Your kids can benefit from a world-class education in Cebu - education being one of Cebu's two largest industries - but there's some things you should know.

First, don't even for a minute consider sending your child to a public school; nobody does that. Anyone with as much as a toehold in the middle class sends her kids to private schools, as long as someone in the family has a job, or a distant relative works abroad. And indeed, given the lack of English proficiency in the official school system, one wonders what kids do in public elementary and high schools. I've been jokingly told that students at public schools spend most of their time maintaining the grounds, painting the walls, etc. Or they might be spending all of their time rehearsing for parades or festivals.

As an expat, you automatically belong to a certain class, even if in your own country you occupy the lowest possible rung on the social ladder. Therefore, you really ought to send your kid to a decent school.

For toddlers, there are plenty of pre-schools, but unfortunately no pre-school in Cebu accepts kids for durations longer than 2 hours per day, and a guardian is expected to be present throughout. In Cebu, pre-school is more an occasion for toddlers and moms alike to socialize, rather than daycare.

A good pre-school is the excellent Playhouse, run by Cebuano entrepreneur Bunny Pages and his wife. Playhouse is now found next to Bright Acadamy, also owned by the Pages family, on Banilad Road.

When they get older, a good place to send your kids is Cebu International School. There are lots of purported "international" schools in Cebu, but CIS is the real deal. An alternative is Sacred Heart. Note that, unless you want junior to be embarrassed in front of his pals, you really should have a driver pick up the kids from either of these schools in an imported car. Since drivers can be had for around US$100 per month, you can probably afford it.

If your offspring is really smart - straight A's - she'll go on to the University of the Philippines, which is where the scholars go. The UP happens to be the most liberated college and they have weird traditions such as running around town naked. But a UP diploma comes with unmatched cachet, and is the Philippine equivalent of an Ivy League or Oxbridge degree. Ateneo de Manila is just as prestigious, but located in Manila. Locally, the rich kids go to University of San Carlos, and the very rich kids go to CIE. Standards at both colleges are higher than at other colleges in Cebu.

There are lots of other good schools other than those mentioned thus far, and I'll be featuring these in detail as I find out more.

Students in Cebu

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