school, primary and intermediate levels, teachers and their relatives plus the cooperation of the parents made the school dubbed as the most organized elementary school in our town.

My cousin and her husband went to our home and requested me to help for some painting and lettering jobs.

My concentration centered on renewing and repainting the rank-and-file of the district's staff. It also included the painting of school name and number on the roof of one of the school building.

And the best of all, painting a mural on the wall of the school's office, replacing the one that was left by the past school head.

All the efforts that were given by the teachers, students and parents paid off. The district supervisor was impressed by the organized classroom, courteous students and brilliant teachers under the auspices of its principal.

Hobo Elementary School - Most Organized School in Minalabac, Camarines Sur, Philippines

Painting of Hobo Map and its Scenery (Drawn and Photo by Travel Man)
Painting of Hobo Map and its Scenery (Drawn and Photo by Travel Man)
Mrs. Ma. Anita A. Oco, the principal (standing right) and Mrs. Ma. Elena Argarin, District Supervisor and co-teacher (Photo by Travel Man)
Mrs. Ma. Anita A. Oco, the principal (standing right) and Mrs. Ma. Elena Argarin, District Supervisor and co-teacher (Photo by Travel Man)

The Rigors of being a Public School Elementary Teacher

From the stories and personal accounts that were shared by my cousin and some teachers as well, being an elementary teacher requires more than a 100% hardwork and dedication.

Whether they're married or single, being a teacher is usually carried at home because of the preparation of lesson plan, checking test papers and quizzes and the preparation for school activities, like contests and sport-fest.

By the way, females outnumbered males when it comes to teaching. At the school where my cousin is a principal, all of them are women.

After a four-year education in college, fresh graduates must take a licensure examination in order to apply for a ranking at the nearest division office of education department. Most of the times, some new teachers apply as a substitute, filling up the position temporarily when the regular teacher leaves for maternity period.

Now that the K12 program is implemented already starting this year 2011, the pre-school years (kindergarten) are already required to enter the primary level (as in Grade 1, 2 & 3).

The Pictorial of Evaluators (Photo by Travel Man)
The Pictorial of Evaluators (Photo by Travel Man)
Teacher Meet-Up (Photo by Travel Man)
Teacher Meet-Up (Photo by Travel Man)

Problems encountered by most of the teachers are the worn-out buildings and chairs ravaged by yearly bout from series of typhoons and flash floods.Aside from this, lack of sufficient books are also noted. More classrooms are needed due to the increase in enrollment every year. The ideal class should have at least 25 t0 35 students, whereas more than 50 students usually cram inside a small classroom.

Although, the party-list group for teachers (like the Alliance for Concerned Teachers of ACT), legislation for the improvement of the public elementary education are often bypassed due to other issues that plague the country. The annual budget is not sufficient to finance all the public schools in the country.

Some teachers are into multi-grade system due to lack of classrooms. From Grades 1 to 4, only two teachers or even one handle four levels of classes simultaneously. One of my cousins said that it confused him teaching Grade 1, then Grade 2,3 and 4 at the same time with just the help of his co-teacher.

Grade 6 Pupils of Hobo Elem. School (Photo by Travel Man)
Grade 6 Pupils of Hobo Elem. School (Photo by Travel Man)
Encouraging Pupils to Excel (Photo by Travel Man)
Encouraging Pupils to Excel (Photo by Travel Man)

Not of School, But of Life

I've noticed that the oldest school building I've seen was build by the USAFFE or the RP-US Alliance during the World War II. It is still existing. Then the Marcos-type building and recent donations by business tycoons and legislators (Congressmen and Senators).School alumni also participate for the improvement of their Alma Mater. Private group of citizen, mostly from other countries usually adopt a school in the country in order to provide buildings and worthwhile activities, much to the enjoyment of the students.

An appeal to the readers, whether they're working at the present administration or not, is to notice the situations of school buildings at the far-flung barangays. Even the roads at the communities situated at the mountains are not yet developed. Elementary school teachers often walk for miles just to reach their assigned place. Mountainous barangays abound in the Philippines where marginal living exist among households, that even their children seldom go to school because of making a living planting rice or root-crops.

School's Main Gate (Photo by Travel Man)
School's Main Gate (Photo by Travel Man)
School premise of Hobo Elem. School and Signage (Photo by Travel Man)
School premise of Hobo Elem. School and Signage (Photo by Travel Man)
School Signage (Photo by Travel Man)
School Signage (Photo by Travel Man)

A Noble Profession

Salaries of elementary teachers are still below salary standard. In the Third World, like the Asian region, it can be budgeted for the next 15 days but most of them resort to borrowing to fellow teachers to make things end meet. The reality of the teaching force in the country is worse than you can imagine. Government loans are one of their moves to be in a budget but their wages can't catch up squarely with the increasing prices of prime commodities, hospitalization bills and the basic needs at home.

Yet, Filipino elementary teachers are true to their chosen field. This is to teach young minds and hone them to be responsible individuals in the future.

Children playing during recess (Photo by Travel Man)
Children playing during recess (Photo by Travel Man)
The author posing with the bust statue of Dr. Jose Rizal, national hero of the Philippines (Photo by Travel Man)
The author posing with the bust statue of Dr. Jose Rizal, national hero of the Philippines (Photo by Travel Man)

Quotations to Ponder on regarding Teaching

Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~Author Unknown


Modern cynics and skeptics... see no harm in paying those to whom they entrust the minds of their children a smaller wage than is paid to those to whom they entrust the care of their plumbing. ~John F. Kennedy


A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others. ~Author Unknown

The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind. ~Kahlil Gibran


Teaching should be full of ideas instead of stuffed with facts. ~Author Unknown

A teacher's purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image. ~Author Unknown

Elementary Education in the Philippines c/o MrMusicman1971

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Comments 10 comments

earthbound1974 profile image

earthbound1974 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

My kodus to all dedicated elementary teachers. If not for their perseverance and tenacity, those kids will never grow as talented and responsible individuals.

Thanks for sharing!


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Enjoyed. Flag up!


carolyn a. ridge 5 years ago

Well thank you for being a help to somebody. When I used to hear or read stories about the second-rate school systems in other countries, it made me proud to be an American. But guess what? The American schools have now taken a major hit. I never would have thought that the American school system would suffer, in my day!


mib56789 5 years ago

Great HUB travelman! I am so UP on education. I can't stress the value of education enough no matter what country you live in. It doesn't have to be "formal" or "institutionalized" educational system. But when it is and it's done efficiently and effectively, the whole world stands to benefit from it. Einstein may not have become Einstein if somebody didn't teach him his ABCs.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@earthbound1974: You're welcome! Each one of us have teachers to thank for in giving us guidance to learn ABCs and all other things in and out of school. They are parents, too, most of them and we should value those good things that they've inculcated in our minds.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@dallas93444: Thanks for enjoying this hub! Much appreciated!


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@carolyn a. ridge: Asian countries usually look up to the American Education system. Yet, loopholes smeared such high hopes and the ups and downs of the educational systems around the world are the fixated mistakes of high-ranked people who politically manipulate it.

It goes on and on; starting with the annual budget, salaries of the teachers and the output being experienced by those children.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@mib56789: Ms. Treathyl, hello! Thanks for dropping by!

I agree with you. The necessity to learn among the children in elementary education is so huge that needs a full assistance of the national government.

Here in the Philippines, ACT (Alliance of Concerned Teachers) denounced the cut on the education sector's budget because, there's really a need to provide more school buildings and repair due to natural disasters that frequent the country.

If you can only see the actual situation here after every typhoon and flash-floods, classrooms are not fit for the students' learning. There's a lot that should be done here.

Instead, political bickering often hamper the delivery of service, even to the far flung barangays or counties.


thesailor profile image

thesailor 5 years ago from Seven Seas

You really have a hectic vacation this year, travel man. Good thing is that you're so productive that you shared your time to your cousin.

I hope public schools in the Philippines will not be neglected, especially at the far flung areas.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@thesailor: Yeah, thanks for reminding. I really enjoy doing something worthwhile, aside from writing. It's the least I can do to my relatives and even to my family.

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