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August 7, 1940, the National Assembly passed the Educational Act of 1940

Educational Act of 1940 is also known as Commonwealth Act No. 586. It was passed On August 7, 1940 by the National Assembly, providing for the revision of the system of public elementary education in the Philippines including the financing thereof.

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It also reduced the elementary course from seven to six years.

SEC. 2 of the the Act states that,

In order to meet the increasing demand for public elementary instruction and at die same time comply with the constitutional mandate on public education, a complete revision of the public elementary school system is imperative. Such a revision shall have the following objectives:

(a) to simplify, shorten, aid render more practical and economical both the primary and intermediate courses of instruction so as to place the sane within the reach of the largest possible number of school children;

(b) to afford every child of school age adequate facilities to commence and complete at least the primary course of instruction; (c) to give every child completing the primary course an adequate working knowledge of reading and writing, the fundamentals of arithmetic, geography, Philippine history and government, and character and civic training; and

(d) to insure that all children attending the elementary schools shall remain literate and become useful, upright and patriotic citizens.

[ Commonwealth Act No. 586] (

The same Act fixed the school entrance age at seven years and required compulsory attendance in the primary grades for all children enrolling in grade 1, adoption of the single-session, one class in the morning and another in the afternoon under one teacher to accommodate more children, and the support of public elementary education by the national government.

Notedly, during the Commonwealth period, President Manuel Quezon, in his desire to improve the educational system in the Philippines, created the National Council for Education which served as an advisory body on educational matters.

Significant educational developments during the Commonwealth period included:

  • The revision of the curricula in the elementary and secondary levels;
  • Introduction of adult education to eliminate illiteracy as well as vocational and;
  • Citizenship training to adult citizens in the country.


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