List of the oldest schools in the Philippines

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This is a list of educational institutions in the Philippines arranged according to the dates of their foundation. It comprises the list of the oldest schools in the Philippines sorted in various categories, and gives an overview of the development of education and higher learning in the Philippines. To be included in this list, an institution must satisfy a traditional definition of a formal educational institution at the time of its founding. Chronologically, an educational institution can only be included in the top ten in a certain category only if no other school has been proven, with reliable sources, to be older. Moreover, an addendum shall be attached in a category where an entry is disputed or defunct; this addendum shall consist of the next undisputed or still operating educational institution.

Philippines Republic in Southeast Asia

The Philippines, officially the Republic of the Philippines, is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. Situated in the western Pacific Ocean, it consists of about 7,641 islands that are categorized broadly under three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The capital city of the Philippines is Manila and the most populous city is Quezon City, both part of Metro Manila. Bounded by the South China Sea on the west, the Philippine Sea on the east and the Celebes Sea on the southwest, the Philippines shares maritime borders with Taiwan to the north, Japan to the northeast, Vietnam to the west, Palau to the east, and Malaysia and Indonesia to the south.

Contents

The oldest universities, colleges, vocational schools and the first modern public education system in Asia were created during the Spanish colonial period. The earliest schools were founded by Spanish Catholic missionaries. By the time Spain was replaced by the United States as the colonial power, Filipinos were among the most educated subjects in all of Asia. [1]

Oldest educational institutions

RankYear of foundationName at the time of foundationFounding orderLocationCurrent statusCurrent nameCurrent affiliationsTypeReference
11589 Colegio de Santa Potenciana Franciscans Manila DefunctDefunctDefunct Private [2] [3] [4] [5]
21590 Colegio de Manila Society of Jesus Manila DefunctDefunctDefunct Seminary, Pontifical, Royal, Private [5] [6] [7]
31595 Colegio de San Ildefonso Society of Jesus Cebu City ActiveUniversity of San CarlosSociety of the Divine Word Private [5] [8] [9] [10]
41601Colegio de San Jose Society of Jesus Manila ActiveSan Jose Seminary Jesuit Private [5] [11] [12]
51611 Colegio de Nuestra Señora de Santisimo Rosario Dominican Order Manila Active University of Santo Tomas Dominican Private, Pontifical, Royal [5] [13] [14]
61620Colegio de Niños Huerfanos de San Juan de LetranDon Juan Geronimo Guerrero Manila Active Colegio de San Juan de Letran Dominican Order Private [5] [15]
71620Colegio de Huerfanos de San Pedro y San Pablo Dominican Order Manila DefunctDefunctDefunct Private [5] [15]
81630 Colegio de San Juan de Letran Dominican Order Manila Active Colegio de San Juan de Letran Dominican Private [5] [15] [16]
91632 Colegio de Santa Isabel Manila Active Santa Isabel College Manila Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul Private [5] [17] [18]
101640 Universidad de San Felipe de Austria Audiencia Real de Manila Manila DefunctDefunctDefunct Public [5] [19]

Oldest educational institutions in continuous operation

  Disputed

Note: The University of San Carlos traces its roots to the Colegio de San Ildefonso founded by the Spanish Jesuits fathers Antonio Sedeno, Pedro Chirino and Antonio Pereira in 1595, thus claiming to be the oldest still existing school in Asia. [20] USC celebrated its quadricentennial in 1995. [20] However, this claim is opposed by the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, [21] [22] which argues that USC only took over the facility of the former Colegio de San Ildefonso and that there is no 'visible' and 'clear' link between San Carlos and San Ildefonso. [21] [22]

University of San Carlos private Catholic university in Cebu City, Philippines

The University of San Carlos is a private Catholic research university in Cebu City, Philippines which is administered by the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) missionaries since 1935. It provides basic education, undergraduate and graduate studies higher education.

University of Santo Tomas private pontifical university in Manila

The Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, The Catholic University of the Philippines, or simply the University of Santo Tomas (UST), is a private, Roman Catholic research university in Manila, Philippines. Founded on April 28, 1611 by Miguel de Benavides, Archbishop of Manila, it has the oldest extant university charter in the Philippines and in Asia, and is one of the world's largest Catholic universities in terms of enrollment found on one campus. The university is run by the Order of Preachers. UST is the only university to have been visited by three popes four times: once by Pope Paul VI on November 28, 1970, twice by Pope John Paul II on February 18, 1981 and January 13, 1995, and once by Pope Francis on January 18, 2015. The patron of the university is St. Thomas Aquinas, while St. Catherine of Alexandria is the patroness.

Notable scholars including Dr. Jose Victor Torres, professor of history at the De La Salle University, [21] [23] Fr. Aloysius Cartagenas STD, professor at the Seminario Mayor de San Carlos of Cebu [24] [25] and Fr. Fidel Villarroel, OP, eminent historian and former archivist of Santo Tomas [22] [26] [27] have also questioned San Carlos' claim of tracing its roots to the 16th Century Colegio de San Ildefonso. [21] [22] ''

Fidel Villarroel is a Spanish historian, writer, filipinologist, biographer, political commentator, Master Theologian of the Dominican Order, and member of the Order of Isabella the Catholic. A recipient of the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, he is the former Archivist, Spanish Department Director, Prefect of Libraries, and professor at the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas. He had also served as secretary to the Apostolic Nunciature for 32 years(1959–1991), and is currently an academic director of the prestigious Academia Filipina de la Lengua Española, the local branch of the renowned Real Academia Española based in Madrid, Spain, and part of the Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española.

RankCurrent nameTraces origin toYear of foundationFounding orderLocationTypeCurrent affiliationsReference
1 University of San Carlos Colegio de San Ildefonso 1595 Society of Jesus Cebu City Private Society of the Divine Word [5] [8] [9] [10]
2San Jose SeminaryColegio de San Jose1601 Society of Jesus Manila Private Jesuit [5] [11] [12]
3 University of Santo Tomas Colegio de Nuestra Señora de Santisimo Rosario1611 Dominican Order Manila Private, Pontifical, Royal Dominican [5] [13] [14]
4 Colegio de San Juan de Letran Colegio de San Juan de Letran 1620 Dominican Order Manila Private Dominican [5] [15] [28] [16]
5 Santa Isabel College Manila Colegio de Santa Isabel1632 Manila Private Daughters of Charity [5] [17] [18]
6 San Carlos Seminary Real y Conciliar Colegio de San Carlos1702 Archdiocese of Manila Manila Seminary Archdiocese of Manila [5] [8] [9] [10] [29]
7Santa Catalina CollegeBeaterio Colegio de Santa Catalina de Siena1706 Dominican Manila Private Dominican [5] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34]
8Colegio de Santa RosaBeaterio y Casa de Enseñanza1750 Manila Private Daughters of Charity [5] [30] [35] [36] [37]
9Seminario Mayor de San CarlosReal Seminario de San Carlos1783 Archdiocese of Cebu Cebu City Seminary Society of the Divine Word [5] [38]
10Holy Rosary Minor SeminaryCasa de Clerigos1793 Archdiocese of Caceres Naga City Seminary Archdiocese of Caceres [5] [39]

Addendum

A claim in the first ten is disputed; accordingly, an addendum with the next undisputed claim is listed here.

RankCurrent nameTraces origin toYear of foundationFounding orderLocationTypeCurrent affiliationsReference
11Immaculate Conception School of Theology, ViganSeminario de San Pablo1822 Dominican Order Vigan Seminary Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia [40] [41] [42] [43]

Oldest educational institutions for girls

  Still in operation  Defunct  Established as a School for Girls

RankYear of foundationCurrent nameName at the time of foundationFounding orderLocationTypeCurrent affiliationsReference
11589 Colegio de Santa Potenciana Colegio de Santa Potenciana Franciscans Manila Private Defunct [2] [3] [4]
21632 Santa Isabel College Manila Colegio de Santa Isabel Manila Private Daughters of Charity [5] [17] [18]
31706Santa Catalina CollegeBeaterio Colegio de Santa Catalina de Siena Dominican Manila Private Dominican [5] [30] [32] [34]
41750Colegio de Santa RosaBeaterio y Casa de Enseñanza Manila Private Daughters of Charity [5] [30] [35] [36] [37]
51867 Universidad de Sta. Isabel Colegio de Santa Isabel Daughters of Charity Naga City Private Daughters of Charity [44] [45] [46] [47]
61868 Concordia College Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion de la Concordia Daughters of Charity Manila Private Daughters of Charity [48] [49] [50]
71880 Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion Colegio de la Inmaculada ConcepcionHermanitas de la Madre de Dios Cebu City Private Daughters of Charity [51] [52] [53] [54]
81892Escuela Normal SuperiorEscuela Normal Superior Religious of the Assumption Manila Private Defunct [55]
91904 Assumption College San Lorenzo Assumption Convent Religious of the Assumption Manila Private Religious of the Assumption [55]
101906 St. Scholastica's College Manila St. Scholastica's College Manila Order of Saint Benedict Manila Private Order of Saint Benedict [56]
101906 St. Scholastica's College Manila St. Scholastica's College Manila Order of Saint Benedict Manila Private Order of Saint Benedict [56]
111912 St. Paul University Manila St. Paul University Manila Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres Manila Private Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres

Addendum

Two among the first ten oldest schools for girls are already defunct; accordingly, an addendum with the next oldest girls' school is listed in regards with the top 10 oldest schools for girls in continuous operation.

RankYear of foundationCurrent NameName at the time of foundationLocationTypeReference
111907 Centro Escolar University Centro Escolar de Señoritas Manila Private, Non-Sectarian [57]

Note: Centro Escolar University was established as Centro Escolar de Señoritas by Doña Librada Avelino and Doña Carmen de Luna in 1907 to cater the young women of Manila. The university is still continuously operating, but now as a co-educational institution.

Centro Escolar University is a private university in Manila, Philippines. It was founded on June 3, 1907 by two women, Librada Avelino and Carmen de Luna, and was originally called Centro Escolar de Señoritas. It became a university in 1933. Originally, its Parañaque campus was part of the university's system until it was phased out in the early 1990s.

Librada Avelino teacher and founder of Centro Escolar University

Librada Avelino was a Filipina educator who co-founded the Centro Escolar University. She was the first woman to earn a teaching certificate from the Spanish authorities when she passed her examination in 1889. Continuing her education, Avelino was also certified as a secondary teacher in 1893. After establishing her own girls' school in Pandacan, she was forced to flee to Manila when in 1896, the Philippine Revolution brought troops to Pandacan. Reopening a school in the capital, she operated until the Spain ceded the country to the United States and the educational authorities changed the requirements, implementing English language curricula. To learn English, she agreed to take a post as principal of the Pandacan Girls' School, believing that teaching the language would help her learn it faster. She also took English classes and studied English briefly in Hong Kong in 1901.

Carmen de Luna founder of Centro Escolar University

Carmen de Luna Villajuan was a Filipina educator and co-founded the Centro Escolar University. After completing her own education to train as a teacher, de Luna taught at the private school run by Librada Avelino in Manila and the Pandacan Public Girls' School. In 1907, the two women, along with Fernando Salas founded the Centro Escolar de Señoritas, as a non-sectarian educational facility for girls. Acting as assistant director from 1907 to 1934, she assumed the directorship upon Avelido's death and led the university until her own death in 1962.

Oldest public educational institutions

  Still in operation  Defunct  Disputed

RankYear of foundationCurrent nameName at the time of foundationLocationReference
11640 Universidad de San Felipe de Austria Universidad de San Felipe de Austria Manila [19]
21820 Philippine Merchant Marine Academy “Escuela Nautica de Manila Zambales https://www.pmma.edu.ph/about-pmma/
31861 Don Honorio Ventura Technological State University Escuela De Artes y Oficios De Bacolor Pampanga
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Educational institutions with the oldest university charters

  Still in operation  Defunct  Disputed

RankNameYear of university charterCharter granted byLocationTypeReference
1 Universidad de San Ignacio 1621 Philip IV of Spain Manila Private [6] [7]
2 Universidad de San Felipe de Austria 1640 Real Audiencia de Manila Manila Public [19]
3 University of Santo Tomas 1645 Pope Innocent X, Philip IV of Spain Manila Private [13] [14]
4Universidad Literaria de Filipinas1898Philippine Revolutionary government Manila Public [58] [59] [60]
5 University of the Philippines Manila 1908American Civil government Manila Public [61] [62]
6 University of the Philippines Los Baños 1909American Civil government Los Baños, Laguna Public [61]
7 University of the Philippines Visayas 1918American Civil government Miagao, Iloilo Public [61] [63]
8 Centro Escolar University 1932Philippine Commonwealth government Manila Private [57]
9 Silliman University 1938Philippine Commonwealth government Dumaguete Private [64]
10 Adamson University 1941Philippine Commonwealth government Manila Private [65]

Addendum

Three among the first ten educational institutions with the oldest University charter is already defunct; accordingly, an addendum with the next schools with the oldest University charter is listed in regards with the top 10 oldest that are still in continuous operation.

RankNameYear of university charterCharter granted byLocationTypeReference
11 University of the Philippines Diliman 1949Philippine government Quezon City Public [61]
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Oldest Seminaries

  Still in operation  Defunct  Disputed

RankYear of foundationCurrent nameName at the time of foundationFounding orderLocationCurrent affiliationsReferences
11590 Universidad de San Ignacio Colegio de Manila Society of Jesus Manila Defunct [6] [7] [12]
21601San José SeminaryColegio de San José Society of Jesus Manila Jesuit [11] [12]
31611 University of Santo Tomas Central Seminary Colegio de Nuestra Señora de Santisimo Rosario Dominican Order Manila Dominican [13] [14] [66]
41702 San Carlos Seminary Real y Conciliar Colegio de San Carlos Archdiocese of Manila Manila Archdiocese of Manila [29]
51783Seminario Mayor de San CarlosReal Seminario de San Carlos Archdiocese of Cebu Cebu City Society of the Divine Word [38]
61793Holy Rosary Minor SeminaryCasa de Clerigos Archdiocese of Caceres Naga City Archdiocese of Caceres [39]
71822Immaculate Conception School of Theology, ViganSeminario de San Pablo Dominican Order Vigan Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia [40]
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Oldest Law Schools

  Still in operation  Defunct  Disputed

RankYear of foundationNameEducational institutionLocationReference
11734 University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law University of Santo Tomas Manila [67]
21734Universidad de San Ignacio Facultad de Derecho Civil Universidad de San Ignacio Manila [67]
31898Universidad Literaria de Filipinas Civil LawUniversidad Literaria de Filipinas Manila [58] [59] [60]
41899Manila Law CollegeManila Law College Manila [68] [69]
51911 University of the Philippines College of Law University of the Philippines Quezon City [70]
61913University of Manila College of Law University of Manila Manila [71]
71915 Philippine Law School Philippine Law School Manila [72] [73]
81918University of Manila College of Law University of Manila Manila [74] [75]
91934Far Eastern University Institute of Law Far Eastern University Manila [76]
101935 Silliman University College of Law Silliman University Dumaguete [77]

Addendum

Two among the first ten oldest law schools is already defunct; accordingly, an addendum with the next oldest law school is listed in regards with the top 10 oldest law schools in continuous operation.

RankYear of foundationNameEducational institutionLocationReference
111936 Ateneo Law School Ateneo de Manila University Quezon City [78]
121937University of San Carlos School of Law and Governance University of San Carlos Cebu City [79]

Oldest Schools of Medicine

  Still in operation  Defunct  Disputed

RankYear of foundationNameEducational institutionLocationReference
11871 University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery University of Santo Tomas Manila [80]
21905 University of the Philippines College of Medicine University of the Philippines Manila Manila
31946Southwestern University Matias H. Aznar Memorial College of Medicine, Inc. Southwestern University Cebu
41947Manila Central University College of Medicine Manila Central University Manila
51952FEU Institute of Medicine - Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation Far Eastern University Manila
61956 UERMMMC College of Medicine University of the East Manila
71957 Cebu Institute of Medicine Cebu Institute of Medicine Cebu
81974Lyceum Northwestern University Dr. Francisco Q. Duque Medical Foundation Lyceum-Northwestern University Pangasinan
91975West Visayas State University College of Medicine West Visayas State University Iloilo
101975Virgen Milagrosa University Foundation College of Medicine Virgen Milagrosa University Foundation Pangasinan

Oldest Normal Schools

  Still in operation  Defunct  Disputed

RankYear of foundationCurrent nameName at the time of foundationLocationReference
11875 Universidad de Sta. Isabel Escuela Normal de Maestras of Colegio de Sta. IsabelCamarines Sur
21901 Philippine Normal University Philippine Normal SchoolManila
31902 West Visayas State University Iloilo Normal SchoolIloilo
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Oldest Schools of Midwifery

  Still in operation  Defunct  Disputed

RankYear of foundationCurrent nameName at the time of foundationLocationReferencePhilippines
1≈≥≥≥≥1957Marian School of MidwiferyEmillio Aguinaldo College1113-1117 San Marcelino St., Ermita, Manila, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines

14°34′57.01″N 120°59′11.65″E

www.eac.edu.ph
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Oldest Schools of Engineering

  Still in operation  Defunct  Disputed

RankYear of foundationNameEducational institutionLocationReference
11904 Bulacan Trade School Bulacan State University Bulacan [81]
21907 University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Engineering University of Santo Tomas Manila [82]
31925 Mapúa University Mapúa University Manila [83]
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Oldest Music Schools

  Still in operation  Defunct  Disputed

RankYear of foundationCurrent nameName at the time of foundationLocationReference
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See also

Education in the Philippines is provided by public and private schools, colleges, universities, and technical and vocational institutions in the country. Funding for public education comes from the national government. For the academic year 2017–2018, about 83% of K–12 students attended public schools and about 17% either attended private schools or were home-schooled.

Education in the Philippines during Spanish rule

During the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines (1521–1898), the different cultures of the archipelago experienced a gradual unification from a variety of native Asian and Islamic customs and traditions, including animist religious practices, to what is known today as Filipino culture, a unique hybrid of Southeast Asian and Western culture, namely Spanish, including the Spanish language and the Catholic faith.

The higher education in the Philippines is offered through various degree programs by a wide selection of colleges and universities—also known as higher education institutions (HEIs). These are administered and regulated by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).