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How did Spanish and American educational policies differ in the Philippines?

Spanish educational policies in the Philippines were religiously oriented, while American policies focused on democratic and practical education.

Under Spanish rule, education in the Philippines was primarily religious and aimed at conversion to Catholicism. The Spanish colonisers established parochial schools where the curriculum was heavily influenced by the Catholic Church. The friars taught Christian doctrines, Spanish language, and basic literacy. However, education was not widely accessible, especially to the indigenous population. The Spanish educational system was more of a tool for religious conversion and control rather than a means to empower the local population.

In contrast, the American colonisers implemented a more democratic and practical approach to education. The American educational policy was based on the belief that education was a right, not a privilege. They established a public school system accessible to all, regardless of social status. The curriculum was designed to be practical and relevant to the needs of the society. English was introduced as the medium of instruction, and subjects such as science, mathematics, and social studies were emphasised. The American educational system aimed to produce citizens who could participate in a democratic society, fostering a sense of nationalism and promoting social mobility.

Moreover, the American colonisers also introduced higher education in the Philippines. They established the University of the Philippines, which offered courses in various fields such as law, medicine, engineering, and the arts. This was a significant departure from the Spanish era, where higher education was limited and often inaccessible to the majority of the population.

In summary, Spanish educational policies in the Philippines were primarily religious and elitist, while American policies were democratic and practical. The Spanish focused on religious conversion and control, while the Americans emphasised democratic values, practical knowledge, and social mobility. The shift in educational policies reflected the differing colonial objectives of the Spanish and American regimes.

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