National Students’ Day in the Philippines Date in the current year: November 17, 2024

National Students’ Day in the Philippines National Students’ Day is observed in the Philippines on November 17 every year. It was established by President Rodrigo Duterte to highlight the role of the student movement in advancing democracy in the Philippines.

The then-president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte designated November 17 as National Students’ Day in 2019. The date of the holiday was chosen to coincide with International Students’ Day that was celebrated for the first time in 1941.

On November 17, 1939, Nazis stormed the University of Prague, executed eight student leaders and an associate professor, and sent more than 1,200 students to concentration camps for protesting against the German occupation of Czechoslovakia. Two years later, students from fourteen countries signed the proclamation declaring November 17 as International Students’ Day. A landmark celebration of the holiday occurred in 1989, when an International Students’ Day demonstration helped spark the non-violent Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia.

Looking back at the history of the Philippines, Filipino students played a similar role in the Philippine Revolution of 1896–1898. Students were instrumental to the establishment of both the Propaganda Movement that called for political reforms in the Philippines, and the Katipunan, a revolutionary society whose primary goal was to gain independence from Spain by revolutionary means.

Filipino students who fought against colonization and for their country’s independence included Manuel Tinio, Emilio Jacinto, Gregorio del Pilar, Gregoria de Jesus, Isabelo de los Reyes, Jose Rizal, Emilio Aguinaldo, Andres Bonifacio, Marcelo H. del Pilar, and Macario Sakay. National Students’ Day is the perfect occasion to celebrate their contribution to the independence of the Philippines and honor their memories.

The main goals of National Students’ Day in the Philippines are to highlight the role of students in nation-building throughout the country’s history and acknowledge their contributions to national development and shaping a better society, and to provide a space for Filipino students where they can meet one another, discuss the things they care about and the issues they face, exchange ideas and experiences, and showcase their interests and talents.

Events and activities commemorating National Students’ Day are coordinated by the National Youth Commission (NYC). The NYC is a Philippine government agency responsible for policy-making regarding youth affairs, raising awareness of youth issues, and coordinating and implementing programs designed to address these issues. The celebration is supported and promoted by the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education.

All public and private schools, colleges, and universities in the Philippines are encouraged to participate in and organize National Students’ Day events that foster respect for individual differences and tolerance, help develop a strong sense of social responsibility, and encourage skill development. They include concerts, competitions, sports games, and more.

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