- Early childhood care and education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
- Primary and secondary education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
- Tertiary education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
The Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 (which covers pre-primary to secondary education level) and Higher Education Act of 1994 both refer to “private” education institutions, without defining non-state actors specifically. The Early Years Act 2013 which regulates early childhood education refers also to “private”, “community or church-based" early childhood education programs initiated by non-governmental organizations or people’s organizations, families, communities, or the private sector.
Definitions broaden when looking at specific regulations and guidelines on non-state education provision. For example, the Revised Manual of Regulations for Private Schools in Basic Education (2010, as amended and renamed in 2011) defines “private schools” as “privately owned and managed institution(s) for teaching and learning, established and authorized by the Department to operate certain educational programs in accordance with law and the prescribed policies and rules of the Department”, referring to non-state actors operating these schools as religious groups, mission boards, corporations, or associations. The Guidelines on K to 12 Partnerships 2015 (which guide the various public-private partnership arrangements the government has engaged in for the provision and funding of education) include the broadest definition of non-state actors in education found in the Philippines, defining “partners” as “individuals or organizations that enter into agreement with any of the Department of Education offices and/or schools to enable DepEd to strengthen its capability to offer the K to 12 Program. The partners may be, but are not limited to, local government units, national government agencies (NGAs), private institutions like private companies, cooperatives, socio-civic organizations, non-government or civil society organizations (NGOs/CSOs), faith-based organizations...entrepreneurs, and private individuals who are willing to lend support to DepEd and its schools for the advancement of learning of the students”.
Most education (71% of schools, 88% of enrolments) at primary (6 years, ages 6 – 11), lower secondary (4 years, ages 12 – 15) and upper secondary (2 years, ages 16 – 18) level is provided by the state in the Philippines, with an increase in non-state education provision at secondary level (where non-state schools account for 40% of all schools). According to the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, free and compulsory education was extended to 13 years in all state schools, covering pre-primary (1 year, starting at age 5) to upper secondary level.
Non-state managed, state schools
The government of the Republic of the Philippines has entered into Education Management Contracts with operators of non-state schools to manage the day-to-day operations of various low-performing state schools. The contract is based on the non-state operators meeting certain requirements, such as their capacity to increase student performance. These schools operate like regular state schools and do not charge any tuition fees.
Non-state funded, state schools
According to the Adopt-a-School Act of 1998 (as amended in 2003), certain private individuals, organizations or corporations have entered into an agreement with the Department of Education (DepEd) known as the Adopt-a-School-Program in which they provide “assistance” to selected state schools in the form of contributions and donations in infrastructure development, staff development, and textbook provision. The private entities (which receive tax incentives to participate in the program) must have a credible track record and be in operation for at least 1 year, while all state schools may participate, with priority given to schools located in the poorest provinces or municipalities.
Independent, non-state schools
Independent private schools are non-state schools which are established and owned by for-profit, stock corporations, and funded through tuition fees, capital investments or equity contributions. According to the Revised Manual of Regulations for Private Schools in Basic Education 2010, these schools may additionally receive gifts and donations from private individuals, foundations or corporation, while they may also supplement their income through engaging in auxiliary services to finance educational operations or reduce student fees.
Independent private schools in the Philippines also include a for-profit chain of low-fee private schools operating at Grades 7-12 known as Affordable Private Education Centers (APEC) that serve over 4,000 students in 24 schools in Metro Manila. The term “low-fee” refers to private schools in the country which charge comparatively lower fees (in relation to traditional elite, high-fee institutions) and target relatively lower-income households. APEC schools are jointly owned and managed by the British company Pearson PLC (the world’s largest education corporation) and Ayala Corporation.
International (or foreign) private schools are independent private schools that are established to cater to foreign diplomatic personnel and other foreign temporary residents of the Philippines. These schools mainly follow international curricula and examination systems, such as International Baccalaureate and Cambridge.
State-funded (government-aided), non-state schools
Government-aided private schools are non-profit private schools which receive subsidies, grants, vouchers, or loans from the state to cover various costs in operations, teacher salaries, textbooks, and tuition fees. The assistance provided comes in the form of different public-private partnership (PPP) arrangements with the government, which include a voucher system that provides partial or full tuition subsidies to secondary schools and the Education Service Contracting Scheme which covers operational and partial tuition costs in secondary schools to “poor but deserving” primary school graduates. The criteria for receiving assistance include the school’s performance, tuition fees charged, and student financial needs. In 2014, approximately 60% of the 1.3 million students enrolled in private secondary schools were beneficiaries of the Education Service Contracting Scheme and similar government-assistance programs. Government-aided schools in the Philippines also include for-profit low-fee private school chains such as APEC schools that have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the DepEd to assist the government in enrolling children from overcrowded state schools (which was a result of the Enhanced Basic Education Program) in exchange for receiving government funding.
Private Madrasah institutions are non-state Islamic schools which are owned and managed by religious groups that offer Islamic education for the Muslim communities in the Philippines. According to the Policy Guidelines on Madrasah Education 2017, these schools receive regular government subsidies to assist in operational costs and raising the quality of instruction. Private Madaris in the Philippines are mainly categorized into traditional Madrasah (offering Arabic language and Islamic studies) and private Madrasah institutions that follow a recognized curriculum developed by the DepEd that integrates the national curriculum with Islamic studies.
Contracted, non-state schools
No information was found.
Indigenous schools are schools which have been established by the DepEd, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, local government units, and other government agencies in partnership with civil society and private sector organizations, indigenous peoples’ organizations, NGOs, or other community-based initiatives that cater to indigenous peoples and cultural communities in the Philippines through either the formal schooling system or alternative learning system. These schools/programs are funded through government programs such as the Indigenous People’s Education Program and by these different actors as part of different PPP schemes that aim to develop indigenous knowledge systems and practices, indigenous languages, and a curriculum and assessment system that is specific to the indigenous cultural community. The rights of indigenous peoples in the Philippines are enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines 1987 which obliges the state to encourage indigenous learning systems and to “recognize, respect, and protect the rights of indigenous cultural communities to preserve and develop their cultures, traditions, and institutions”. This principle is further reflected in the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997 which further mandates the state to “provide equal access to various cultural opportunities to the indigenous cultural communities/indigenous peoples” in addition to enshrining their “right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions by providing education in their own language, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning”.
According to the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines 1987, homeschooling is legal in the Philippines with the government encouraging non-formal self-learning and out-of-school study programs “without limiting the natural right of parents to rear their children”. According to the Home Education Program, home study programs are implemented by interested divisions within the DepEd. In 2022, the Revised Policy Guidelines on Homeschooling Program state that the Homeschooling Program is designed as one among the Alternative Delivery Modes (ADMs) which may be offered by any public or private school as a response to the need of the learners who cannot regularly report to school due to medical conditions, family situations, and difficult circumstances that require more regular parental support and supervision, and for learners whose parents opt them to be educated at home by themselves.
During the COVID-19 nation-wide school closures initiated in 2020, the DepEd planned to ensure the continuity of learning by adopting the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan, in which schools were encouraged to adopt multiple learning modalities (including printed materials, online learning, radio and television), while the landscape of child protection and rights was adjusted to encompass the cyber world and the “home” as the school. Moreover, as part of the learning continuity plan, the ECCD Council introduced the Center-Based Program Implemented in an Alternative Venue (CBPAV) to provide access for quality integrated ECCD service amidst the pandemic.
Market contracted (Voucher schools)
As part of the Private Education Student Financial Assistance Program, students enrolled in private schools that charge tuition fees less than P1,500 per year that reside in the same city or province as the school are provided with government financial assistance in the form of vouchers (government-funded tuition coupons) equal to 290 PHP (6 USD) to assist in school fees.
Unregistered schools may be included in the DepEd’s statistical data. In 2011, estimates suggested that approximately 25% (one in four) private schools were operating unregistered from the DepEd, with “the problem of unregistered private schools (being) one that the department is looking to address”.
The Department of Education (DepEd) is responsible for supervising and regulating all state and non-state education provision from pre-primary to upper secondary level in the Philippines. The Curriculum and Instruction Strand of the Department ensures that the organisation focuses on the delivery of a relevant, responsive and effective basic education curriculum around which all other strands and offices provide support. This strand includes the Bureau of Curriculum Development (BCD), Bureau of Learning Delivery (BLD), Bureau of Educational Assessment (BEA), and Bureau of Learning Resources (BLR). The Program Management Office under the Department of Education is responsible for government assistance and subsidy programs. The Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Council is responsible for establishing national standards, developing policies and programs, and ensuring compliance of national laws and regulations related to ECCD, while the Commission on Higher Education (CHE) is responsible for the overall supervision and regulation of higher education.
In 2022, the Private Education Office (PEO) was established under the Department of Education, which is responsible for leading the whole-of-agency approach toward the institutionalisation of public-private complementarity across all governance levels through appropriate interventions including, but not limited to, the formalisation of a public-private complementarity framework, and adoption of a “private education lens” for coherence in the crafting of strategic directions and plans for the mixed publicprivate national education system. Given that the Philippines has engaged in various partnership arrangements with the non-state sector in the provision and funding of education, the DepEd has further established 2 units under the External Partnerships Service which are exclusively responsible for the different PPP programs implemented by the DepEd, namely the Private Sector Partnerships Unit (coordinating PPP arrangements such as the Adopt-a-School Program and providing technical assistance) and the Government and Community Partnerships Unit (responsible for partnership development and management).
The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos coordinates the development and implementation of Madrasah education with the DepEd and CHE and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples is similarly responsible for the coordination and implementation of indigenous education through the Indigenous Peoples Education Office within the DepEd.
Education management is decentralized at all levels (with the exception of higher education) through Regional and Division Offices, which are responsible for the direct supervision and administration of state and non-state institutions within their jurisdiction (including school registration, monitoring, and inspection) as stipulated in the Governance of Basic Education Act of 2001. Additionally, at the school level, state secondary schools have Partnership Focal Persons as "social mobilization and networking coordinators" in carrying out “Partnership-Building Responsibilities".
Vision: The government of the Philippines strongly encourages non-state participation in the provision and funding of education through the development of many different PPP arrangements, the establishment of special units under the DepEd exclusively responsible for managing and developing these programs, as well as the publication of specific guidelines and regulations towards non-state actors in the sector. Specifically, the Private Sector Partnerships Unit aims to “cultivate and coordinate partnerships with the private sector”, which includes “growth in private sector contribution to basic education”, while the purpose of the Government and Community Partnerships Unit is to “build and strengthen partnerships with National Government Agencies (NGAs), Local Government Units (LGUs), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Non- Government Organizations (NGOs) and local communities”. Furthermore, the government has issued detailed guidelines and legislation that exclusively regulate non-state education provision at different levels, such as the Revised Manual of Regulations for Private Schools in Basic Education 2010, the Manual of Regulations for Private Higher Education 2008, and the Guidelines on K to 12 Partnerships 2015 which were developed to “support partnership building efforts”. According to the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines 1987, the government recognizes the “complementary” role and “invaluable contribution” of private institutions in the educational system which are under “reasonable supervision and regulation”. This principle is additionally reflected in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-22 which states that “multi-stakeholder partnerships led by the private sector will be supported” and that “high trust will also prevail between the private sector and the government”.
Early childhood care and education (ECCE) in the Philippines is mainly provided by the state (88% of enrolments) through early childhood education programs (ages 0 – 4) and kindergarten/pre-primary (1 year program, starting at age 5), with non-state actors (including religious groups, NGOs, communities, families, and the private sector) covering only 12% of total enrolments. Early childhood education (ECE) is provided through center-based programs or home-based programs (playgroups and childcare programs managed primarily by parents) and is regulated by the Early Years Act 2013 and Standards and Guidelines for Public and Private Child Development Centres 2015. Kindergarten programs have been integrated into the free and compulsory schooling system since 2012/2013. See Multi-level regulations for most regulations regarding private kindergartens.
Registration and approval: According to the Guidelines on the Registration and Granting of Permit and Recognition to Public and Private Child Development Centres 2015, private providers or organizations wishing to establish an ECCE center are required to apply for a permit with the City or Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer. Applications must be accompanied by the required documents and registration fee, while the premises are inspected a month after the application is submitted to determine whether they comply with all the minimum standards (with an inspection report submitted to the Municipal/City Mayor recommending either the issuance or non-issuance of the Permit to Operate). Minimum standards include building, safety, and child-teacher ratio requirements. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.
Licence: If all minimum standards have been complied with, a Certificate to Operate will be signed by the City or Municipal Mayor, which remains valid for 3 years. Following 3 years of operation, the provider must apply for recognition with the ECD Council based on an external and internal evaluation which grants the centre recognition based on a transparent assessment tool. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.
Profit-making: See Multi-level regulations.
Taxes and subsidies: Accredited private providers at the community levels may be contracted and subsidized by the government to establish and manage ECCE centres based on the ECCD Program Contracting Scheme, while providers may additionally receive technical and operational assistance from the ECCD Council which may include member agencies. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.
Curriculum and education standards: ECCE programs are encouraged to implement a curriculum that is guided by the National Early Learning Framework and is consistent with the Early Learning Development Standards that have been validated by the government for all Filipino children aged 0 – 4. The curriculum must focus on the child’s holistic development using the child’s first language as the language of instruction. For kindergarten, providers are required to adopt the Kindergarten Education General Curriculum developed by the then Bureau of Elementary Education (now the Bureau of Curriculum Development) which provides national standards and competencies expected for children aged 5 based on the Philippine Early Childhood Development Checklist. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.
Teaching profession: The 2015 Standards and Guidelines list specific requirements and qualifications for ECCD teachers, which must be followed by both state and non-state ECCE teachers. Similarly, the 2012 Implementing Rules and Regulations of the “Kindergarten Education Act” prescribe minimum qualifications and standards for all teachers in kindergarten programs. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.
Fee-setting: According to the 2013 Early Years Act, all fees charged by ECE centres are monitored by the ECCD Council to ensure they remain “affordable” and “within reasonable limits”, without specifying specific fee-setting standards.
Admission selection and processes: No regulation was found.
Policies for vulnerable groups: The standard kindergarten curriculum has been designed to cater to the unique needs of learners, with programs such as the Head-Start Curriculum for the Gifted, Early Intervention Curriculum for children with special educational needs, Madrasah Curriculum for Muslim children, Indigenous People’s Education Curriculum for the preservation and promotion of indigenous heritage, and the Catch-up Kindergarten Curriculum for children in difficult circumstances (including chronic illness or displacement). For more information, see Multi-level regulations.
Reporting requirements: All ECCE programs are required to keep detailed records of children’s learning, development, health to be submitted to the appropriate authorities when requested (through monitoring, inspection and information systems or otherwise). Moreover, all state and private ECCE programs must develop a three-year improvement plan, annual work plan and financial plan that contains the mission, vision, goals, objectives, activities and budget allocations of the provided service which is presented to the ECCD Council and parents at the end of the year. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.
Inspection: Under the regulation of the ECCD Council, the DSWD-Field Offices assigns the Provincial or City Social Welfare and Development Officers as external evaluators to ensure the quality of ECCE programs through the recognition and accreditation process which each centre is required to undergo every 3 – 5 years upon the validity period granted by the ECCD Council based on the centres level of compliance to the Standards and Guidelines. Based on a transparent assessment tool, services are classified as Satisfactory, Very Satisfactory, or Outstanding following a thorough school inspection from internal to external evaluation within a 3-month assessment process. Assessment areas include health, nutrition, safety, physical environment, interactions and relationships between staff and children, staff qualifications and development, curriculum, assessment, family involvement, and centre management (see “Guidelines on the Registration and Granting of Permit and Recognition”).
Child assessment: The Early Development Standards include a component on systematic child assessment, in which all centers must provide information on children’s learning progress and development through keeping assessment records. Children are assessed through teacher observation, photographs, and samples of their work in various areas, including physical health, motor development, social-emotional development, character and values development, cognitive and intellectual development, language development, and creative and aesthetic development.
Sanctions: If the program is found to not comply with minimum standards, the provider is directed to comply within 6 – 12 months. If the center fails to comply within the given timeframe, the recognition/accreditation shall be deferred and will start the process from step one (1) of application (see “Guidelines on the Registration and Granting of Permit and Recognition”, page 10). For more information, see Multi-level regulations.
Registration and approval: See Multi-level regulations.
Licence: See Multi-level regulations.
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH): All non-state schools are required to have adequate toilet facilities, which must be separated by sex.
Profit-making: See Multi-level regulations.
Taxes and subsidies: See Multi-level regulations.
Curriculum and education standards: See Multi-level regulations.
Textbooks and learning materials: All non-state schools from pre-primary to upper secondary level are required to have a library with a sufficient number of academic books (listed for each education level) and a designated section for Filipino-authored books (if available). The general textbooks used may only be changed once every 4 years (subject to approval from the DepEd), while providers can sell textbooks to students, subject to rules set by each individual school.
Teaching profession: See Multi-level regulations.
Other safety measures and COVID-19: Due to adjusted circumstances in light of COVID-19, certain provisions of the 2011 Manual were amended in terms of voluntary school closures (including regulations on temporary closures) and subsidy programs (which were allowed to continue receiving assistance once schools reopen). Moreover, all non-state schools were required to comply with the Readiness Assessment Checklist for Learning Delivery Modalities in the Learning Continuity Plan of Private Schools and adopt an adjusted curriculum that focuses on the most essential learning competencies.
Fee-setting: See Multi-level regulations.
Admission selection and processes: See Multi-level regulations.
Policies for vulnerable groups: See Multi-level regulations.
School board: The Governance of Basic Education Act of 2001 calls for greater decentralization in the delivery of education based on the principles of school-based management, giving schools “authority and accountability” and enabling them to “reflect the values of the community”. Specifically, all non-stock private schools from pre-primary to upper secondary level are required to have a governing board (Board of Trustees) comprised of 5 – 15 members which are responsible for the supervision and control of the school. Schools that operate as stock corporations are governed by the provisions of the Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines 2018. While there are no requirements for parents, teachers, or students to be represented in these boards, the 2011 Manual requires all non-state schools to establish a Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) comprised of school parents/guardians and teachers (as regulated in the Revised Guidelines Governing Parent-Teacher Associations at the School Level 2009).
Reporting requirements: See Multi-level regulations.
School inspection: See Multi-level regulations.
Student assessment: See Multi-level regulations.
Diplomas and degrees: Non-state schools may only issue certificates and diplomas if the school has been recognized by the government, while no student may receive a diploma unless their eligibility to graduate has been approved by the DepEd. Accredited institutions are not required to gain approval from the government to graduate their students.
Sanctions: See Multi-level regulations.
Most tertiary education in the Philippines (88% of institutions, 53% of enrolments) is provided by non-state (private) higher education institutions (HEIs), with separate regulations for non-state provision in the Manual of Regulations for Private Higher Education 2008 in response to their national magnitude. All private HEIs are subject to regulations by the CHE (an independent body), which was established in the Higher Education Act 1994.
Registration and approval: For a group of persons to establish a private HEI, an application must be made to the CHE, accompanied by all the necessary documents and information. The infrastructure is required to comply with the Building Code, while the institution must be registered as a non-stock or stock educational corporation in accordance with the Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines 2018 by the Securities and Exchange Commission (upon favourable recommendation from the CHE). For more information, see Multi-level regulations.
License: If the CHE is satisfied that the minimum standards have been met (following an inspection by the Quality Assessment Team), the applicant is issued a permit to operate. In the third year of operation, the institution is then required to apply to the CHE for a certificate of recognition, which is granted if all requirements have been complied with. For more information, see Multi-level regulations.
Profit-making: While profit-making is not prohibited in higher education (with institutions being able to register as stock corporations), the CHE regulates the amount of profit an institution can make, with their return of investment not allowed to be over 10% of their overall profits. Moreover, HEIs that have been established as non-stock corporations are prohibited from operating on a profit-making basis, with all of their income required to be used to further the institution’s objectives and development.
Taxes and subsidies: The government provides subsidies and technical assistance that contribute towards faculty and facility development to non-stock private HEIs through the Higher Education Development Fund, while stock institutions are provided assistance in the form of student scholarships and other subsidies regulated by law. Moreover, the College Faculty Development Fund was established to improve the quality of teaching in all private HEIs.
Curriculum and education standards: According to the Higher Education Act 1994, all state and private HEIs are free to determine their own academic programs and curricula, provided that they have been approved by the CHE and comply with the minimum unit standards for specific academic programs and professional subjects determined by the CHE. The regulations specifically state that “no academic or curricular restriction shall be made upon private educational institutions which are not required for chartered state colleges and universities”. Private HEIs which have been accredited by the Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines (see section on quality assurance) are free to revise the curriculum and add more academic courses to their syllabus without the approval of the CHE.
Teaching profession: The 2008 Manual lists the minimum qualifications for teaching staff in all HEIs (applying both to state and private institutions), which differ based on course and level taught. Institutions are additionally required to employ full-time faculty at specific percentages for each program, while employment conditions are regulated in terms of salary and working hours.
Fee-setting: According to the Manual of Regulations for Private Higher Education 2008, 70% of tuition fees charged by private HEIs must go towards payments of staff salaries, 20% towards the improvements of buildings and equipment, and no more than 10% may be allocated for return of investment. All private HEIs are required to keep financial records of their transactions, which are evaluated upon inspection by the CHE. Private HEIs that have been accredited by the FAAP (and granted “deregulated status”) are free to determine their own tuition fees and charges.
Admission selection and processes: While no specific regulations were found on the admission processes of private HEIs (besides enrolling students based on their credentials), the 2008 Manual encourages all HEIs to admit students with special educational needs, while all private HEIs are required to provide full or half-tuition waivers to 5% of their entering freshmen (based on academic ability).
Board: All private HEIs in the Philippines are required to establish a Governing Board that is responsible for general supervision and control of institutional funds, policies, and rules. In the case of institutions established as non-stock corporations, the board established must be Board of Trustees comprised of 5-15 members, while stock corporations must establish a Governing Board in accordance with the Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines 2018. While there are no specific requirements for the Board’s specific member composition, the the Manual of Regulations for Private Higher Education 2008 require every board member to possess at least a bachelor’s degree.
Reporting requirements: All private HEIs must maintain records of their students and financial statements, which must be made available for inspection at any time by the CHE. There was no information found on specific and standard reporting requirements however to ensure accountability.
Institutions that demonstrate continuous adherence to high standards of scholarship, research and instruction are encouraged to apply for accreditation with the Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines (FAAP), in which they are granted special regulatory treatment and autonomy through a scheme of progressive “deregulation”. Deregulated institutions are free from regular monitoring and evaluation by the CHE (except in cases of reported violations or complaints), granted financial autonomy in fee-setting, and prioritized in the grant of government subsidies.
Inspection: All private HEIs in the Philippines are subject to regular monitoring, inspection, and evaluation by the CHE to ensure minimum standards are maintained (with no details provided on how often these inspections take place or what they entail).
Assessment: Private HEIs are free to develop their own policies on academic assessment and student examinations, provided that the grading and assessment system adopted complies with the minimum standards set by the CHE.
Diplomas and degrees: Private HEIs may only grant students diplomas or degrees if the institution has been recognized by the CHE, which must authorize the graduation of each student. Deregulated institutions have the authority to graduate students without the pre-approval of the CHE.
Sanctions: The CHE has the authority to order the closure of a private HEI or withdraw its certificate of recognition in cases of regulation or standard violations, fraud, deceit, mismanagement, or unauthorized operation. Private HEIs may also voluntarily close at their own initiative (for valid cause and once informing the CHE), provided that students can finish their studies or transfer to another institution. If any institution is found to be operating without the required permit or certificate of recognition, the owner will be subject to a fine of no less than 20,000 P (416 USD) and/or imprisonment for 2 years.
The following section includes regulations that apply to non-state schools which are part of the compulsory basic education program from pre-primary (kindergarten) to upper secondary level. The section also includes regulations that apply to all non-state educational institutions in the Philippines from early childhood to higher education level, in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines 1987 (which are distinguished in the text).
Registration and approval: According to the Revised Manual of Regulations for Private Schools in Basic Education 2010, to establish any type of non-state school from pre-primary to upper secondary level in the Philippines, an application must be made to the relevant Regional or Division Office (with the approval of the Regional Director). All applications must be accompanied by a registration fee and include details on infrastructure, proposed faculty, and financial capacity of the applicant. Applicants can be individuals, religious groups, mission boards, corporations or associations, while the school is required to be established either as a stock or non-stock educational corporation under the provisions of the Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines 2018 (with an exception in the case of family-administered kindergartens). Once an application is submitted, the Regional Officer conducts an inspection to evaluate whether minimum standards are met, which include infrastructure standards in school location, land and space requirements (based on students enrolled), and toilets separated by sex. Classroom size and enrolment are determined by the school.
All educational institutions from early childhood to higher education level (except for those established by religious groups or mission boards) are required to be owned by citizens of the Philippines or associations/corporations in which at least 60% of the capital is owned by Filipino citizens. No educational institution may be established exclusively by or for foreigners, while no group of foreign students may comprise over one third of the enrolment in the institution (with the exception of international schools regulated by the law). Finally, only educational institutions established by foreign diplomatic personnel for foreign temporary residents are allowed to use the name “foreign” or “international” in the school name.
License: If the Regional Officer is satisfied that all the required standards have been complied with, the applicant is initially issued a permit to operate and after one year, is granted a certificate of recognition if regulations and standards in the 2010 Manual are fully met.
Profit-making: Non-state schools from pre-primary to upper secondary level may be established as stock (for-profit) or non-stock (non-profit) corporations, but only non-stock institutions are eligible to receive government subsidies or assistance. Religious educational institutions may only be established as non-stock, non-profit institutions in accordance with the Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines 2018 in which they are incorporated.
Taxes and subsidies: The government provides a number of assistances, subsidies and tax incentives to non-stock private schools from pre-primary to upper secondary level in the Philippines including vouchers, management contracts, grants, loans, and technical assistance. Private madaris also receive government subsidies to assist in operational costs through the DepEd annual madrasah fund. According to the Expanded Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education Act 1998, the criteria for receiving assistance include tuition fees charged by the school, school performance and location, and socioeconomic needs of students being served. Private schools wanting to participate in the voucher program or Education Service Contracting Scheme must additionally be accredited by the Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines. Stock institutions are only provided government support through subsidies, loans or vouchers provided to individual students or teachers under the Private Education Student Financial Assistance Program and the Teacher Salary Subsidy Fund. If the conditions for receiving aid are not complied with, the assistance may be suspended.
All institutions, buildings, lands, and revenues of non-stock, non-profit educational institutions from early childhood to higher education in the Philippines which are used exclusively for educational purposes are exempt from taxation.
Curriculum and education standards: All schools from pre-primary to upper secondary level in the Philippines (irrespective of ownership) must follow the core curriculum developed by the DepEd (which includes national learning competencies that must be achieved at each level), with additional subjects determined by each school. According to the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, the language of instruction for kindergarten and the first 3 years of primary must be the regional language of the learners, with gradual transition to the Filipino and English languages from grade 4. Private Madrasah institutions must follow the Madrasah Education Program developed by the DepEd, which integrates Arabic language and Islamic Values Education within the national curriculum, while private international schools are allowed to adopt a foreign curriculum which is subject to limitations and regulations imposed by the DepEd.
Teaching profession: Non-state schools in the Philippines recruit their own teachers, which are required to fulfil the qualifications and standards listed in the 2010 Manual (similar to state schools). The conditions of teacher employment in non-state schools are also regulated separately through guidelines on salary scale, teaching hours and teacher development (with teachers employed in non-state schools required to be paid according to the same salary range as comparable teaching positions in state schools). Working conditions for non-state school teachers are additionally regulated through the appropriate labour laws and regulations under the supervision of the Department of Labour and Employment. In contrast to teachers in state schools though, teachers in non-state schools are not required to be trained in the national education curriculum, with additional freedom to implement their own teaching methods (provided that they produce the required results). All teachers are required to be certified as professional teachers under the Philippine Teachers Professionalization Act 1994 (which applies to both state and non-state school teachers), while the Code of Ethics for Professional Teachers (which includes professional duties and ethical standards) “covers all public and private school teachers in all educational institutions at the preschool, primary, elementary and secondary levels”.
Fee-setting: While private schools may determine their own tuition rates, any changes made must be consulted with the student government and parents of the school and approved by the DepEd. No increase is approved unless 70% of its proceeds are allocated to increasing staff salaries, offering financial assistance to students, or developing the institution. Moreover, a school’s return of investment is prohibited from exceeding 12% of the overall proceeds. The DepEd does not interfere in the tuition matters of private madrasah institutions, which are simply encouraged to charge “reasonable” fees to sustain quality in education.
Admission selection and processes: The admission process of non-state schools is only regulated in terms of student credentials and general rules for registration, with no regulation found on schools admitting students from specific populations or backgrounds. Filipino students can only be admitted in international schools if their percentage of enrolment complies with government regulations.
Policies for vulnerable groups: Filipino students are provided with various financial assistance programs to attend non-state schools from pre-primary to upper secondary level, including tuition fee supplements, vouchers, textbook assistance funds, scholarships, and student loans. When providing this assistance, the government gives priority to students of lower income backgrounds. Moreover, the government of the Philippines has implemented various policies and programs to promote indigenous cultural heritage and the history of indigenous communities into the learning content and programs of all schools in the country (including non-state). According to the Indigenous Peoples Policy Framework 2011, all state and non-state schools are required to ensure that their textbooks, curriculum, and learning material are free from any discriminatory content or descriptions which misrepresent the history or culture of indigenous peoples (which must be given due recognition). When referring to private schools in particular, the policy states that the DepED “shall actively promote compliance with this policy among private schools and other private institutions of learning”.
Finally, the government has the authority to require any educational institution in the Philippines (from early childhood to higher education level) to increase its Filipino student participation.
Reporting requirements: All the books, accounts, and financial records of each school PTA must be available for inspection at all times by the school head and/or the Division PTA Affairs Committee, while any documents containing PTA operations must be made publicly available for purposes of “transparency and accountability”. Moreover, all schools are required to submit mid-school financial statements and annual financial reports to the school head (audited by an external and independent auditor and signed by the school’s PTA members).
Recognized non-state schools are provided with incentives to apply for voluntary accreditation (a form of recognized quality certification) under the Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines (FAAP), a government-recognized, autonomous agency which may grant the school increased autonomy and so-called “deregulated” status. Benefits and advantages of accreditation represent “degrees in the liberalization of rules and regulations” which include greater flexibility in government supervision and regulation (with schools not being subject to periodic evaluations), as well as additional financial assistance from the state.
Inspection: All non-state schools and education PPPs in the Philippines are subject to “reasonable supervision and regulation” by the DepEd through periodic evaluations by the regional Schools Division Superintendent. While no specific information is provided regarding what these evaluations entail or how often they take place, the only clear inspection of schools occurs during their permit or recognition renewal.
Assessment: The DepEd administers national assessments to measure student progress in the attainment of learning standards and 21st century skills. The results of various forms of assessments are used to quantify judgment on learners’ academic performance. Through the Bureau of Education Assessment (BEA), the DepEd, annually administers the following tests in schools: the Early Language Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (ELLNA) at the end of Key Stage 1 (Grade 3) and the National Achievement Test (NAT) at the end of Key Stages 2 (Grade 6), 3 (Grade 10), and 4 (Grade 12). The test results are also used as internal measure on the effectiveness of the K to 12 Basic Education Program. Moreover, BEA conducts other student assessments for career guidance and planning, and equivalency of competencies and skills. The details and implementation of these assessments can be found in DepEd Order 55, s. 2016, “Policy Guidelines on the National Assessment of Student Learning for the K to 12 Basic Education Program.” In most of these assessments, learners from both state and non-state schools in the Philippines are targeted to participate (including private Madaris).
Sanctions: The closure of a non-state school may be voluntary (through the school’s own initiative) or involuntary (by the DepEd through the Regional Director). In voluntary closures, the school is required to provide valid cause for its closure and furnish the students affected with transfer credentials and records. Involuntary closures are ordered by the DepEd (upon recommendation from the Regional Director) in the cases of grave regulation violations, fraud, deceit, or unauthorized operation. Finally, if any school from pre-primary to upper secondary level is found to be operating without a permit or certificate of recognition, the Regional Director is authorized to order the closure of the school. Any school which has had its recognition cancelled by the DepEd for over one year may re-apply to re-open the school and be granted a permit to operate (which is only granted if the required standards have been met).
Private supplementary tutoring has been increasingly prevalent in the Philippines, with a study in 2010 finding 40% of grade 6 students and 46% of grade 10 students to be receiving private tutoring through one-on-one tutoring or private tuition centres. The industry operates largely unregulated by the government, with educational authorities having no policies or regulations on the matter, leaving decisions to teachers themselves who commonly tutor their own students. Private tutoring centres are regulated as business entities under the Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines 2018.
Private tutoring centers are required to register as corporations and secure a business license to operate in the Philippines under the Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines 2018.
As private tutoring centres in the Philippines are registered as regular business entities under the Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines 2018 (with no specific educational requirements), providers may operate on a profit-making basis if established as stock corporations.
According to the Code of Ethics for Professional Teachers (which applies to all teachers in non-state and state schools in the Philippines from kindergarten to upper secondary level), teachers have “the right to engage in legitimate income generation” provided that it does not affect their work as a teacher.
This profile has been reviewed by the Early Childhood Care and Development Council, Bureau of Curriculum Development, and Bureau of Education Assessment (Philippines).