Philippines School: Historical Background

Figure 1.--This school in Zamboanga was administed by the U.S. Navy. A young officer in his dress whites seems to teaching the course. It is a little difficult to tell, but the student seem to be both Americans and Filapinos. Zamboanga was a province of the Philippines on the southern island of Mindanao. Zamboanga City was a military stronghold in the south for both Spain and the United States. Eastern Zamboang Province was heavily involved in the Moro War (1899-1913). "The Monkeys Have No Tails in Zamboanga" was a song, probably written during the Spanish-American War or the subsequent Moro Rebellion. It was popular with American soldiers during the Pacific War.

We have very limited information on Philipino schools at this time. We have no information on the Spanish colonial era. As far as we can tell, the Spanish gave very little attention to public educationand had no interest in appropriting the needed funds. We suspect that schooling in the Spanish Philippines was very limited. There were presumably schools in the major cities, but probably very few schools in the countryside. This changed with Spanish-American War (1898). After the United States acquired the Philippines in the Spanish-American War, American administrators began a major program to create a public education system. Today that does not sound like anything special. But at the time it certainly was. The Philippines was only the second non-Western country to have a widespread public eduction system. (The first was Japan.) American officials organized the building of schools throughout the country, including rural areas. Here we see a newly built school in the countryside during 1911 (figure 1). The Japanese after invading the Philippines found it very difficult to get parents to have their children study in Japanese and were not about to fund the existing Anerican public school system. As a result of the American emphasis on public education, the Philippines has a substantial functioning public education system at the time of indepependemce following World War II, a raity in the Third World. The only otheer non-Western public school systens werein the liberated Japanee colonies (Korea and Tiawan).


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Created: 7:08 AM 11/9/2009
Last updated: 9:37 PM 9/25/2017