Philippines is home to more than 98 million people who live across more than 7,000 islands in South East Asia, much of which is mountainous and prone to earthquakes and eruptions from any of its 20 active volcanoes - as well as being subjected to typhoons and storms. Forecasters say that the birth rate is so high in this country that its population could double within three decades (BBC). EAC has partnered with UNESCO to strengthen education systems for out of school children.

source(s): UNESCO EFA Global Monitoring Report 2013/14

Main Barriers to Education

  • Poverty
  • Rural locations
  • Infrastructure
  • Conflict

Despite economic difficulties in the recent past, the Philippines has emerged as one of the most promising newly-industrialized countries.  This is due to a shift away from agriculture exportation and into electronics, petroleum and other goods.  Economic growth in the Philippines has been at a rate of 5% per year since 2002 (World Bank) and in the year 2012-2013, the Philippines reduced its poverty population by 3%.

This country was colonized by the Spanish during the 16th century for three centuries and was ceded to the USA in the 20th century. In 1946 independence was granted to the Philippines.

According to the BBC, for the past 40 years in the south, rebels have fought for a separate Islamic state and this has caused some challenges for the prosperity of the economy, however, a peace deal was brokered in 2010, which could open this area up to foreign investment and further strengthen this county’s growing economy. 

As it is, expatriate workers send billions of dollars home each year to the Philippines, this leaves them open to negative fluctuations in global economic trends.  Furthermore, according to the World Banks, the country currently enjoys a savings rate that exceeds investment, while its human resources continue to be in high demand around the world.

Further challenges for the Philippines include a high rate of youth unemployment where half of the working age population (15-24) is unemployed. Unemployment among new graduates is also high. There are no benefits or formal working arrangements in place for the poor living in rural areas, despite them being more vulnerable to the impacts of negative economic trends.

It is said that the Philippines was home to the first modern public schooling system, the oldest universities, colleges, and vocational schools in Asia, however free universal primary education is yet to be realized.


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Strengthening Education System for Out of School Children

Strengthening Education System for Out of School Children

Successfully Completed Project

The Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, and East Timor continue to face challenges in reaching and educating out of school children (OOSC). The EAC-UNESCO Asia Pacific Regional Bureau for Education Strengthening Education Systems for Out of School Children project seeks to enrol and retain 50,000 out of school children in quality primary education programs in the sub-region.



EAC partnered with UNESCO to help realise Sustainable Development Goal 4 (ensure inclusive and quality education for all), as well as the former Millennium Development Goal 2 (achieve universal primary education). To that end, the two have joined in partnership to implement education interventions in 11 countries to reach OOSC in Asia and the Middle East.