GENERAL Education departments of the University are set to offer fewer courses by 2018 following the mandate of the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) to revise the general education curriculum because of the K to 12 basic education reform.

In accordance with the Ched memorandum, UST will offer a minimum 36 units of general education courses.

There will be eight core courses, namely Understanding the Self; Readings in Philippine History; The Contemporary World; Mathematics in the Modern World; Purposive Communication; Art Appreciation; Science, Technology and Society; and Ethics.

The Ched order also requires nine units of elective courses in Mathematics, Science and Technology; Social Sciences and Philosophy; and Arts and Humanities; while three units are allotted to the life and works of Jose Rizal as mandated by law.

Ched mandated that general education units be reduced to a minimum of 36 units in 2018 from 63 (for humanities and social science majors) and 51 (for science, engineering and math majors).

The courses will be transferred to senior high school. Reduced general education subjects will also allow more professional subjects at the college level.

There is less controversy over the move in UST unlike in the University of the Philippines (UP), whose University Council voted to cut general education courses last March 20 amid protests from students, faculty and alumni. General education units in UP Diliman were cut to a minimum of 21 units from 45.

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College of Science Dean John Donnie Ramos said the Science, Technology and Society (STS) course would allow students to “appreciate the societal impact of developments in science and technology at the global and national level.”

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“We are currently preparing the course syllabi for STS. Textbooks and other learning materials will be prepared in the coming months before the start of Academic Year 2018-2019,” Ramos told the Varsitarian.

Ched Commissioner Minella Alarcon said the revisions in the general education curriculum would enhance the qualifications of graduates especially those who want to land jobs abroad.

“These revisions are overdue, if we are to keep up with educational developments in other countries. It should help our graduates have their qualifications be synchronized better with [graduates] from other countries and make our graduates compete better for jobs abroad,” Alarcon said.

Department of Filipino Chairwoman Zendel Taruc said the reforms meant that UST would have to reduce general education units.

“We should just think that we are under a transition [period]. It may be difficult and there may be some adjustments. We just need to accept the [order of Ched to revise the general education curriculum],” Taruc told the Varsitarian.

In a previous report by the Varsitarian, Filipino, general psychology and basic economics will be removed from the general education curriculum, while English, literature, math, natural sciences, humanities and social sciences will be transferred to Grades 11 and 12.

‘Fragmented learning’
Gerard Lanuza, faculty member in UP Diliman, said the mandate of Ched to reduce units in general education would cause a “fragmented and disjointed” learning environment for students.

“When [students] come together in a [university], they should share a common learning, tradition, culture, and intellectual atmosphere or reservoir of knowledge received from general education subjects such as English, humanities and science,” Lanuza said.

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Lanuza argued that taking up more general education units would help boost students’ critical thinking ability.

“More general education units will have more possibilities to widen the array of subjects and knowledge that [students] could get that would be able to enrich them. If the student did not take general courses, they will have no sense of connection with the university,” Lanuza said.




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