Philippine Standard Classification of Education(PSCED)



I. Background
II. Goals

III. Guiding Principles

IV. Coding Scheme



The 2008 Philippine Standard Classification of Education (PSCED) is a detailed classification of all educational levels in the Philippine educational system. It aims to integrate the different classification schemes being used by the various agencies, for the purpose of  standardizing and facilitating  the compilation of education statistics  as basis for educational planning, manpower training, labor market studies and other related activities.

The PSCED is patterned after the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) developed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for the purpose of assembling, compiling, and presenting education statistics, both nationally and internationally. The 2008 PSCED is the latest revision on the country’s standard educational classification and was patterned after the 1997 ISCED. The first PSCED  or the 1994 PSCED was patterned after the 1976 ISCED. An updated version was released in 1997, but still based on the  1976 ISCED.

The PSCED presents a detailed classification of all educational levels in the Philippine educational system. It is useful to those responsible in compiling statistics on education, either from censuses and surveys or  from administrative records. It will also serve  as a guide to various users, particularly those in the academe and those involved in job placement and recruitment services as well as labor exchange programs. 

Thus, the revision of the 1997 PSCED was  initiated by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) to adopt the  new broad structure found in the 1997 ISCED, reflect new and  emerging courses in the country as well as identify and delete those educational  programmes that became obsolete or not anymore offered by the country’s higher educational institutions. New initiatives on education such as the ladderized programme and  alternative learning system (ALS) were likewise considered in this revision.



  1. To provide the basic conceptual framework for the collection, compilation and presentation of statistics in the Philippine educational system; 

  2. To promote better understanding and cooperation, both within the international and national educational communities and serve as  guide in the country’s negotiation on bilateral or mutual recognition agreement  with other countries  on labor exchange;

  3. To  contribute to the formulation of  educational policies, standards  and procedures  in the  country; and

  4. To enhance  the generation of  quality education statistics.



The following guidelines were adhered to in the development of the 2008 PSCED:

  1. The 1997 International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) was adopted as the basic reference document. Modifications, however, were made to suit domestic/local conditions and requirements.

  2. As with ISCED, the PSCED categorizes educational programs by their content along two main axes referred to as cross-classification variables: levels and fields of education.

  3. Revisions in the classification system are being undertaken when there are major  changes  in the broad structure  ( 1997 PSCED vs. 2008 PSCED):
  • The number of levels of education was reduced from 7 to 6:

1997 PSCEd

2008 PSCEd



0  Pre-School

0 Pre-Primary/ Pre-School

1  Elementary

1 Primary/Elementary

2  High School

2 Secondary/ High School


4  Post Secondary Non-Tertiary/ Technical Vocational



5  Non-Degree


6  Baccalaureate

5 Tertiary, First Stage/  Baccalaureate

7  Post-Graduate

6 Tertiary, Second Stage/ Post-Graduate

9  Not Elsewhere Classified


  1. For purposes of national comparability, the existing classification of basic and secondary education levels of the Department of Education (DepEd), particularly  Levels 0, 1 and 2  have been retained.  Level 3  which characterizes the secondary education system in the western countries  but not found in the Philippines was not adopted. 

  2. Most changes occurred in the structure and concepts of the higher educational levels (Levels 4, 5, and 6) in the 2008 PSCED. These include the following :


1997 PSCEd

2008 PSCEd


Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary/ Technical-Vocational



Tertiary, First Stage/Baccalaureate



Tertiary, Second Stage/Post-Graduate



Not Elsewhere Classified



*Level 4 includes educational programs and courses previously classified under Levels 5 and 9 in the 1997   PSCEd

  • A new level, Level 4, has been introduced to cover educational programs and courses which straddle the boundary between upper secondary and tertiary education
  • Tertiary education now comprises only two levels, Levels 5 and 6, instead of the previous three, Levels 5 to 7
  • Level 9 which was reserved for the educational programs that could not be allocated to any other level has been eliminated. It is assumed that all educational programs can be classified in the various levels.
  • Introduction of broad groups in Levels 4, 5 and 6, an innovation made to eliminate overlapping by grouping together fields of education having similarities:

    0          General
    1          Education
    2          Humanities and Arts
    3          Social Sciences, Business and Law
    4          Science
    5          Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction
    6          Agriculture
    7          Health and Welfare
    8          Services

The 2-digit code assigned to a broad group shall consist of the following: the first digit refers to a level of education (for third level only - Level 4, 5 or 6), while the second digit refers to any of the single-digit code associated with the particular group of related fields.

  • The number of fields of education was increased to cover 25 categories compared to 21 in the 1997 PSCED (including 9 broad groups introduced in the 2008 PSCED):

1997 PSCEd

 2008 PSCEd





01  General

01  Basic

08  Literacy

08  Literacy and Numeracy


09  Personal Development





14  Teacher Training and Education Science

14  Teacher Training and Education Science





18 Fine and Applied Arts

 21  Arts

22  Humanities

22  Humanities

26 Religion and Theology






30  Social and Behavioral Science

31  Social and Behavioral Science

84  Mass Communication and Documentation

32  Journalism and Information

34  Business Administration and Related

34  Business and Administration

38  Law and Jurisprudence

38  Law




42  Natural Science

42  Life Science


44 Physical Science

46  Mathematics and  Computer Science

46  Mathematics and Statistics


48  Computing/ Information Technology




54  Engineering

52  Engineering and Engineering Trades

52  Trade, Craft and Industrial

54  Manufacturing and Processing

58  Architectural and Town Planning

58  Architecture and Building




62  Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery

62  Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery


 64 Veterinary




50  Medical and Allied

72  Health


76 Social Services


66  Home Economics (Domestic Science)

81  Personal Services

78  Service Trades


70  Transport and Communication

84  Transport Services

89  Other Programs

85  Environmental Protection


86  Security Services

  1. A unique coding system was used. The 2008 PSCEd is a five-stage classification system providing successive subdivisions from level to broad group to field to program to course:

    • The level, represented by a 1-digit code, and is defined as a stage that denotes the steps of educational progression, e.g., tertiary.  

    • The broad group, represented by a 2-digit code, and is defined as an innovation made to eliminate overlapping by grouping together fields of education having similarities, e.g., Health and Welfare.

    • The field, represented by a 3‑digit code, and is defined as an aggregation of program groups that are related in terms of level and major subject-matter or area, e.g., Health Programs.

    • The program, represented by a 5-digit code, and is defined as a selection of one or more courses, e.g., Programs in Nursing.  

    • The course, represented by a 7-digit code, and is defined as a planned series of learning experiences in a particular range of subject-matter or skills, e.g., Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
  1. In crafting the different programmes and courses under  Levels 4, 5, and 6, all  the  existing programmes and courses being offered by  higher educational institutions in the country were taken into consideration.  

  2. Under  each educational programme, the individual courses were further evaluated  and classified into the following  groups with corresponding  action from the TWG:  


refer to courses that are not found in the 1997 PSCED but have been added in the 2008 PSCED

Deleted/Phased out 

refer to obsolete courses that are no longer offered by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs); these were not  included in the 2008 PSCED


refer to similar courses that are being offered by different schools using different titles which are combined in one  standard program/course in the 2008 PSCED

  1. To guide users and others stakeholders in the utilization of the 2008 PSCED, a correspondence table has been  developed to indicate the old codes of educational programs and courses used in the 1997 PSCEd.

The following activities were undertaken  in  crafting the revised  2008 PSCED:

  • Creation of the Technical Working Group on Education Classification (TWGEC) chaired by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), with members from the Department of Education (DepEd), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Science Education Institute (SEI), Bureau of Local Employment (BLE), National Statistics Office (NSO) and National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB). The NSCB technical staff served as the Secretariat responsible for technical coordination as well as overall planning and management of activities of the TWG;

  • Identification of new/emerging and obsolete educational programs and courses through the internet, newspapers and other reference documents;

  • Discussion/Review of educational programs and courses by level of education with concerned agencies as lead: (a) Levels 4 and 9 - TESDA; and (b) Levels 5 and 6 - CHED;

  • Compilation  and consolidation by CHED of  all educational programmes being offered by schools and universities in the country based on their  submitted  reports;

  • Consultation and verification with experts from higher education institutions (HEIs) and officials  of  the association of public and private registrars in the country to elicit comments/suggestions on the revised list of educational programs and courses;

  • Compilation of definition/description of educational levels, fields and programs;

  • Revision of coding scheme adopted for the different levels and fields of education;

  • Development of a correspondence table to indicate the old codes of educational programs and courses used in the 1997 PSCED; and

  • Presentation of the final draft of the  2008 PSCED to the NSCB Executive Board for approval.

The  2008 PSCED was approved by the NSCB Executive Board through NSCB Resolution No. 8, Series of 2008 “ Approving and Adopting the 2008 PSCED”.



The coding scheme of the 2008 PSCED is similar to that of the 1997 ISCED, with the 1-digit code representing the level,the 2-digit code representing the broad group, the 3-digit code representing the field, and the 5-digit code representing the program. The Philippine education classification system conforms to international standard (i.e.,1997 ISCED), and is comparable across countries up to 5-digit code (program) only. The 2008 PSCED coding system, however, has been extended to 7-digit code representing the particular course.

To illustrate the revised coding scheme, the course - Bachelor of Science in Nursingcoded 5721201, is taken as an example. Its hierarchical structure is as follows:

coding scheme

The first digit (5) represents the specific level of education or Level 5: First Stage of Tertiary/Baccalaureate Education. The first two digits (57) represent the specific broad group: Health and Welfare. The first digit (5) and the next two digits (72) taken together, represent the subject-matter field (572): Health Programs. The first three digits (572) and the next two digits (12) taken together, represent the program (57212), a selection of one or more courses under the Programs in Nursing. The first five digits (57212) and the last two digits (01) altogether, represent the particular course (5721201), Bachelor of Science in Nursing.