The Philippines has a long tradition of basic education for children. During the Spanish colonial period, it was common for the Catholic Church to have schools for the children of the region. During the American colonial period in the first half of the 20th century, education was developed according to American pattern, which can still be seen at higher levels. In 2008, literacy was 93% among those 15 years and older.
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The compulsory compulsory school is six years old and includes children between 7 and 12 years. Most children are enrolled in school, but dropouts are common. Schools are still lacking in some areas, and in big cities many schools are overcrowded. Tuition is free, but books and other teaching materials must be paid, as well as school uniforms and bus trips. In poor families, this can be an obstacle for all children to attend school. There are slightly more girls than boys who complete schooling, which is unusual in developing countries. Teaching languages are the two official languages pilipino (tagalog) and english, and often a regional language is used to help.
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The state’s five-year secondary school is also free and in theory compulsory. There the teaching takes place in English. There are also private secondary schools that may be ethnic or have religious or other religious affiliation. In 2008, 55% of boys and 66% of girls went to secondary school.
Higher education is provided in colleges, universities and higher vocational schools. Of these more than 2,000 colleges with post-secondary education, 3/4 are private colleges and universities, many with ethnic or religious affiliation. The remainder are state or municipal colleges and universities. In 2008, 28% of men and 32% of women in the current age groups studied at the post-secondary level. International ranking lists of prominent universities include the University of the Philippines in Manila and Ateneo de Manila University.
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Supreme Court President Maria Lourdes Sereno was removed from the court in May by eight votes to six. Therefore, the month before, Duterte had officially declared: “I must inform you that I am now your enemy and that you will be removed from the court.” The Duterte-controlled parliament had already started a process to have her removed, and he now urged his supporters to remove her quickly – otherwise “he would do it himself”. The Duterte dictatorship has arbitrarily executed around 4,200 people since 2016 on suspicion of drug connections.
In a referendum in the southern Philippines at the end of January 2019, an overwhelming majority voted to create an autonomous region consisting of five provinces and 3 major cities under the name Bangsamoro. In 2014, the government had signed a peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and one of the elements of this agreement was the implementation of a referendum on autonomy. The process had then been delayed for 5 years in the national parliament, but was finally implemented. The joy was great among the region’s Muslim majority, which for decades has fought for autonomy. An 80-man council will now be appointed to guide the region into general elections by 2020. The MILF’s 30-40,000-man partisan force will be demobilized as they receive resettlement support, and the Manila regime will provide 1, 3 billion US $ for economic and social development of the region which is the poorest of the Philippines.
While there was a prospect of the armed struggle in the southern Philippines ending with the creation of an autonomous region, the struggle continued in other parts of the country. The Maoist New Peoples Army (NPA) could celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2019. It remains active in the southern part of the country and in scattered areas in the central and northern parts. The NPA experienced a strong boom after the fall of Marcos dictatorship in 1986, when it succeeded in connecting itself to a wide range of popular organizations. It then reached over 20,000 people under arms. But internal political divisions weakened both that and the popular movements, so that by 2019 it was below 10,000. Acc. the Philippine military below 3,500. (Asia’s longest-fighting communist guerrillas – in pictures, Guardian 22/4 2019)