Education is the process by which a person gains knowledge. It is considered as one of the essential needs for human survival and most countries future depends on educating its people. “Education is not a preparation for life, rather it is the living. Education is the process of living through a continuous reconstruction of experiences. It is the development of all those capacities in the individual which will enable him to control his environment and fulfill his possibilities”(John Dewey).
The education system of the Philippines has been highly influenced by the country’s colonial history. That history has included periods of Spanish, American and Japanese rule and occupation. The most important and lasting contributions came during America’s occupation of the country, which began in 1898. It was during that period that English was introduced as the primary language of instruction and a system of public education was first established; a system modeled after the United States school system and administered by the newly established Department of Instruction.
Australia, called by many as the last paradise on earth, has a high quality educational system and many students from all over the world go to Australia just to study. The educational system in Australia is similar with that of Canada and England.
What makes the primary difference is that the Philippine government does not have an enough funds or budget as Australia do. Australia being one of the leading countries with high economy can provide a free, high standard and accessible education for its citizens. On the other hand, countries in the third world country like the Philippines for example can only provide a low budget for education although the Department of Education receives the biggest budget from the government funds.
As a result, not everyone in the Philippines is able to study due to financial barriers. For example, a child living in a remote area might have to cross a river, and walk a few kilometers just to be able to learn. A public school in remote areas may include a classroom with students sharing only with limited books and chairs. And these situations happen every day but not in a wealthy country like Australia.
Another difference of the two is the structure of the education system. In Australia, there is a compulsory education of seven years in primary school and five years in high school. On the other hand, the new K to 12 programs in the Philippines adds two more years for the senior high school which is now becomes similar to Australia’s system. The former system consists of six years in grade school and four years in high school. Although Australia has longer years of schooling, students from both countries start and finish at the same age. Education in the Philippines typically spans 14 years and is structured in a 6+4+4 system: 6 years of primary school education, 4 years of secondary school education, and 4 years of higher education, leading to a bachelor’s degree and this is one of the shortest terms of formal education in the world.
The school year in the Philippines starts from June to March but usually up to April while Australian schools starts from February to December. Filipino students spend longer hours at school than Australians, a minimum of eight hours compared to Australian’s six hours per day. Although both education systems open schools from Monday to Friday but Philippines may have Saturday make up classes for the suspension of classes due to typhoons heavy rain or local feast.
Other differences are rules and policies. Like any other Asian cultured countries, Philippine schools control the discipline of their students much more assemblies that consists of a prayer, the National Anthem, pledge to the flag, and morning exercises. Late or offending students are to be sent to detention or a yard duty in both systems. Another example regards the uniform code.
Both countries are almost the same except that Filipino schools do not allow shorts or really short skirts for girls. Filipino boys are required to maintain a clean cut otherwise they will have their hair cut off during a random check. Philippine schools used identification cards that usually includes ID number and personal information of the students to prevent trespassing and skipping, which is not really necessary for schools in Australia
So much with the number of differences, exams are more likely the same. Philippine National Achievement Test is taken by grade school to high school students in a particular level which is equivalent to the NAPLAN Test from the Australian Curriculum. Philippine National College Entrance Examination is also in the same manner with the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank which both determines the students for college/universities and is not compulsory from those who only want to take a vocational career or a TAFE pathway. After the completion of Primary and high school, students from both countries receive a diploma or a graduation certificate which is a prerequisite and prior to take tertiary levels.
Like the structure, curriculum from both countries also has a number of similarities and differences. Australian students are able to choose their own subjects, while Filipinos are not. However, both countries cover almost the same subjects such as English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts and Technology and Enterprise. While the Australian curriculum involves a lot of Sports, the Philippines have character and values instead.
Given these points, it is clear that a country’s education systems depends on their resources, traditions and economy. Some practices of a country might work well for them but not for others. It helps us realized that education is essential and fundamental to every person of every nation. The Philippine may have a better focus on the concern of not only educating the students academically but also to shape up their morality through disciplinary acts whereas Australia devotes to the idea of individualism. Education systems in Australia and the Philippines do not only consist of entirely different perspectives but also share a number of similarities. What matters most is the country’s effort to provide education for its children in the highest form as possible.