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Population, Education

Feati University, Bicol University, Adamson University, University of Mindanao, Spanish colonial era

Education in the Philippines is free and compulsory for children ages 6 through 12. Filipino and English are the primary languages of instruction. The literacy rate is 98.7 percent of the adult population, with little variation between males and females.

During the Spanish colonial era, only the elite population had access to education. After the United States gained control of the Philippines in 1898, a strong emphasis was placed on public education. The idea that free and compulsory education would democratize society took hold in the Philippines. English replaced Spanish as the language of instruction and as the national medium of communication. Since independence in 1946, the Philippine government has opened schools in even the remotest areas. Literacy rates in some languages have slowly improved. However, significant differences in quality of education continue to exist between rural and urban areas.

Virtually all children aged 6 to 12 are enrolled in school, and attendance is compulsory. Enrollment for ages 13 through 16 is 78 percent. At the university level, enrollment stands at 28 percent of the relevant age group. Institutions of higher learning include the University of the Philippines (1908), in Quezon City; Adamson University (1932), the University of the East (1946), Far Eastern University (1928), Feati University (1946), and the University of Santo Tomas (1611), all in Manila; Bicol University (1969), in Legaspi; the University of Mindanao (1946), in Davao; Saint Louis University (1911), in Baguio; and Southwestern University (1946), in Cebu.



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