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Education during the Spanish Regime and Its Colonial Effects to the Filipinos

The friars controlled the educational system during the Spanish times. They
owned different schools, ranging from the primary level to the tertiary levels of
education. The missionaries took charge in teaching, controlling and maintaining
the rules and regulations imposed to the students.

These missionaries emphasized the teachings of the Catholic religion starting

from the primary level to the tertiary level of education. The students in the
primary level were taught the Christian Doctrines, the reading of Spanish books
and a little of the natives' language. Science and Mathematics were not very
much taught to the students even in the universities. Aside from the Christian
Doctrines taught, Latin was also taught to the students instead of Spanish.

The schools before were exclusive for the Spaniards. The Filipinos were only
able to enter the schoo.1 in the late 19th century. The schools also limited their
accommodations to the sons of wealthy Filipino families in 1863.
Although the schools were already open for Filipinos, the friars still believed that
the Filipinos would not be able to match their skills and that the only way for the
Filipinos to learn fast was to impose upon them strict discipline which means
applying corporal punishment.

Schools Built By the Spaniards

The schools for boys and girls were separated. The first established schools
were exclusive for the boys. The Augustinians built the first school in the
Philippines situated in Cebu in 1565.

College was equivalent to a university during the Spanish regime. The student
graduated with the degree in Bachelor of Arts (Bachiller en Artes). The first
college school for the boys was the "Colegio de San Ignacio" which was
established by the Jesuits in Manila in 1589. They also established the "Colegio
de San Idelfonso" in Cebu in 1595. In 1601, "Colegio de San Jose" was
established. Meanwhile, in 1589, the "Escuela Pia" was entrusted by the
government to the Jesuits. Later, this was called Ateneo de Municipal which is
now the famous Ateneo de Manila University.

The Dominicans also made a name as they established one of the best
universities in the Philippines, the University of Santo Tomas, that was opened in
1611. In 1630, the Dominicans established another university, the "San Juan de
Letran" for the orphaned boys.

"Colegio de Santa Potenciana" was the first school and college for girls. This was
opened in 1589. Following the birth of the first school for women, Colegio de
Santa Isabel opened in 1632. The religious congregations also established
schools for the girls called "beaterio". The so-called "beaterio" was meant for
orphaned girls who could not afford to educate themselves. The subjects taught
were housekeeping, cooking, sewing and embroidery-making, and others
intended for good housekeeping.

Effects of Colonial Education in the Philippines

The effect of education to the Filipinos was only compelled to the friars'
influences from their lessons based on the Christian Doctrines or teachings.
Indeed, the friars were effective in evangelizing the Catholic religion to the

One major failure of the educational system of the religious congregations was
the withholding of the Filipinos to learn other bodies of knowledge. Besides
limiting education to the teaching of Spanish, Latin, and the Filipino languages,
the teaching of Religion was also given emphasis. Thus, the teaching of
Mathematics and Science were neglected.

In entirety, education during the Spanish regime was privileged only to Spanish
students. The supposed Philippine education was only a means to remain in the
Philippines as colonizers. For this reason, the Filipinos became followers to the
Spaniards in their own country. Even auspicious Filipinos became cronies, to the
extent that even their life styles were patterned from the Spaniards.

Meanwhile, several educated Filipinos referred to as ilustrados began

movements directed towards change in the system of government in the
Philippines. Despite their wealth and education, the ilustrados were still
considered by the Spaniards to be inferior. One of the goals of the ilustrado was
to be in the same level with the proud Spaniards. The growing number of
ilustrados in the Philippines maybe considered one of the major effects of
education by the Spaniards in the Philippines.

Spanish Influence On The Philippine Educational System:

Philippine education before the Spaniards came was informal and unstructured.
Parents were the children's first teachers. For schools, the children went to the
houses of tribal tutors where they were taught vocational subjects or what we
would consider today as electives. During the Spanish period, tribal tutors were
replaced by Spanish missionaries and education became religion-oriented.
Education became exclusively for the elite in the early years under the Spanish
rule. Later, education became accessible to Filipinos with the enactment of the
Educational Decree of 1863.This decree provided for the establishment of at
least one primary school in each town. It also provided for the establishment of a
normal school for male teachers. Normal schools (teacher-training schools) were
supervised by the Jesuits. Primary education was free. Spanish, as a subject,
was compulsory.
Educational System During Spanish Period

The educational system of the Philippines during the Spanish times was formal.
The Religious congregations paved the way in establishing schools from the
primary level to the tertiary level of education. The schools focused on the
Christian Doctrines. There was a separate school for boys and girls. The wealthy
Filipinos or the Ilustrados were accommodated in the schools. Colonial education
brought more non-beneficial effects to the Filipinos.
Educational Decree 1863
The first educational system for students in the country was established by virtue
of the Education Decree of 1863. In furtherance, the decree required the
government to provide school institutions for boys and girls in every town. As a
consequence, the Spanish schools started accepting Filipino students. It was
during this time when the intellectual Filipinos emerged. The Normal School was
also established which gave men the opportunity to study a three-year teacher
education for the primary level.