Compromise on keeping Filipino subjects eyed

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THE HEAD of the Filipino department said the University was keen on keeping Filipino subjects in the curriculum despite the Supreme Court’s (SC) decision in November to remove Filipino from core college courses.

Alvin Ringgo Reyes said some members of the Academic Senate whom he spoke with expressed their support for retaining Filipino subjects in the college curriculum.

“[Some members of the Academic Senate] assured me that they, of course, are very well knowledgeable of the importance of Filipino, in terms of the practical value of being able to use it in different professions,” Reyes told the Varsitarian.

In a ruling on Nov. 9, the Supreme Court (SC) affirmed the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHEd) 2013 memorandum that removed Filipino, Panitikan and Constitution as core subjects in college.

Several proposals are being considered to preserve Filipino subjects in the curriculum.
“One proposal would be that instead of the usual six units [of Filipino] for non-humanities programs, there might just be three units,” said Reyes.

“And, instead of Filipino being part of the core general education curriculum, it might be taken up only as an elective,” he added.

The Faculty of Arts and Letters has taken the lead by retaining six units of Filipino as core general education courses.

Changes in the curriculum will likely take effect at the beginning of Academic Year 2019 to 2020, said Reyes.

More than a labor issue
Reyes said the SC ruling affects not only teachers but also the students in an “insurmountable” level.

“The succeeding generations of professionals will be incapable of effectively translating the technicalities of their profession to a level that anyone would understand,” he said.

He said the removal of Filipino subjects was more than a labor issue.

“[The sense of nationalism] will be significantly eroded [when] the course that safeguards your identity as a Filipino is removed,” said Reyes.

Teachers will not yet be affected by the change in curriculum because a significant number of students are still expected to take up Filipino courses as part of the old curriculum.

UST’s Filipino and Literature departments have called on the administration to retain Filipino and Panitikan subjects in the curriuculum.

“Ang usaping ito ay nangangahulugan din ng pagtanggal sa kakayahang umunawa at magpakatao dulot ng pag-aaral ng komplikasiyon ng ating wika-at kung paano ginagamit at umiiral ito-at pag-aaral sa teksto at konteksto ng panitikan sa mga sasailalim sana sa higit na mataas na pag-aaral,” the literature department said in a statement on Nov. 15.

National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario, chairman of the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino, said the SC should look beyond legality and uphold the Constitution’s mandate to protect and develop the national language.

“Iyon ang kanilang ginawa ay laban sa national language. Para sa kanila hindi ‘yun laban sa national language pero ang mismong epekto [ay] laban sa lenggwahe,” Almario told the Varsitarian in an interview.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We wish to clarify that it was not the whole Academic Senate but only some members of it who said they will vote for retaining Filipino subjects in the college curriculum. We apologize for this mistake.

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