Judging all schools (whether public or private) as one based on individual experience is as big a mistake as saying the weather is always the same in Cebu based on one week's experience.
Most public schools on Cebu are, as Tim said, overcrowded and substandard. Class sizes between 50 and 75 are common with shortages of desks, books and materials. Teachers are responsible for equipping and maintaining their classrooms...on their own peso. I have never heard of teachers not being paid, but there are many instances I know of where administrators stole (forced fees and donations) from teachers. Teachers in public schools are all too often called away from their classrooms with nobody left to supervise the students. Way too much time is spent by teachers and students on frivolous activities like preparing for festivals and performances to make the administrators look good or on religious rituals (yes...they have Catholic Mass in the public schools). Way too little time is spent on basic academics, and most of the time that is spent teaching to the test (so that students will maximize their scores on the grade-level tests).
If you wonder why the majority of Filipinos seem to be under-educated...this is why. On the other hand, there are some select schools that operate totally different from the norm. There is a public elementary school on the CNU campus that only accepts the top 1% of students from other public schools. The student/teacher ratio is much lower than in regular public schools, and student teachers assist the regular teachers in the classroom, which brings the ratio down even further. They don't participate in entertainment activities, and the students are high achievers (if they aren't, they aren't invited back the next year). At the high school level, Science High School is one of the best schools in the country. Again, class sizes are small and students must qualify to attend. Academics are heavily stressed.
On the private schools, there is as much variance in quality of education as there are colors in the rainbow. Some schools are just there to take your money and students are only marginally better off than students in the majority of public schools. Teachers are generally paid less in private schools than in public schools, so there is more turnover than in the public school system (as teachers who can migrate to the public schools). Private schools often accept teachers who have not passed the teacher certification exam, which means the quality may be lower. Some schools only accept certified teachers and pay more to keep them.
Class sizes are much smaller in private schools, and teachers are out of the classroom less frequently, so more teaching is done. Some privates schools participate in festivals and performances. Others don't. Some have excellent curriculums where students can learn. Others don't. With private schools, you really need to do your due diligence as a parent, and don't just put your kids into the first (or cheapest) school. If you fail to do your due diligence, your children will suffer the consequences. There are only a few really good private schools in the Cebu Metro area. Those schools won't ensure that your child will learn, but they will provide them with the opportunity.
Edited by Headshot, 11 August 2013 - 09:28 AM.