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Education as a Human Right:

Looking at Education and Misconceptions about it from the Legal


What is the importance of Education?

Is Education a Human Right?

A. State Policy: The State shall give priority to education, science

and technology, arts, culture and sports to foster patriotism and
nationalism, accelerate social progress, and promote total human
liberation and development [Sec. 17, Art. II].

But does the State give highest budgetary allocation to

Education? No.

Highest budgetary priority to education [Sec. 5, Art. XIV].

This provision has been construed to be merely directory; it does not

follow that the hands of Congress be so hamstrung as to deprive it of
the power to respond to the imperatives of national interest and the
attainment of other state policies and objectives [Guingona v.
Carague, 196 SCRA 221; Philippine Constitution Association v.
Enriquez, supra.].

Sec. 1, Art. XIV: The State shall protect and promote the right of all
citizens to quality education at all levels and shall take appropriate
steps to make such education accessible to all.

Can an elementary teacher refuse enrolment of an individual who

cannot present a Certificate of Live Birth? NO.

Misconceptions about Certificates of Birth

- Illegitimate child without middle name

- Illegitimate child using the surname of the father
- No first name

Since the goal of the State is to make Education accessible to all, can
everybody take just any course of study? No.

In Tablarin v. Gutierrez, 154 SCRA 730, the Supreme Court upheld

the constitutionality of the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT) as a
requirement for admission to medical school. The NMAT does not
violate the right of the citizens to quality education at all levels; in
fact, it ensures quality education for future doctors, and protects
public health by making sure of the competence of future medical

In DECS v. San Diego, 180 SCRA 534, the regulation that a person
who has thrice failed the NMAT is not entitled to take it again was
likewise upheld.

b) It is true that the Court has upheld the constitutional right of every
citizen to select a profession or course of study subject to fair,
reasonable and equitable admission and academic requirements. But
like all rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Charter, their
exercise may be so regulated pursuant to the police power of
the State to safeguard health, morals, peace, education, order,
safety and general welfare of the people. Thus, persons who
desire to engage in the learned professions requiring scientific or
technical knowledge may be required to take an examination as a
prerequisite to engaging in their chosen careers. This regulation
assumes particular pertinence in the field of medicine, to protect the
public from the potentially deadly effects of incompetence and
ignorance. In this case, the Professional Regulation Commission (Board
of Medicine) observed that strangely, the unusually high ratings in the
licensure examination were true only for Fatima College examinees.
Verily, to be granted the privilege to practice medicine, the applicant
must show that he possesses all the qualifications and none of the
disqualifications. Furthermore, it must appear that he has fully
complied with all the conditions and requirements imposed by the law
and the licensing authority. Should doubt taint or mar the compliance
as being less than satisfactory, then the privilege will not issue. Thus,
without a definite showing that the aforesaid requirements and
conditions have been satisfactorily met, the courts may not grant the
writ of mandamus to secure said privilege without thwarting the
legislative will [Professional Regulation Commission v. De
Guzman, G.R. No. 144681, June 21, 2004],

c) In Philippine Merchant Marine School v. Court of Appeals,

supra., the
Court said that the requirement that a school must first obtain
government authorization before operating is based on the State policy
that educational programs and/or operations shall be of good quality
and, therefore, shall at least satisfy minimum standards with respect to
curricula, teaching staff, physical plant and facilities and administrative
and management viability.

2. Constitutional mandate for the State to establish adequate and

relevant education, free public elementary and high school
education, scholarship grants and loan programs, out-of-school study
programs, and adult education.

Constitutional objectives of education:

Inculcate patriotism and nationalism,

foster love of humanity,
respect for human rights,
appreciation of the role of national heroes in the historical
development of the country,
teach the rights and duties of citizenship,
strengthen ethical and spiritual values,
develop moral character and personal discipline,
encourage critical and creative thinking,
broaden scientific and technological knowledge, and
promote vocational efficiency

Optional religious instruction. Option expressed in writing by

parent or guardian; public elementary and high schools; within regular
class hours; by instructors designated or approved by religious
authorities; without additional cost to the Government [Sec. 3(3),
Art. XIV].

5. Educational Institutions.
a) Ownership. Solely by Filipino citizens or corporations 60% Filipino
owned, except those established by religious groups or mission boards,
but Congress may increase required Filipino equity participation [Sec.
4(2), Art. XIV],

b) Control and administration. Vested in citizens of the Philippines


c) Alien schools. No educational institution shall be established

exclusively for aliens, and no group of aliens shall comprise more than
1/3 of the enrolment in any school, except schools for foreign
diplomatic personnel and their dependents, and for other foreign
temporary residents [id.].

d) Tax exemptions. All revenue and assets of non-stock, non-

profit educational institution --- as well as all grants, endowments,
donations and contributions used actually, directly and exclusively
for educational purposes, shall be exempt from taxes and duties

Academic Freedom. Academic freedom shall be enjoyed in all

institutions of higher learning [Sec. 5(2), Art. XIV]. Colleges,
publicly- or privately-owned, if they offer collegiate courses, enjoy
academic freedom.

1. Two Views:

a) From the standpoint of the educational institution: The freedom of

the university to determine who may teach; what may be taught,
how it shall be taught; and who may be admitted to study
[Sweezy v. State of New Hampshire, 354 U.S. 234].

i) Thus, in Miriam College Foundation v. Court of Appeals, G.R.

127930, November 15, 2000, it was held that if the school has the
freedom to determine whom to admit, logic dictates that it also has the
right to determine whom to exclude or expel, as well as to impose
lesser sanctions such as suspension. While under the Education Act of
1982, students have the right to freely choose their field of study
subject to existing curricula, and to continue their course therein up to
graduation, such right is subject to the established academic and
disciplinary standards laid down by the academic institution.

b) From the standpoint of the members of the academe: The freedom

of the teacher or research worker in higher institutions of learning to
investigate and discuss the problems of his science and to express his
conclusions, whether through publication or in the instruction of
students, without interference from political or ecclesiastical authority,
or from the administrative officials of the institution in which he is
employed, unless his methods are found by qualified bodies of his own
profession to be completely incompetent or contrary to professional
ethics [Frank Lovejoy, Encyclopedia of Social Science, p. 384]. ,

i) In Camacho v. Coresis, G.R. No. 134372, August 22, 2002, the

Supreme Court upheld the action of the Ombudsman investigator in
dismissing the administrative complaint against the professor on the
ground of academic freedom. Dr. Daleons teaching style, which was
validated by the action of the University Board of Regents, is bolstered
by the constitutional guarantee on academic freedom. As applied in
this case, academic freedom clothes Dr. Daleon with the widest
latitude to innovate and experiment on the method of teaching
which is most fitting to his students (graduate students, at that),
subject only to the rules and policies of the University.

2. Limitations:

a) The dominant police power of the State; and

b) The social interests of the community.

c) In Non v. Dames, 185 SCRA 523, the Supreme Court reversed its
ruling in Alcuaz v. PSBA, 161 SCRA 7, declaring that the
termination of contract theory in Alcuaz can no longer be used as a
valid ground to deny readmission or reenrolment to students who had
led or participated in student mass actions against the school. The
Court held that the students do not shed their constitutionally
protected rights of free expression at the school gates.

Accordingly, the only valid grounds to deny readmission of students

are academic deficiency and breach of the schools reasonable rules of
conduct. Be that as it may, in imposing disciplinary sanctions on
students, it was held in
Guzman (reiterated in Ateneo de Manila University v. Capulong,
supra.) that the following minimum standards of procedural due
process must be satisfied:

(i) the students must be informed in writing of the nature and cause of
the accusation against them;
(ii) they shall have the right to answer the charges against them, with
the assistance of counsel, if desired;
(iii) they shall be informed of the evidence against them;
(iv) they shall have the right to adduce evidence in their own behalf;
(v) the evidence must be duly considered by the investigating
committee or official designated by the school authorities to hear and
decide the case.

In University of San Carlos v. Court of Appeals, 166 SCRA 570,

the Court held that it is within the sound discretion of the university to
determine whether a student may be conferred graduation honors,
considering that the student had incurred a failing grade in an earlier
course she took in school.
In Cagayan Capitol College v. NLRC, 189 SCRA 658, it was held
that while DECS regulations prescribe a maximum of three years
probation period for teachers, the termination of the three-year period
does not result in the automatic permanent status for the teacher. It
must be conditioned on a showing that the teachers services during
the probationary period was satisfactory in accordance with the
employer's standards. The prerogative of the school to provide
standards for its teachers and to determine whether or not these
standards have been met is in accordance with academic freedom and
constitutional autonomy which give educational institutions the right to
choose who should teach.

In Isabelo v. Court of Appeals, 227 SCRA 591, it was held that

academic freedom was never meant to be unbridled license; it is a
privilege which assumes the correlative duty to exercise it responsibly.
Thus, where the students expulsion was disproportionate to his having
unit deficiencies in his CMT course, there is reason to believe the
petitioners claim that the schools action was strongly influenced by
the students participation in questioning PHCRs application for tuition
fee increase.

In U.P. Board of Regents v. William, G.R. No. 134625, August

31, 1999, it was held that where it is shown that the conferment of an
honor or distinction was obtained through fraud, the university has the
right to revoke or withdraw the honor or distinction conferred. This
right of the university does not terminate upon thegraduation of the
student, because it is precisely the graduation of such student which
is in question. Wide, indeed, is the sphere of autonomy granted to
institutions of higher learning, for the constitutional grant of academic
freedom is not to be construed in a niggardly manner or in a grudging

C. Language.
1. The national language of the Philippines is Filipino.

2. For purposes of communication and instruction, the official

languages are Filipino and, until otherwise provided by law, English.

3. The regional languages are the auxiliary official languages in the

regions and shall serve as ancillary media of instruction therein.
4. Spanish and Arabic shall be promoted on a voluntary and optional
5. The Constitution shall be promulgated in Filipino and English and
shall be translated into major regional languages, Arabic and Spanish.