List of the oldest schools in the Philippines

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The Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas, established by the Dominican missionaries in 1611 and raised to the rank of a University in 1645 by Pope Innocent X through the petition of Philip IV of Spain, is currently the educational institution with the oldest extant University charter in Asia.[1][2]

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.

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.[3]

Oldest educational institutions[edit]

Rank Year of foundation Name at the time of foundation Founding order Location Current status Current name Current affiliations Type Reference
1 1589 Colegio de Santa Potenciana Franciscans Manila Defunct Defunct Defunct Private [4][5][6][7]
2 1590 Colegio de Manila Society of Jesus Manila Defunct Defunct Defunct Seminary, Pontifical, Royal, Private [7][8][9]
3 1595 Colegio de San Ildefonso Society of Jesus Cebu City Active University of San Carlos SVD Private [7][10][11][12]
4 1601 Colegio de San Jose Society of Jesus Manila Active San Jose Seminary Jesuit Private [7][13][14]
5 1611 Colegio de Nuestra Señora de Santisimo Rosario Dominican Order Manila Active University of Santo Tomas Dominican Private, Pontifical, Royal [7][15][16]
6 1620 Colegio de Niños Huerfanos de San Juan de Letran Don Juan Geronimo Guerrero Manila Defunct Defunct Defunct Private [7][17]
7 1620 Colegio de Huerfanos de San Pedro y San Pablo Dominican Order Manila Defunct Defunct Defunct Private [7][17]
8 1630 Colegio de San Juan de Letran Dominican Order Manila Active Colegio de San Juan de Letran Dominican Private [7][17][18][19]
9 1632 Colegio de Santa Isabel Manila Active Santa Isabel College Manila Daughters of Charity Private [7][20][21]
10 1640 Universidad de San Felipe de Austria Audiencia Real de Manila Manila Defunct Defunct Defunct Public [7][22]

Oldest educational institutions still in continuous operation[edit]

      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.[23] USC celebrated its quadricentennial in 1995.[23] However, this claim is opposed by the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas,[24][25] 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.[24][25]

Notable scholars including Dr. Jose Victor Torres, professor of history at the De La Salle University,[24][26] Fr. Aloysius Cartagenas STD, professor at the Seminario Mayor de San Carlos of Cebu[27][28] and Fr. Fidel Villarroel, OP, eminent historian and former archivist of Santo Tomas[25][29][30] have also questioned San Carlos' claim of tracing its roots to the 16th Century Colegio de San Ildefonso.[24][25]''

Rank Current name Traces origin to Year of foundation Founding order Location Type Current affiliations Reference
1 University of San Carlos Colegio de San Ildefonso 1595 Society of Jesus Cebu City Private Society of the Divine Word [7][10][11][12]
2 San Jose Seminary Colegio de San Jose 1601 Society of Jesus Manila Private Jesuit [7][13][14]
3 University of Santo Tomas Colegio de Nuestra Señora de Santisimo Rosario 1611 Dominican Order Manila Private, Pontifical, Royal Dominican [7][15][16]
4 Colegio de San Juan de Letran Colegio de San Juan de Letran 1630 Dominican Order Manila Private Dominican [7][17][18][19]
5 Santa Isabel College Manila Colegio de Santa Isabel 1632 Manila Private Daughters of Charity [7][20][21]
6 San Carlos Seminary Real y Conciliar Colegio de San Carlos 1702 Archdiocese of Manila Manila Seminary Archdiocese of Manila [7][10][11][12][31]
7 Santa Catalina College Beaterio Colegio de Santa Catalina de Siena 1706 Dominican Manila Private Dominican [7][32][33][34][35][36]
8 Colegio de Santa Rosa Beaterio y Casa de Enseñanza 1750 Manila Private Daughters of Charity [7][32][37][38][39]
9 Seminario Mayor de San Carlos Real Seminario de San Carlos 1783 Archdiocese of Cebu Cebu City Seminary Society of the Divine Word [7][40]
10 Holy Rosary Minor Seminary Casa de Clerigos 1793 Archdiocese of Caceres Naga City Seminary Archdiocese of Caceres [7][41]

Addendum[edit]

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

Rank Current name Traces origin to Year of foundation Founding order Location Type Current affiliations Reference
11 Immaculate Conception School of Theology, Vigan Seminario de San Pablo 1822 Dominican Order Vigan Seminary Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia [42][43][44][45]

Oldest educational institutions for girls[edit]

      Still in operation       Defunct       Disputed

Rank Year of foundation Current name Name at the time of foundation Founding order Location Type Current affiliations Reference
1 1589 Colegio de Santa Potenciana Colegio de Santa Potenciana Franciscans Manila Private Defunct [4][5][6]
2 1632 Santa Isabel College Manila Colegio de Santa Isabel Manila Private Daughters of Charity [7][20][21]
3 1706 Santa Catalina College Beaterio Colegio de Santa Catalina de Siena Dominican Manila Private Dominican [7][32][34][36]
4 1750 Colegio de Santa Rosa Beaterio y Casa de Enseñanza Manila Private Daughters of Charity [7][32][37][38][39]
5 1867 Universidad de Sta. Isabel Colegio de Santa Isabel Daughters of Charity Naga City Private Daughters of Charity [46][47][48][49][50]
6 1868 Concordia College Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion de la Concordia Daughters of Charity Manila Private Daughters of Charity [51][52][53][54]
7 1880 Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion Hermanitas de la Madre de Dios Cebu City Private Daughters of Charity [55][56][57][58]
8 1892 Escuela Normal Superior Escuela Normal Superior Religious of the Assumption Manila Private Defunct [59]
9 1904 Assumption College San Lorenzo Assumption Convent Religious of the Assumption Manila Private Religious of the Assumption [59]
10 1906 St. Scholastica's College Manila St. Scholastica's College Manila Order of Saint Benedict Manila Private Order of Saint Benedict [60]

Oldest public educational institutions[edit]

      Still in operation       Defunct       Disputed

Rank Year of foundation Current name Name at the time of foundation Location Reference
1 1640 Universidad de San Felipe de Austria Universidad de San Felipe de Austria Manila [22]
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

Educational institutions with the oldest university charters[edit]

      Still in operation       Defunct       Disputed

Rank Name Year of university charter Charter granted by Location Type Reference
1 Universidad de San Ignacio 1621 Philip IV of Spain Manila Private [8][9]
2 Universidad de San Felipe de Austria 1640 Real Audiencia de Manila Manila Public [22]
3 University of Santo Tomas 1645 Pope Innocent X, Philip IV of Spain Manila Private [15][16]
4 Universidad Literaria de Filipinas 1898 Philippine Revolutionary government Manila Public [61][62][63]
5 University of the Philippines Manila 1908 American Civil government Manila Public [64][65]
6 University of the Philippines Los Baños 1909 American Civil government Los Baños, Laguna Public [64]
7 University of the Philippines Visayas 1918 American Civil government Miagao, Iloilo Public [64][66]
8 Silliman University 1938 Philippine Commonwealth government Dumaguete Private [67]
9 Adamson University 1941 Philippine Commonwealth government Manila Private [68]
10 University of San Carlos 1948 Philippine government Cebu City Private [69]

Addendum[edit]

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.

Rank Name Year of university charter Charter granted by Location Type Reference
11 University of the Philippines Diliman 1949 Philippine government Quezon City Public [64]
12
13

Oldest Seminaries[edit]

      Still in operation       Defunct       Disputed

Rank Year of foundation Current name Name at the time of foundation Founding order Location Current affiliations References
1 1590 Universidad de San Ignacio Colegio de Manila Society of Jesus Manila Defunct [8][9][14]
2 1601 San José Seminary Colegio de San José Society of Jesus Manila Jesuit [13][14]
3 1611 University of Santo Tomas Central Seminary Colegio de Nuestra Señora de Santisimo Rosario Dominican Order Manila Dominican [15][16][70]
4 1702 San Carlos Seminary Real y Conciliar Colegio de San Carlos Archdiocese of Manila Manila Archdiocese of Manila [31]
5 1783 Seminario Mayor de San Carlos Real Seminario de San Carlos Archdiocese of Cebu Cebu City Society of the Divine Word [40]
6 1793 Holy Rosary Minor Seminary Casa de Clerigos Archdiocese of Caceres Naga City Archdiocese of Caceres [41]
7 1822 Immaculate Conception School of Theology, Vigan Seminario de San Pablo Dominican Order Vigan Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia [42]
8
9
10

Oldest Law Schools[edit]

      Still in operation       Defunct       Disputed

Rank Year of foundation Name Educational institution Location Reference
1 1734 University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law University of Santo Tomas Manila [71]
2 1734 Universidad de San Ignacio Facultad de Derecho Civil Universidad de San Ignacio Manila [71]
3 1898 Universidad Literaria de Filipinas Civil Law Universidad Literaria de Filipinas Manila [61][62][63]
4 1899 Manila Law College Manila Law College Manila [72][73]
5 1911 University of the Philippines College of Law University of the Philippines Quezon City [74]
6 1913 University of Manila College of Law University of Manila Manila [75]
7 1915 Philippine Law School Philippine Law School Manila [76][77]
8 1918 University of Manila College of Law University of Manila Manila [78][79]
9 1934 Far Eastern University Institute of Law Far Eastern University Manila [80]
10 1935 Silliman University College of Law Silliman University Dumaguete [81]

Addendum[edit]

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.

Rank Year of foundation Name Educational institution Location Reference
11 1936 Ateneo Law School Ateneo de Manila University Quezon City [82]
12 1937 University of San Carlos School of Law and Governance University of San Carlos Cebu City [83]

Oldest Schools of Medicine[edit]

      Still in operation       Defunct       Disputed

Rank Year of foundation Name Educational institution Location Reference
1 1871 University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery University of Santo Tomas Manila [84]
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

Oldest Normal Schools[edit]

      Still in operation       Defunct       Disputed

Rank Year of foundation Current name Name at the time of foundation Location Reference
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

Oldest Schools of Midwifery[edit]

      Still in operation       Defunct       Disputed

Rank Year of foundation Current name Name at the time of foundation Location ReferencePhilippines
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

Oldest Schools of Engineering[edit]

      Still in operation       Defunct       Disputed

Rank Year of foundation Name Educational institution Location Reference
1 1907 University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Engineering University of Santo Tomas Manila [85]
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

Oldest Music Schools[edit]

      Still in operation       Defunct       Disputed

Rank Year of foundation Current name Name at the time of foundation Location Reference
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

Oldest Chinese Schools[edit]

All information below are obtained from the Philippine Chinese Education Research Center. Schools ranked ninth onwards are still under dispute.

      Still in operation       Defunct       Disputed

Rank Year of foundation Current name Name at the time of foundation Location Reference
1 1899 Tiong Se Academy Anglo Chinese School
Chinese School (lesser-known name)
Binondo, Manila
2 1912
February
Hua Siong College of Iloilo Iloilo Chinese Commercial School Iloilo City
3 1912
November
(from other sources: May)
Manila Patriotic School Manila Chinese Patriotic School Sta. Cruz, Manila
4 1915 Cebu Eastern College Cebu Chinese School Cebu City
5 1917
January
Wisdom School Wisdom School Manila
6 1917
July
St. Stephen's High School Chinese Girls School Sta. Cruz, Manila
7 1917
August
Philippine Scholastic Academy Quiapo Anglo Chinese School Quiapo, Manila
8 1918 Baguio Patriotic High School Chinese Patriotic School Baguio City

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See also[edit]