When Batas Pambansa 232 or “An Act Providing for the Establishment and
Maintenance of an Integrated System of Education” was approved by former Pres.
Ferdinand Marcos in 1982, the principles if not the actual name of General
Education were already widely accepted. In Section 3, “Declaration of Basic
Policy,” the law states that “It is the policy of the state to establish and
maintain a complete, adequate and integrated system of education…” In Section
4, “Declaration of Objectives,” the first aim of the education system is to
“provide for a broad general education that will assist each individual in the
peculiar ecology of his own society…”
the 1973 Constitution and the 1987 Constitution, however, do not directly state
a commitment to General Education. However, they affirm some principles of
liberal education, even if they do not do so in direct relation to tertiary
education in the country.
its Article XV on “General Provisions,” in Section 8, Number 4, the 1973
Constitution stresses that “All educational institutions shall aim to inculcate
love of country, teach the duties of citizenship, and develop moral character,
personal discipline, and scientific, technological and vocational efficiency.”
the 1987 Constitution Article XIV on “Education, Science and Technology, Arts,
Culture and Sports,” in Section 3, Number 2 states that all educational
institutions “shall 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.”
1994, through Republic Act 7722, the Commission on Higher Education or CHED was
created. It is an entity distinct from the Department of Education, Culture and
Sports and attached, for administrative purposes, to the Office of the
President. Its jurisdiction is “both public and private institutions of higher
education as well as degree-granting programs in all post-secondary educational
institutions, public and private” (Republic Act No. 7722, 1994).
creation of the CHED was a response to the widely-felt need to improve the
quality of higher education, improve the percentage of college and university
graduates who pass the government licensure examinations, heighten the
competencies of graduates in oral and written communication, and create a body
that will focus on addressing these needs (Calderon 2004).
University of the Philippines. In the Philippines, the recognized leader in General
Education is the University of the Philippines (UP). UP President Vicente G.
Sinco, whose term covered the period 1958-1962 is generally recognized as the
initiator of the university’s General Education Program (GEP). But even before
he instituted the university’s GEP, UP was already offering what was called
“preparatory courses” for subsequent specialization in various disciplines.
These courses are required for all students regardless of their majors, and
included English, Spanish and Philippine Institutions (Guerrero, 1985).
UP president, Sinco promoted research and scholarship in the sciences and
humanities and opposed political and sectarian interference in university
affairs. He also reformed the curriculum, “implemented a general education
scheme for the initial two years of college…” He encouraged intellectual
activity in UP through various initiatives (National Historical Institute
2012). Sinco’s GEP prescribed 63 units which students had to take before they
go into taking courses in their majors (Guerrero, 1985).
UP presidents introduced innovations within the framework of Sinco’s GEP. UP
President Salvador P. Lopez, whose term covered the years 1969-1975, saw the
granting to students of an option: take a combination of English and Filipino,
or choose either one of these two. Lopez came to the UP presidency at a time of
nationalist intellectual ferment, and it was at this time that the Filipino was
seriously considered as a medium of instruction for different courses
(Evangelista 1985). In the following years, UP campuses across the country
offered their versions of the GEP.