Philippine Education — Another of my Philippine Pony Thoughts — Part 2

OK folks, I’m going to deliver on my promise in my last article … Part One of this Two-parter.  read this if you haven’t already:

Thoughts and Opportunities in Philippine Education — Another of my Philippine Pony Thoughts

In that article I started talking about solutions to how you could get your children a good, non-abusive education in the Philippines.

How to Move to the Philippines Manual

Philippine Public Schools:

First of all, I’m going to discount the Philippine public schools.  It may be unfair to just gloss over the country’s public school sin one fell swoop, but many of them are not of the quality I personally would like to see (there are good ones, like the Philippine Science school system), but for my purposes (and for the children of many expats, who may not be Philippine citizens, they are problematical( … and beyond our discussion for today.

Philippine Private Schools:

These can be a much better solution. There are some good ones.  And, in US terms, they are cheap.  But I myself would never send another child of mine to a conventional school, I don’t care if the local government runs it or some church.

And make no mistake about it,virtually all the good schools in the Philippines are religious schools .. mostly catholic.  If that’s OK with you, fine.  If it’s not OK with you, good luck on finding anything that doesn’t intermix fact with Catholic dogma ..;. and often very little information for a child to use to differentiate the two.

International Schools:

These are another possible solution.  There are a number of them in the Philippines.  Some, I am told, are very good indeed.  Others, not so much.

But for sure they are not every where, they cost a lot … far more than Philippine private schools typically do, and in my own dealings with them I have found an “us” versus “them” attitude I don’t like.  Mainly, they seem to exist for the parents who are afraid that going to Philippine schools and growing up alongside Filipino kids might lead a child into the path of “going native”.  And, “heaven knows, old chap, we wouldn’t want that, no would we?  Pukka Sahib and “keep up the side” and all that old-school colonial racism.  For some?  Maybe.  For me, absolutely not.

These schools have often become the repository of a lot of teachers who for one reason or another can’t make it in the US public school system.  One only needs to read yup on the sad case of John Mark Karr, for example 9the nut job who falsely claimed he murdered JonBenet Ramsey.  he fled the USA on a child pornography charge and got hired by an expensive “International School” in Thailand, where he was employed at the time he made his scandalous false confession.  So much for their background checks, says I. Want to spend thousands a year “betting’ on some other school’s background checks?  Not me, thank you.

Home Schooling:

OK, now we’re possibly on to something.  In the USA alone there are many, many organizations who offer educational materials as well as complete course in elementary and high school educational programs including examinations, evaluations and even degrees.

I already mentioned mu colleague Penelope’s Homeschooling website.

My friend Robert Thompson whom I quoted originally at the start of this dissertation has mentioned The Well-Trained Mind and I find they have some excellent forums for parents.

Another great resources is Practical Homeschooling Magazine  which come sin both online and traditional “dead tree” formats.

And last but not least I should mention PhilFAQS reader Tom Nixon’s Best Online High Schools

Literally there are thousands more resources out there.  If you were to decide to home school kids you would certainly not be alone.

The Philippine Pony Aspect:

OK, fine, Dave.  What’s the downside?  Well, that’s simple.  I’ve talked to a lot of parents who had the thought that they wanted to home school their children but couldn’t.  The major reason typically involved not being able to devote the time, feeling that they didn’t have the basic knowledge required and even the fact that many of us (certainly I include myself here) don’t have the organizational skills to stick to a program and finish it.  All these are valid concerns.

teacher-23304_640But if you live in the Philippines, how difficult do you think it would be to find a degreed 9and even experienced) teacher who would come to work for you and be your own personal teacher/home school administrator?

Not only are there thousands of teachers out there with the training and the degrees who can’t find work, but the standard wage her in the Philippines, even for teachers in expensive private Manila schools is less than what a call center agent makes.  And the salaries of public school teachers in the Philippines?  Sadly, way, way lower than you might imagine.

It’s just a guess on my part, but I think a family could easily hire a teacher to be either a live-in or live-out teacher/tutor/governess domestic, using the curriculum from whatever US or international source they felt would suit their children best.

With the capabilities of today’s Internet and applications like Skype and other live chat/conferencing tools, the “home School Tutor” would not even need to live in the same house, or even city.

Or, the “home school helper” could even be, say, a retired US teacher who wanted to live in the Philippines and was looking for honest work to support him or herself … and put his or her years of experience to work.

And as long as the actual education remained in the hands of and under the direct supervision of the parents of each child, I also see no reason one “Home School Helper” couldn’t, remotely, lead or tutor classes anywhere .. adding the personal touch to the already developed and approved home school curriculum.

There ARE laws regarding education in the Philippines.  I am not a lawyer and I don’t know these laws.  So there could be some hang-ups or hurdles to overcome.  But the more private the operation the less problems I see.  Certainly one must never break the law.  But on a great many onesy-twosey opportunities like this, in my personal experience in the Philippines, nobody much cares.  It is not at all like the USA where in many towns and cities the local School Board wields more power (and has a higher budget) than the city itself.

Anyway, it‘s worth a thought.  If you think it won’t work, that’s OK too.  Just read the first quote below and think about what it says.  It’s easy to think of reasons something can’t be done … just a bit harder to figure out ways it can be done.

I’m going to post this now and go join Otto the dog hiding under my desk to escape the incessant an obnoxious fireworks noise only about five hours to go until relative quiet resumes.  There isn’t much I dislike about living in the Phili
ppines, but new year’s Eve has to be high on my 9short) list of negatives.  The noise, the smoke, the noxious fumes, the maimed children and the general insanity are not any of my favorite things.

I’m signing off now with what I think will be my last post of 2012.  I’d like to extend warm wishes for a

Safe, Happy and Prosperous New Year

to all who have had the patience to put up with me through the last one. Happy 2013!

A couple thoughts that have passed through my view (and mind) recently.  Good thoughts for the new year:

Forget about all the reasons why something may not work. You only need to find one good reason why it will

  — Dr. Robert Anthony


“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it”

  — Pablo Picasso

(Thanks, Joe)


  1. says

    Many words of wisdom in here Dave. You are certainly right about having many graduates here that can not find jobs suiting their education. Someone with a teaching degree should not be driving a tricycle or a jeepney for a living, especially if they are a good teacher that students would like and learn from.

  2. says

    Many words of wisdom in here Dave. You are certainly right about having many graduates here that can not find jobs suiting their education. Someone with a teaching degree should not be driving a tricycle or a jeepney for a living, especially if they are a good teacher that students would like and learn from.
    I hope that this next year will be good to you and yours.

    • says

      @ John:
      Actually while researching this I found there are more than a few Americnas doing this. Surprised more hasn’t been said regarding using this as a source of honest income in the Philippines, or for getting ready to live in the Philippines.

      Being a teacher is a good qualification, but it is hardly necessary. Many of these programs are designed for the “average parent” to be the “teacher”. Anyone in the US who can read and write English and especially if they have guided a child or two through the educational “wicket” would be eminently qualified to monitor, coach, tutor and guide … all they have to do is be patient and like helping kids learn.

      Happy New Year to you and yours too.

  3. John Miele says

    Well Dave, I can say that both Rebecca and myself feel that we chose well for Juanito’s school… It is in the middle in terms of cost, and we believe that the teachers really care about the students there. Class size was the biggest issue in my mind. We first considered Ateneo, due to its’ reputation…. Until my neighbor told me about the 43 to 1 student / teacher ratio. We put Juanito into Claret. There are 9 students to 1 teacher with the little kids, and class size is capped at 14 in high school. He has one teacher with two assistants in his class of nine.

    We we lucky? Yes.

    We also did quite a bit of research before enrolling him, and visited each school and asked other parents how they liked it (multiple references). We met his teachers before enrolling. If we got the typical Philippines no answer to inquiries, we dropped the school from consideration. Is it Catholic? Yes. (Cost about 1/2 of Ateneo) I don’t have a problem with Juanito being exposed to different viewpoints (Rebecca is Catholic and I’m a pagan… He can decide for himself when he is of age… There IS a little doctrine, but not too much… In other words, it is not the be all, end all of the school day).

    As to our local public school? Kids sit on the floor because of lack of desks.

    Point is, as you state, there are options… but you need to search. If the day comes where I think the school is not right for him, we’ll look at that when the time comes, but very happy for now.

    • says

      @ John M:

      I agree, John, that home school wouldn’t be for everyone. But I must say, s I have grown older, the amount of psychological (and sometimes physical abuse) that goes on is kind of ignored or not realized by parents, mainly because they really aren’t aware of the crap they went through back when they were students. Kind of like the “frog in the slowly heating water” parable.

      I have two dear nephews in what is considered a fine school here … although, after all, we are “in the province”, and .. well frankly, I don’t like what I see at all in their development. But “it’s what all Filipinos do” … so, that’s the way it will be for them. If they were my sons rather than nephews, they would be out of that school yesterday … but, as with all things, YMMV.

      One of my chief objections to the penal oops, organized school system, especially in the Philippines, is the year upon year of brainwashing that convinces the kids that they are “second-rate” or “third-world” or “only Filipinos.”

      I could go on for pages about how the “organized system” is ruining generation aftre genertaion of Filipino kids … but I won’t ;-). Happy New Year

      • John Miele says

        I do agree, but I also believe that involvement of the parents is critical with schooling, whether public, private, or at home. Both Rebecca and I take the time to talk to Juanito, and frequently visit the school. We check his assignments every night and help him (Yes, a 4 year old has homework… geared towards his age, of course). I look at it as that is our job… If I can get him to think critically and enjoy learning, I will have done that job. No amount of money or any school can do it for me.

        • says

          @ John M:

          Well we sure can agree on that, my friend. Parental responsibility and involvement is the absolute key, no matter what the method chosen. Happy New Year.

  4. Joe p says

    Perhaps a joint survey between Mindanaobob, Philfaqs and other popular cooperative expat sites to do a survey of expats and where they send their kids for school or if they do home schooling. Sort of like the where to live map but for schools.

    That pony is in there somewhere. He’ll I would even be willing to help organize it so all sites could post it. What do ya think guys, would that be valuable info for those already living or planning to live in the Philippines with kids? Or those that have not thought about the “blessed event” yet and what additional adaptations it requires to stop the dumbing down/oppression of our youth via a proper education.

    To me this may be one of those situations where some folks do not even know they NEED this info until its available. I know as I have mentioned in my private emails to you Dave that I will be having to look at this info at some point in the next several years as our own blessed event is approaching in Jun or July for an as yet to be determined Godson/daughter.

  5. Bob New York says

    I have met a couple of licensed elementary teachers on my visits and was shocked to discover the one that is working full time at a known and accredited ” Private School ” earns the equivalent of about $8.00 ( thats right eight dollars ) a Day, no retirement plan, no sick leave etc. Another that works part time earns 60 peso per hour ( about $1.50 in USD ) . Obviously, as an American when I hear the words ” Private School ” I apply the USA definition meaning that they are usually somewhat exclusive, cost a lot of money to attend, equipped with the latest of everything etc. This is not so in some of the private schools that I have seen in The Philippines. I can not really comment on the overall quality of education in some of the private schools I have visited, I feel confident that there are some good ones.

    I think your article has a good idea Dave, with so many teachers in The Philippines seemingly out of work or working part time for what we would consider peanuts, You could hire a licensed and qualified teacher at a more than reasonable cost for a full time home schooling situation. It could even end up costing less than what you might pay for lunch in a resturant or diner here in the USA f on a day by day basis and the teacher would be more than grateful for the employment.

    • says

      @ Bob New York:

      Yes indeed Bob. One could, I think, have the best of both worlds by using a US-approved home schooling/distance learning provider and taking care of the day-to-day “hands on” (Oops I guess we don’t allow ‘hands on’ teaching any longer, LoL) part of teaching by hiring a qualified teacher to help the kids follow the US-based and certified curriculum. This would be especially appropriate for families with children who are planning to go back to the USA while the kids are still in school. They ought to be able to transfer back into a US school with no problem then.

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