CHED lauds SC ruling excluding Filipino, Panitikan in college

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MANILA — The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Wednesday lauded the Supreme Court (SC) decision, which denied the motion for reconsideration filed by critics against the exclusion of Filipino and Panitikan in the general education curriculum of all higher education institutions.

In a statement, CHED chair J. Prospero De Vera III said the SC decision proves that “CHED did not abolish Filipino and Panitikan in the General Education Curriculum” and that they were “transferred to the Senior High School level since these are important building blocks in the preparation of senior high students to be university-ready when they graduate”.

“The accusation of critics that CHED is anti-Filipino is wrong. The Commission believes in the fundamental role played by language in education. To be properly cultivated, Filipino cannot merely be taught as a subject, but must be used in oral and written forms, across academic domains,” de Vera added.

The SC denied the motion for reconsideration to stop the implementation of CHED Memorandum Order (CMO) Number 20, series of 2013 or the General Education Curriculum: Holistic Understandings, Intellectual and Civic Competencies.

The CMO, which was issued during the Aquino administration, delisted Filipino and Panitikan as part of the core subjects of the general education curriculum.

The SC ruling said the CMO did not violate the Constitution when it transferred these subjects, as part of the curriculum of primary and secondary education, and it did not limit the academic freedom of universities and colleges to require additional courses in Filipino, Panitikan and the Constitution in their respective curricula.

The SC added that the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 was enacted to promote the interest of the public and not only of a particular class, thus, it “does not violate substantive due process of petitioners because the means employed still aim to improve the quality of basic education and to make the country’s graduates more competitive in the international arena”.

On November 26, 2018, Tanggol Wika, a group of university professors, filed a motion for reconsideration asking the SC to reinstate a temporary restraining order against the CMO, which they said must be declared unconstitutional.

Tanggol Wika stressed that tertiary level Filipino covers topics not taught in basic education Filipino.

These include issues on Filipino language, Filipino identity outside the Philippines, the intellectualization of the Filipino language, and thesis writing.

The group also said the exclusion of Filipino in the college curriculum “reverses the decades of efforts of trying to put Filipino in higher education”.

Citing that the issue has been debated upon for a long time, de Vera called on all sectors to respect and abide by the High Court decision.

“So that the revised curriculum for various degree programs can now be fully implemented with dispatch by the close to 2,000 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) nationwide,” he said.

De Vera said HEIs must now exercise their academic freedom to include language proficiency not just in Filipino but also other Philippine languages such as Ilocano, Waray, Cebuano, Ilonggo, Pangasinan, Bicolano, and Asian languages that will make graduates regionally and globally competitive.

“CHED will support HEIs that will pursue language innovation while providing scholarship and professional education assistance to affected Filipino and Panitikan teachers through the K to 12 Transition Program Fund,” he said. -PNA)

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