You are on page 1of 6

Renzo M.

English 10 WFX2- Position Paper

Change the GE program of the University of the Philippines

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are licensed controlled and supervised by CHED. CHED is mandated to
formulate plans and policies to tertiary and graduate education. However, the University of the Philippines is an HEI
but is not under the supervision of CHED. Therefore, the university has the freedom to choose what to adopt to their
education curriculum as changes deemed to be necessary. It has come to attention that the CHED Memorandum
Order No. 20, series of 2013 is still being debated about on whether it should be adopted by the university. As UP
students, we must voice out our opinions and stands on the change of the GE curriculum. We are the students
studying in order to learn and thus we expect to have a system that is reasonably sound.
General education is defined as the portion of the curriculum common to all undergraduate students
regardless of their majors (University of Macau). We all know that GEs are where students from different courses are
joined together. Whether you are from the College of Arts and Letters or from the College of Science, you will meet
people from different colleges in the GE courses. The rationale behind the GEs is to expose college undergraduate
students to various domains of knowledge and to develop intellectual, personal and civic competencies as well as
practical skills. Concerning the GEs, CHED released Memo No. 20, series of 2013 entitled General Education
Curriculum: Holistic Understandings, Intellectual and Civic Competencies which promotes a new GE program that
aims to provide holistic development by enabling students to develop their identities as people in order for them to
contribute meaningfully to the Filipino society and nation. The new GE curriculum will be reduced from 63 units (for
humanities and social science majors) or 51 units (for science, engineering and math majors) to 36 units for all
students (Commission on Higher Education). The reduction of units allows the college students to give more focus on
their specializations or their majors. 24 units of the minimum required 36 units are allotted into core courses, 9 into
elective core courses and 3 units on Rizal (as dictated by law). The courses may be taught in either English or
Filipino. The 8 GE core courses are: Understanding ones self, Readings in Philippine History, the Contemporary

World, Mathematics in the Modern World, Purposive Communication, Art Appreciation, Science, Technology and
Society, and Ethics.
The new change in the GE curriculum inevitably affects high school. With the reduction of the required GE
units in college, high school graduates are expected to know more and so, some of the GE subjects that are to be
taken in college are now moved to the high school section. One problem arises with this complication. Most of us
students know that the K-12 system was implemented in order to give more time for high school students to digest
what theyre learning in an extended amount of time but since the GE subjects are being moved from college to high
school, a congestion of subjects happens and the supposed time for digestion is gone. Another problem with this is
that the subjects moved to the high school section are supposed to be intellectualized in college because it is at this
time where the students have already matured enough to seriously and earnestly understand the concepts presented
to him.
It is bad that a congestion of subjects happen because of the moving of college subjects to the secondary
level but this in turn means that you get to have lesser GEs to get in college and you can therefore focus more on
you specialization. Most students question why some subjects are needed. Sometimes, they often think whether or
not to study for their GEs more rather than their majors and sometimes they actually do. This is most especially true
in the University of the Philippines. Plenty of students keep on complaining that their GEs are more like majors in
comparison to their actual majors. Alongside that, it is not that bad that some subjects are moved from college to the
high school section. Understanding or the intellectualization of it does not actually differ because they are taken at
the same age when freshmen from the past educational system take them. Thus, there is no reason for them not to
intellectualize these subjects not unless the problem lies on their instructors.
With the CHED Memo No. 20, series of 2013, the displacement of teachers is inevitable. The displaced
teachers will be moved to the high school section and the benefits that they had been receiving before will be gone.
Also, not all the displaced teachers will be able to transition assuredly. Some will become jobless and as they are
moved to the high school section, their wages will also be lowered. For the Filipino subject alone, the is an estimate

of 10,000 full-time and 20,000 part-time teachers that are going to lose their jobs or get less income (Ageles). The
GE teachers that are going to be displaced will not lose their benefits immediately but it is inevitable. This is highly
unreasonable on the side of the teachers. There may be teachers that teach disciplines alongside GE subjects but
there are also teachers that only teach GEs. Although you could raise the wages of the teachers in as a solution but
there will still be that difference between being a college instructor and being a high school teacher. Discontentment
or dissatisfaction happens because when you raise one side, you will also need to raise the other. Other problems
with the teachers transition to teaching from college to high school also arise. College professors teach differently
from the teachers that teach in high school. They will need to try a different approach in dealing with high school
students. This problem will need a mass-wide training program for transitional teachers to be effective for when they
will teach senior high school students. This will entail a need for money, time, materials and facilities.
There have been some who have expressed great opposition towards the implementation of the memo
solely for the reason of it removing Filipino courses and subjects. The Department of Filipino and Philippine Literature
of the University of the Philippines gave reasons to not adopt or to trash the memo. First, it is because that it removes
the certainty that Filipino will be used and taught in college. In the present system, there is an assured 9 units
allocated for Filipino. However, should the memo be implemented, the decision regarding Filipino rests in the hands
of the university, college, teacher, students or even in the hands of forces in or outside the university. There is also
the evident possibility that Filipino might not be used as a language of instruction because of the ingrained thought
that English is the language of the educated or it is the language towards success. Second, it does not recognize
Filipino as a legitimate realm of knowledge. Filipino is treated only as a medium of instruction in line with English. It is
not recognized as a way to perceive the community and the world like the other GEs and also that it does not
contribute to the development of the mind and obligation towards the nation. Third, it disregards the language of the
country and the languages role in the development of the country. Filipino is considered to be the history of the
Philippines. It already has a long story ever since it was taught in the 1940s and also as it was used in the 1970s as a
language of instruction through the Bilingual Policy. It had already flourished as a discipline and as a way to perceive
the world. Filipino is the identity, views and awareness of Filipinos. It is in the language itself the knowledge of the

physical and non-physical world. It is not just the issue of Filipino as a language of instruction rather; it is the
recognition of being Filipino. Lastly, the removal of the 9 units is a form of awareness violence. It dilutes the
importance of Filipino history and civilization that only the Filipino language can explain. The efforts of our ancestors
to recognize the greatness and integrity of the Filipinos is going to be in vain if it is not introduced in the language that
can describe their struggles to sacrifice themselves just to reach their goals.
Although I am for the changes in the CHED memo, it is true that we should allocate units for Philippine
studies because we need to keep our identity as Filipinos. But even so, it is not suffice to say that Filipino is the
history of the Filipinos. Our ancestors may have fought for our freedom but Filipino as a language was only ever
chosen as the Wikang Pambansa because the people who led the revolution against the foreigners were people
who spoke Tagalog. And even then, the president who chose Tagalog as a basis for Filipino was a tagalog speaker
himself. Comparatively, there are more Visayan speakers than Tagalog. Filipino is also sometimes called the
formalized version of Tagalog. There are also no advantages in studying the language because with regards to global
competency, English is a must to prioritize. Prioritizing the study and use of Filipino will cause regress for the country.
The reason why the Philippines beats India in telecommunications is because Filipinos speak clear and fluent
English. We do not use Filipino in communicating with other countries. It may not be right to remove Philippine
Studies from the curriculum but Filipino as a language holds no visible advantages when studied. It is already a
language used in local communication and is widely used in the country. There is a need to study culture for our
identity as Filipinos but the study and prioritization of the language Filipino holds no great importance.
The memo aims to accommodate the changes made to the College Readiness Standards made by CHED
and K-12 system (Commission on Higher Education). The College Readiness Standards or CRS are standards of
competency that consist of the combination of knowledge, skills, and reflective thinking necessary to participate and
succeed (without remediation) in the entry-level undergraduate courses in higher education institutions (Commission
on Higher Education). It is imperative that high school students must have the ability to be able to adhere to the
requirements needed by their professors in order to achieve great results. For example, in a Geography class, you
and your groups are required to pass a term paper in the middle of the semester but most of the freshmen dont

actually know what to do and thus pass a work done in reference only to a guidebook. A guidebook only helps a little
bit in understanding what to do in terms of writing papers. The students wont always be able to remember which
points are important inside the book. It is hard for one to procure a neatly done paper when he is holding and reading
a guidebook whilst making the paper. This basic knowledge should have been obtained by the students before they
enter college so that they may produce works that have little to no mistakes and will just need improving. There is
also the benefit that the students will get when GEs are transferred into high school. When an incoming freshman
decides to pick for a specialization, most will be indecisive because they wouldnt know how to feel about college life.
They may just follow their peers or their parents in deciding which course to take. With the shifting of GEs, in
reference to CHED memo no. 20, senior high school students will be able to decide which subject they way or what
course to take because they would already be exposed to subjects that are in relation to the courses offered in
college. The students will be able to find out which path they are good at and more or less be decisive in picking
which option offers the best for his interests.
The memo contains plenty of benefits and good insights towards learning in college. It is not to say that it
does not contain any faults but most of it is very reasonable especially when you are prioritizing effective
specialization without compromising overall education. We must stand for a positive change in the GE program but
we must also try not to forget that we as Filipinos have our own identity. We must prioritize our nation first before
anything else while being able to compete with other nations in terms of information, culture and the like.

Ageles, Mark. Professors of Filipino breaking bad over CHED memo. Quezon City: GMA, 2014.
Commission on Higher Education. CHED Memorandum No.20 series of 2013. Quezon City: Commission on Higher
Education, 2013.
. Higher Education Institutions. 2014. 4 December 2014 <>.
. Historical Background. 2014. 4 December 2014 <>.

Geronimo, Jee Y. No Filipino subjects in college? Tanggol Wika opposes CHED memo. 21 June 2014. 4 December
2014 <>.
National Statistics Office. 2000 Philippine Census Table 11. Household . Quezon City, 2000.
University of Macau. General Education Programme. 2014. 4 December 2014