A Historical analysis of the Philippine public education system (1901-2017) and an investigation of external investments in access and quality

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education, major in Educational Administration



First Advisor

Soto, Cornelia, Ph.D.


There is no such thing as a neutral educational process. Inspired by the work of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, this statement describes the current philosophical state of education in the Philippines: The Philippine system of education is biased. Yet, while a biased system is not necessarily a problem in itself, the root challenge of the Philippine system lies in that it has never been studied holistically or chronologically from its colonial beginnings to its most recent developments. Thus, the systems inherent imbalances and biases remain unclear to this day. This impedes any ability to develop proposals and programs appropriately contextualized to a unique history and are thus not impactful, resulting in the systems current state of poor learning outcomes.This study begins with the first attempted scholarly review of the history of public education in the Philippines, from the turn of the 20th century to the present including interviews with every living Secretary of Education. Then, using the conceptual framework of Dr. Emmanuel Jimenez, Access versus Quality, further questions arise on why the current state of education has not improved: in the absence of administrative direction, what accredited nongovernment investments have been made over the years, what impact have these investments had, and if there are not alternative investments that could be explored. The thesis ultimately builds towards a proposed action. If the first question of history and its impact on the systems current state, leads to the second question of what outside investments have since been made, the proposed action highlights those investments in public education that focus on Quality and a dual approach from both the Top and the Bottom [of power]. In its final analysis, this study aims to (1) create the condition for others to be successfulby conducting a macro-level thematic investigation; (2) arm those with the capability to affect education reform or policy with context; (3) encourage Filipinos to look beyond transplanting best practices and understand historical root challenges.


The E3.D448 2018