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Legal Bases of the Philippine Educational System

The 1987 Philippine Constitution lays down the foundation of the Philippine education system and protects the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels. Table 3 summarizes significant reforms enacted into law toward the attainment of Constitutional provisions, national goals, and international commitments for SDG 2030.

The Philippine Constitutions
1. 1935 CONST. Article XIV Section 5
2. 1973 CONST. Article XV Section 8 (1-8)
3. 1987 CONST. Article XIV Sections 1-5(5)

The 1987 Constitutions

Article XIV Sections 1-5(5)

Section 1. The state shall protect and promote the right of all the citizens to quality education at all levels and shall take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all.

Section 2. The state shall:

  1. Establish, maintain and support a complete, adequate and integrated system of education relevant to the needs of the people and society;
  2. Establish and maintain s system of free public education in the elementary and high school levels. Without limiting the natural rights of parents to rear their children, elementary education is compulsory for all children of school age;
  3. Establish and maintain a system of scholarship grants, student loan programs, subsidies and other incentives which shall be available to deserving students in both public and private schools, especially to the underprivileged;
  4. Encourage non- formal, informal and indigenous learning system, as well as self- learning independent and out-of-school study programs particularly those that respond to community needs; and
  5. Provide adult citizens, the disabled and out-of-school youth with training in civics, vocational efficiency and skills.

Section 3.

  1. All educational institutions shall include the study of the Constitution as part of the curricula.
  2. They shall inculcate patriotism and nationalism, foster love of humanity, respect for human rights, appreciation of the role of national heroes in the historical development of the country, teach the rights and duties of citizenship, strengthen ethical and spiritual values, develop moral character and personal discipline, encourage critical and creative thinking, broaden scientific and technological knowledge and promote efficiency.
  3. At the option expressed in writing by the parent or guardians, religion shall be allowed to be taught to their children or wards in the public elementary and high schools within the regular class hours by instructors designated or approved by the religious authorities of the religion to which the children or wards belong, additional cost to the Government.

Section 4.

  1. The state recognizes the complementary roles of the public and private institutions in the educational system and shall exercise reasonable supervision and regulation of all educational institutions.
  2. Educational institutions, other than those established by religious groups and mission boards, shall be allowed solely by citizens of the Philippines or corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of the capital of which is owned by such citizens. The Congress may, however, require increased Filipino equity participation in all educational institutions. The control and administration of educational institutions shall vested in citizens of the Philippines. No educational institution shall be established exclusively for aliens and no group of aliens shall comprise more than one third of the enrollment in any school. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to schools established for foreign diplomatic personnel and their dependents and, unless otherwise provided by law, for other foreign temporary residents.
  3. All revenues and assets of non- stock, non- profit educational institutions used actually, directly and exclusively for educational purposes shall be exempt from taxes and duties. Upon the dissolution or cessation of the corporate existence of such institutions, their assets shall be disposed of in the manner provided by law. Proprietary educational institutions, including those cooperatively owned, may likewise be entitled to such exemptions subject to the limitations provided by law including restrictions on dividends and provisions for reinvestment.
  4. Subject to conditions prescribed by law, all grants endowments, donations or contributions used actually, directly and exclusively for educational purposes shall be exempt from tax.

Section 5.

  1. The State shall take into account regional and sectoral needs and conditions and shall encourage local planning in the development of educational policies and programs.
  2. Academic freedom shall be enjoyed in all institutions of higher learning.
  3. Every citizen has a right to select a profession or course of study, subject to fair, reasonable and equitable admission and academic requirements.
  4. The State shall enhance the right of teachers to professional advancement. Non- teaching academic and non-academic personnel shall enjoy the protection of the State.
  5. The State shall assign the highest budgetary priority to education and ensure that teaching will attract and retain its rightful share of the best available talents through adequate remuneration and other means of job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Batas Pambansa Blg. 232 (The Education Act of 1982)

This was an act providing for the establishment and maintenance of an integrated system of education. In accordance with Section 2, this act shall apply to and govern both formal and non- formal system in public and private schools in all levels of the entire educational system.

As provided by this Act, the national development goals are as follows:

  1. To achieve and maintain an accelerating rate of economic development and social progress.
  2. To assure the maximum participation of all the people in the attainment and enjoyment of the benefits of such growth; and
  3. To achieve and strengthen national unity and consciousness and preserve, develop and promote desirable cultural, moral and spiritual values in changing world.

It is also stated in Section 3 that:

The State shall promote the right of every individual to relevant quality education, regardless of sex, age, creed socio- economic status, physical and mental conditions, racial or ethnic origin, political or other affiliation. The State shall therefore promote and maintain equality of access to education as well as the benefits of education by all its citizens.

Rights of Students in School (Section 9)

  1. The right to receive competent instruction, relevant quality education.
  2. The right to freely choose their field of study subject to the existing curricula and continue their course up to graduation, except in cases of academic deficiency or violations of disciplinary regulations.
  3. The right to school guidance and counseling services.
  4. The right to access to his owns school records and the confidentiality of it.
  5. The right to issuance of official certificates, diplomas, transcript of records, grades, transfer credentials and similar document within thirty days from request.
  6. The right to publish a student newspaper and invite resource persons during symposia, assemblies and other activities.
  7. The right to free expression of opinions and suggestions and to effective channels of communication with appropriate academic and administrative bodies of the school or institutions.
  8. The right to form or establish, join and participate in organizations and societies recognized by the school…, or to form, join and maintain organizations and societies for purposes not contrary to law.
  9. The right to be free from involuntary contributions except those approved by their organizations and societies.

Right of All School Personnel (Section 10)

  1. Free expression of opinions and suggestions.
  2. To be provided with free legal service by the appropriate government office in case of public school personnel and the school authorities concerned in case of private school personnel, when charged in administrative, civil and/or criminal proceedings, by parties other than the school authorities concerned, for actions committed directly in the lawful discharged of professional duties and/or in defense of school policies.
  3. Establish join, maintain labor organization of their choice to promote their welfare and defend their interest.
  4. To be free from involuntary contributions except those imposed by their own organizations.

Special Rights And/or Privileges of Teaching or Academic Staff (Section 11)

  1. Right to be free compulsory assignment not related to their duties defined in their appointment or employment contracts unless compensated thereof. (additional compensation Sec. 14 R.A. 4670- at least 25% his regular remuneration)
  2. Right to intellectual property………
  3. Teachers are persons in authority when in lawful discharge of duties and responsibilities… shall therefore be accorded due respect and protection (Commonwealth Act No. 578)
  4. Teachers shall be given opportunity to choose career alternatives for advancements.

Rights of Administrators (Section 12)

  1. School administrators shall be deemed persons in authority while in the lawful discharge of their duties and responsibilities…. Shall be accorded due respect and protection (Commonwealth Act No. 578)

Rights of Schools (Section 13)

  1. The right of their governing boards…….to adopt and enforce administrative or management systems.
  2. The right of institutions of higher learning to determine on academic grounds who shall be admitted to study, who may teach, and who shall be the subjects of the study and research.

Maintenance of Quality Education

  1. Voluntary Accreditation (Section 29)
  2. Teachers and Administrators obligations and qualification (Sections 176 and 17)
  3. Government Financial Assistance to Private Schools (Section 41)

1. Act No. 74

This law was enacted on January 21, 1901 by the Philippine Commission, and provided:

a. establishment of the Department of Public Instruction headed by the General superintendent
b. the archipelago was divided into school divisions and districts for effective management of the school system.
c. English was made as medium of instruction in all levels of schooling
d. optional religious instructions in all schools (Section 16)
e. establishment of a Trade school in Manila (Philippine College of Arts and Trade- PCAT now known as Technological University of the Philippines), a school of Agriculture in Negros, a Normal school in Manila (Philippine Normal School) (Section 18)

Philippine Normal School, however, was renamed Philippine Normal College (PNC) by virtue of Republic Act No. 416 on June 18, 1949. And on December 26, 1991, the PNC was converted to Philippine Normal University as provided by Republic Act No. 7168.

2. Act No. 2706

This was known as the “Private School Law”, enacted on March 10, 1917 by the Philippine Legislature, which made obligatory the recognition and inspection of private schools and colleges by the Secretary of Public Instruction so as to maintain a standard of efficiency in all private schools and colleges in the country.

This law was amended by Commonwealth Act No. 180 passed on November 13, 1936 which provided that:

  • The Secretary of Public Instruction was vested with power to “supervise, inspect and regulate said schools and colleges in order to determine the efficiency of instruction given in the same.”
  • And all private schools come under the supervision and regulation of the Secretary of DPI, thus eliminating “diploma mills” and substandard schools.

3. Commonwealth Act No. 1 (Amended by R.A. 9163)

Known as the “National Defense Act” passed by the Philippine Assembly on December 21, 1935, which provided in Section 81 that:

“Preparatory Military training shall be given with the youth in the elementary grade school at the age of ten years and shall extend through the remainder of his schooling into college or post-secondary education.

By virtue of Presidential Decree 1706, issued by the late President Marcos on August 8, 1980, otherwise known as the “National Service Law”, Commonwealth Act No. 1 was amended, and required all citizens to render, civic welfare service, law enforcement service and military service.

4. Commonwealth Act No. 80

This law created the Office of Adult Education on October 26, 1936, so as to eliminate illiteracy and to give vocational and citizenship training to adult citizens of the country.

5. Commonwealth Act No. 578

Enacted on June 8, 1940, conferred the status of “persons in authority” upon the teachers, professors, and persons charged with the supervision of public or duly recognized private schools, colleges and universities.
This Act also provided a penalty of imprisonment ranging from six months and one day to six years and a fine ranging from 500 to 1, 000 pesos upon any person found guilty of assault upon those teaching personnel.

6. Commonwealth Act No. 586 (Repealed by R.A. 896)

This is known as Education Act of 1940. It was approved on August 7, 1940 by the Philippine Assembly.

The law provided for the following:

a. reduction of seven- year elementary course to six- year elementary course.
b. fixing the school entrance age to seven.
c. national support of elementary education.
d. compulsory attendance in the primary grades for all children who enroll in Grade I.
e. introduction of double- single session- one class in the morning and another in the afternoon under one teacher to accommodate more children.

7. Commonwealth Act No. 589

This law, approved on August 19, 1940, established a school ritual in all public and private elementary and secondary schools in the Philippines.

The ritual consists of solemn and patriotic ceremonies that include the singing of the National Anthem and Patriotic Pledges.

8. Republic Act No. 139 (Repealed by R. A. 8047)

Enacted on June 14, 1947, and the Board of Textbooks. This law provided that all public schools must only use books that are approved by the Board for a period of six years from the date of their adoption.
The private schools may use books of their choice, provided the Board of Textbooks has no objections with those books.

9. Republic Act No. 896

Enacted on June 20, 1953 and known as the Elementary Education Act of 1953, it repealed Commonwealth Act 586 and provided for the following:

a. restoration of Grade VII (but never implemented due to lack of funds)
b. abolition of the double- single session and return to the former practice of only one
c. class under one teacher in the primary and three teachers to two classes or five teachers to three classes in the intermediate level
d. compulsory completion of the elementary grades
e. compulsory enrollment of children in the public schools upon attaining seven years of age.

10. Republic Act No. 1124 (Repealed by R. A. 7722)

Approved on June 16, 1954, this law created the Board of National Education charged with the duty of formulating general educational policies and directing the educational interests of the nation.

However, this Board which was later renamed National Board of Education (P.D. No. 1), was abolished bu virtue of the Creation of the board of Higher Education as stipulated in Batas Pambansa Blg. 232. The Board’s function is now assumed by the commission on Higher Education or CHED by virtue of Republic Act No. 7722.

11. Republic Act No. 1265 (amended by R. A. 8491)

This law was approved on June 11, 1955, and provided that a daily flag ceremony shall be compulsory in all educational institutions. This includes the singing of the Philippine National Anthem.

12. Republic Act No. 1425

It was approved on June 12, 1956, it prescribed the inclusion in the curricula of all schools, both public and private, from elementary schools to the universities, the life, works and writings of Jose Rizal especially the Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.

13. Republic Act No. 4670

Known as the “Magna Carta for Public School Teachers”. This was approved on June 18, 1966 to promote and improve the social and economic status of public school teachers, their living and working conditions, their employment and career prospects.

It also provided the following:

  1. Recruitment qualifications for teachers
  2. Code of Professional Conduct for Teachers
  3. Teaching hours- 6 hours of classroom teaching (maximum load)
  4. Additional compensation- 25% of the regular remuneration
  5. Health and injury benefits (thru the GSIS)
  6. One year study leave (sabbatical leave) after seven years of continuous teaching, the teacher should receive 60% of the monthly salary.
  7. One range salary increase upon retirement (basis computing the retirement fee).
  8. Freedom to form organizations.

14. Republic Act No. 1079

Approved on June 15, 1959, it provided that Civil Service eligibility shall be permanent and shall have no time limit.

15. Republic Act No. 6655

Known as the “Free Public Secondary Education Act of 1988”, it was approved on May 26, 1988 and provided for:

a. Free public secondary education to all qualified citizens and promote quality education at all level.
b. No tuition or other fees shall be collected except fees related to membership in the school community such I.D., student organization and publication.
c. Non- payment of these shall not hinder a student from enrollment or graduation.
d. Nationalization of all public secondary schools ( Section 7)
e. A student who fails in majority of his academic subjects for two consecutive years could no longer avail of their program.

READ: A History of the System of Education in the Philippines – Its Implication for the Present Generation

Mark Anthony Llego

Mark Anthony Llego, hailing from the Philippines, has made a profound impact on the teaching profession by enabling thousands of teachers nationwide to access crucial information and engage in meaningful exchanges of ideas. His contributions have significantly enhanced their instructional and supervisory capabilities, elevating the quality of education in the Philippines. Beyond his domestic influence, Mark's insightful articles on teaching have garnered international recognition, being featured on highly respected educational websites in the United States. As an agent of change, he continues to empower teachers, both locally and internationally, to excel in their roles and make a lasting difference in the lives of their students, serving as a shining example of the transformative power of knowledge-sharing and collaboration within the teaching community.

21 thoughts on “Legal Bases of the Philippine Educational System”

  1. hi po! thank you for this information, it is very helpful. may i ask po if there is a law that could help bring the teaching profession to a successful conclusion, given the current state of teachers?

  2. Good day everyone.

    I am granted a full scholarship by the CHED. However, The agency head will not allow me to go on study leave. do i have a case against the him?

  3. Hello, can a principal transfer you to other grade level even if you re teaching in that level for 20 years without valid reasons just because the principal does not like you.

  4. Great help! I just want to know if the Principal’s rights and prerogative is enough reason to give a new designation to a teacher handling previous position for almost 4years. I am a Guidance Teacher for 3 years and designated Guidance Coordinator for 1 year by our previous school principal then July this year new principal came. September 30 he called a meeting in our department to announce that I’ll be transferring to the school library. I asked him in a respectable manner “why are you going to transfer me in the library sir?”. He answered me “Its my right and prerogative”. I asked him again “Sir, is it fair that I handled Guidance for almost 4 years and yet there’s a new designated teacher that will be staying at the Guidance.” He explained again “we are not talking fairness here.” Do I have the right to appeal since he is the principal and have the right to designate?

  5. Hello! I’d like to ask for some help… what provision is that which allows/qualifies secondary school teachers to teach elementary? Please reply. Thanks you and God bless!

  6. Thanks Mark! you’ve made our research for our doctoral report easier! Thank you so much for your generosity!


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