THE COMMISSION on Higher Education (CHEd) has stood by its decision to remove Filipino courses in tertiary education.

In a statement released Nov. 27, CHEd proposed to use Filipino as a medium in teaching general education subjects instead.

“Filipino cannot merely be taught as a subject, but must be used in oral and written forms,” according to the statement signed by CHEd Chairperson Patricia Licuanan. “[T]he Commission shall support such aims by providing incentives to Higher Education Institutions (HEI) that opt to use Filipino in the general education courses or offer several sections of a given course in Filipino.”

According to the statement, CHEd will also discuss with the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino the development of a long-term plan to boost Filipino proficiency among tertiary students.

An estimated 10,000 full-time and 20,000 part-time Filipino professors will lose their jobs or receive lower salaries because of the memorandum. However, Licuanan said CHEd was collaborating with other government agencies such as the Department of Education, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, the Department of Labor and Employment, and the Professional Regulation Commission to mitigate the possible negative impact of the removal of the Filipino subjects as well as the effects of the K to 12 transition in 2016.

But the Alyansa ng Mga Tagapagtanggol ng Wikang Filipino (Tanggol Wika), an alliance of faculty members from more than 70 HEIs opposing the removal of Filipino courses in college, said CHEd's statement was “traitorous and [a] stubborn refusal” to the petition it raised four months ago.

“CHEd is technically killing Filipino Departments in all colleges and universities by refusing to add Filipino subjects in the new [curriculum], while at the same time paying lip service to the optional use of Filipino as a medium of instruction,” Tanggol Wika said in its official statement.

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Subjects like Filipino, General Psychology, and Basic Economics will be removed, while “remedial courses” such as English, Literature, Math, Natural Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences will be transferred to Grades 11 and 12, according to CHEd Memorandum Order (CMO) 20 series of 2013 or the “General Education Curriculum (GEC): Holistic Understandings, Intellectual and Civic Competencies.”

CMO 20, which will be fully implemented in 2018, will cut the current 63-unit GEC to just 36 units.

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