CHED to hold order removing Filipino as required college subject

Sofia Tomacruz

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CHED to hold order removing Filipino as required college subject
CHED Chairperson Prospero De Vera III says they will wait for the Supreme Court's final decision, as groups plan to appeal the recent decision regarding Filipino in the general education curriculum

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said it will wait for the Supreme Court’s (SC) final decision before implementing a 2013 memorandum order removing Filipino, Panitikan, and Constitution as required general education subjects in college.

CHED Chairperson Prospero De Vera III on Wednesday night, November 14 said the CHED will not implement its order yet as advocates of the Filipino language said they plan to appeal the Court’s decision, which lifted a 2015 Temporary Restraining Order that had blocked the memorandum order.

“We cannot implement if there is a motion for reconsideration,” De Vera told Rappler.

He added, “The CHED respects this decision and will wait for the Supreme Court to decide finally on the issue.”

Groups and faculty from several universities slammed the SC’s decision, saying the removal of the subjects from the minimum required courses in college would lead to the erosion of Philippine culture and identity.

They also warned it would lead to the loss of jobs of thousands of teachers. (READ: Briones says college instructors can teach Filipino in elementary, high schools)

CHED’s authority recognized: De Vera said the SC’s decision highlighted the CHED’s power to decide and set standards for higher education institutions in the country.

The Court’s decision, he said, affirmed CHED’s authority to set the minimum requirements for college academic programs, distribution of requirements in the general education curriculum, and specific “professional subjects” that may be needed for degrees with licensing requirements.

The CHED also said it was highlighted in the SC’s decision that the subjects were removed to avoid duplication of subjects taught in elementary and high school.

But university faculty disputed this, saying that Filipino and Panitikan subjects taught in college were not repeated lessons but a continuation and expansion of a student’s’ learning. 

De Vera said the SC noted that the law did not require the subjects to be taught in colleges and that “the study of Filipino can easily be included as courses of study in the tertiary level, if higher education institutions decide to do so.”

He added the CHED also assumes students who graduated from the K to 12 program have taken up the subjects as part of requirements to become “university-ready.”

“To be university-ready, graduates of the basic education curriculum should have taken Filipino, Panitikan, and the Constitution. Higher education institutions may enhance these competencies by including additional subjects in Filipino, Panitikan or integrate these into existing subjects in their curriculum.”

Advocates questioned this, saying the CHED could easily include the subjects among the minimum required subjects “if they wanted to.”

Various education and language groups said they will file separate motions for reconsideration on November 23. –

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers defense and foreign affairs. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz.