SOME COLLEGES are offering fewer humanities subjects, a move that does not sit well with the head of the University’s humanities department.

“It (dropping Humanities subjects) is like destroying the foundational knowledge that [UST] students ought to have,” Joyce Arriola, chairperson of the UST department of humanities, said in an interview. “After all, UST is a ‘classical’ university.”

Humanities covers Theology, Communication, Media, Journalism, Arts (Fine Arts, Architecture, Music, Dance, and Film), History, and Social Sciences.

“For contemporary concepts, it’s fine to have fewer offerings of Humanities subjects, but not for UST, which ought to retain the conventional way of teaching,” Arriola said.

According to her, Humanities subjects are “mother sciences,” which serve as foundation for other disciplines like applied and natural sciences.

Dr. Felizardo Francisco, director of the Commission on Higher Education’s (Ched) Office of Programs and Standards, explained that Ched, in regulating the number of units offered in tertiary-level schools, prescribes two general education curricula designed for Humanities and non-Humanities programs.

Ched Memorandum no. 59 series of 1996 or General Education Curriculum (GEC) A for Humanities courses requires universities to offer at least 24 units in Language (English and Filipino) and Literature, six units of Humanities (three units of Arts and three units of Philosophy), and 12 units Social Sciences (Economics, General Psychology, Politics, and Sociology and Culture).

Another memorandum prescribing GEC B, on the other hand, requires a lesser number of Humanities subjects for non-Humanities-based colleges like the faculties of Pharmacy and Engineering, colleges of Accountancy, Architecture, Education, Nursing, Rehabilitation Sciences, Science, and Tourism and Hospitality Management.

Anatomy of a demolition job

Under GEC B, Languages and Humanities were combined, with the minimum required units at 21.

Also under GEC B, colleges are only compelled to offer six units of English and six units of Filipino under Languages, and nine units of Humanities, three units lesser than that offered by GEC A.

However, Arriola noted that some colleges do not even comply with GEC B.

Data from by the department of humanities showed that the College of Fine Arts and Design (CFAD) only offers six units of Humanities (Literature and Philosophy).

Rita Serranilla, department of languages and literature coordinator in CFAD said technical subjects replaced Humanities subjects because “they are more needed.”

“Our curriculum is of a more specialized form for this is a Fine Arts school,” Seranilla said.

She noted that Humanities is a vast area of discipline and that other art subjects in different art forms are under it.

“I think it is okay for us to remove some Humanities subjects because our major art subjects are still under the Humanities,” Seranilla said.

“The [Ched] memo has a minimum requirement of units for humanities subjects and [the university] should comply. If we find out that they are not following, then we have to send them a letter ordering them to comply with it,” Francisco said.

Arriola said CFAD had argued that it already offers Art History, and offering the course Art, Man, and Society will mean redundancy. Pharmacy and Accountancy are merging two Humanities subjects, with three units each, into a subject with only three units.

Consummatum est

“We are only prescribing the minimum number of units, even if they take out other subjects [or replace it with theology] then it is okay,” Francisco said. “But they should not sacrifice the education of the students.”

Francisco said Ched is working on a general education curriculum that is suited for both Humanities and non-Humanities courses. It is supposed to come out this year. A.A. Agaton, R.M.Y. Cabacang, and A.A.C. Villamor, Jr.


  1. The field of humanities is essential to the role of UST as a Catholic and Pontifical University.

    There is Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences in Rome that conducts studies and researches in social, economic, political, and juridical sciences, offering the Church the elements she can use in the study and development of her social doctrine.

    In the same manner, with UST being a pontifical university, its colleges must be strong and active in the humanities, making researches and studies of the Filipino faithful response and compliance to Church teachings.

    My college is the oldest school of humanities in Asia. There are a lot areas my major – sociology- where faculty and students can work together such as a review of papal encyclicals on how they are given reference in the formulation of legislation, corporate policies or in parish evangelization.

    A constant survey of the laity’s participation on the sacraments (Mass attendance, Penance and Matrimony) as well as their attitudes towards Church practices can be of help to every priest in a cohesive parish.

    On its Quadricentennial, our Alma Mater must continue its influential presence in humanities, especially on matters of faith and religion.

    Vidal Aguas
    AB Sociology 1971
    Faculty of Arts and Letters


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