Education is the process by which a person gains knowledge. It is considered as one of the essential needs for human survival, that is why most countries’ future depends on educating its people. The financial/economical issues and traditions lead countries to different educational routes. Although Australia and the Philippines may have some similarities, both countries’ education systems differ in many ways.
What makes the primary difference is that the Philippine government do not have as much funds and 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, the Philippines for example, can only provide a low budget for education although the Department of Education receives the biggest budget allocation from the government funds.
As a result, not everyone in this country is able to study due to geographical, financial or social barriers. For example, a child living in a remote area might have to cross the river, the other side of the mountain or walk a few kilometres just to be able to learn. A typical public school in overcrowded areas or provinces may also include a classroom with fifty students sharing with at least a book. These situations happen everyday, but not in a wealthy country like Australia. This great deprivation leads to the very high regard of Filipinos for education.
Another difference is the structure of the education system. In Australia, it is a compulsory education of seven years in primary school and five years in high school. On the other hand, the new K-twelve programme in the Philippines adds two more years for the senior high school, which 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.
This is because the school year in the Philippines is from June to March/April while Australian schools operates from February to December. Both school years are divided into two semesters, except Philippine schools do not have holidays in between of terms. Filipino students spend longer hours at school than Australians; a minimum of eight hours compared to Australia’s six hours per day. Although both education systems open schools from Monday to Friday, Philippine schools may have Saturday make-up classes for the suspension of classes due to typhoons, heavy rain or local feasts.
Like the structure, curriculums from both countries also have 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, Maths, Science, Social Studies, Arts and Technology and Enterprise. While the Australian curriculum involves a lot of Sports, the Philippines have Character and Values instead. In addition, all graduating Filipino high school students are also required to pass their Citizen Army Training that covers after school sessions too.
Like Australia, Philippine schools also offer special programmes for certain students. In addition to public schools, religious, foreign-ethnic, laboratory and science schools are also provided in the Philippines. In Australia, private schools are mostly religion-based, some maybe all boys/girl or mixed. Both systems have English as their medium of instruction; in fact, there are only around two to four subjects out of nine that are translated to the Filipino dialect!
In contrast with a number of differences, exams are more likely to be similar. 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 student’s competency for College/University and is not compulsory for 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 taking Tertiary levels.
Other differences in Australian and Philippine schools are rules and policies. Like any other Asian-cultured countries, Philippine schools control the discipline of their students much more than Western school does. In the Philippines, it has been a practice that every morning we have our morning assemblies that consists of a prayer, followed by 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 are almost the same except Filipino schools do not allow shorts or really short skirts for girls. Filipino boys are also required to maintain a clean cut otherwise they will have their hair cut off during a random check. Philippine schools use Identification Cards, usually includes the ID number and personal information of the student to prevent trespassing and skipping, which is not really necessary for schools in Australia.
Given these points, it is clear that a country’s education system depends on the their resources, traditions and economy. Some practices of a country might work well for them but not for others. It helps us realise that education is essential and fundamental to every person of every nation. The Philippines 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 possible.