Growth of the PSHS System [VIDEO]

“As we reach for our dreams,
as we strive for our goals
As we search for the untarnished truth”

— from the PSHS hymn, written by Mario Taguiwalo

What is the PSHS system?

The Philippine Science High School system (PSHS for short, or colloquially, “Pisay”) is a “specialized public high school system in the Philippines” (Wikipedia)– akin to magnet schools in the U.S. PSHS offers scholarships to all students, selected through a competitive national exam (with a 7% admission rate*).

The first campus was founded in Diliman, Quezon City in September 1964. After 24 years, the first regional campus– the Southern Mindanao campus– was established in Davao City. The national plan is to establish a campus in each of the 17 regions of the country. Today, there are 11 regional campuses in all, with around 3,800 student-scholars enrolled. Two additional campuses are set to open by 2014– in Tagaytay City, Cavite (CALABARZON Region Campus) and Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Sur (Zamboanga Peninsula Region Campus).

This video shows the growth of the PSHS system to 11 existing and 2 planned PSHS campuses. The size of the circles is proportional to the number of enrolled students (for the school year 2011-2012).**

The last frame of the video can downloaded– and used as a data graphic– here.

How many scholars?

One of the (many) good things about Pisay (as we, scholars, affectionately call it) is that class sizes are limited to at most 30 students. The main campus at Diliman is the largest in terms of student body, with 8 sections for a total of around 960 students in total (8 sections x 30 students x 4 years of HS). The other campuses have 3 sections per year, or around 350 students in total. The newer campuses are still “filling in” their upper years, but are building toward that number. In total, more than 3,800 students are enrolled in the 11 campuses. Among them are our future scientists, innovators, leaders, and changemakers.

It would be interesting to estimate many PSHS alumni there are today. Assuming the same number of students from the beginning, we get an upper limit of 21,500. Since the Diliman campus started out with fewer students, the number is probably closer to 15,000 alumni or 1 for every 60,000 Filipinos.***

Appeal to reader:

If you are a Pisay scholar– like me– please appreciate how lucky this makes you. I used to cringe at the cliche they repeated like a mantra then: “To whom much is given, much is required”. Now, 12 years wiser, I understand, and humbly accept.

If you have a child, cousin, niece, nephew, young neighbor, or friend who shows interest and aptitude for science, I encourage you to tell him or her about Pisay– and the possibilities that await.

If you are one, yourself, I encourage you to apply! 🙂



*The figure 7% was estimated from the Wikipedia figure of 17,000 test-takers per year, i.e., (240+11 x 900)/17,000.

**Data used to create this graphic is available here: pshs_enrollees_2011-2012.xls. Thanks to the PSHS System Office of the Executive Director for providing enrollee information. The video was made using Processing.

***As always, comments and corrections are most welcome!