Philippine schools overseas (PSOs) are duly-registered educational institutions operating outside the Philippines and implementing the basic education curriculum of the Philippine Department of Education (DepEd). PSOs are required to comply with the requirements and regulations of the government of the Philippines and of the host countries. A valid permit to operate from the host country is required before applying for accreditation from the Philippine DepEd.
PSOs are established to address the educational needs of children of Filipinos overseas, and eventually facilitate their reintegration into the Philippine educational system. The schools also provide a venue for the teaching and propagation of the Filipino culture and heritage among Filipino youth overseas and serve as a locus for Filipino community activity.
The Inter-Agency Committee on Philippine Schools Overseas (IACPSO) was established through Executive Order No. 252 to serve as a policy-making body and forum for discussion and resolution of issues concerning the establishment, operation, and management of PSOs. Composed of five (5) member-agencies, the Committee is co-chaired by the DepEd and the Department of Foreign Affairs. Other members are the Department of Labor and Employment, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), which also serves as the Committee Secretariat.
As of March 2011, there are forty (40) PSOs operating in ten (10) countries – Bahrain, China, East Timor, Greece, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Of these schools, thirty-five (35) have Certificates of Recognition or Government Permits issued by the Philippine DepEd and seven (5) have provisional permits. There are an estimated 27,500 students currently enrolled in PSOs at various levels, from pre-elementary, elementary, and high school.
In collaboration with the IACPSO, the CFO initiated the holding of nine (9) Conferences on the Management and Operation of Philippine Schools Overseas, which were held in Bahrain (2000), Manila (2002), Bahrain (2004), Puerto Princesa City, Palawan (2005), Xiamen, China (2006), Mactan, Cebu (2007), Dubai, UAE (2008), Davao City (2009), and Bohol (2010). The conferences were conducted with the following objectives: (1) ensure knowledge and understanding of specific policies and regulations governing the establishment, operation, and management of PSOs, (2) discuss and arrive at long-term solutions to various problems encountered by PSOs, (3) strengthen linkages and networking, and promote inter-school activities among PSOs, and (4) define possible areas of collaboration among the schools, larger Filipino community, the host government, and agencies of the Philippine government.
There are four categories of Philippine schools overseas, namely:
Category I – Non-stock, non-profit institutions established and controlled by Filipino community volunteers, or established as such through the assistance of Philippine Embassies or Consulates
Category II – Institutions which are fully-owned and controlled by Filipino citizens as an enterprise
Category III – Institutions which are partly owned by Filipino citizens, or which are managed and operated by Filipino citizens under the sponsorship of a foreign national
Category IV – Institutions which are fully owned by foreign nationals, but managed and operated by Filipino citizens.
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