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
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
Schools Built By
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
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 Filipinos.
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