The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) lauds the decisive and timely resolution of the Supreme Court (SC) to deny the motion for reconsideration to stop the implementation of CHED Memorandum Order (CMO) Number 20, series of 2013, otherwise known as the “General Education Curriculum: Holistic Understandings, Intellectual and Civic Competencies”, in so far as the inclusion of Filipino and Panitikan in the General Education Curriculum of all higher education institutions.
The CMO 20, which was issued during the Aquino administration, delisted Filipino and Panitikan as part of the core subjects of the General Education Curriculum.
The SC denied the motion for reconsideration on the following grounds:
1. The petitioners failed to present substantive new arguments.
2. The mandate of including the study of Filipino was general and did not specify the educational level in which it must be taught.
3. CMO 20 did not violate the Constitution when it transferred these subjects as part of the curriculum of primary and secondary education.
4. CMO 20 does not limit the academic freedom of universities and colleges to require additional courses in Filipino, Panitikan and the Constitution in their respective curricula.
5. The Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 was enacted to promote the interest of the public and not only of a particular class, thus it does not violate substantive due process of petitioners because the means employed still aim to improve the quality of basic education and to make the country’s graduates more competitive in the international arena.
According to CHED Chairman Prospero E. De Vera III, the SC decision clearly shows that the CHED did not abolish Filipino and Panitikan in the General Education Curriculum. Instead, these were transferred to the Senior High School level since these are important building blocks in the preparation of senior high students to be university-ready when they graduate.
“The accusation of critics that CHED is anti-Filipino is wrong. The Commission believes in the fundamental role played by language in education. To be properly cultivated, Filipino cannot merely be taught as a subject, but must be used in oral and written forms, across academic domains,” De Vera said.
“This issue has been debated for too long and CHED calls on all sectors to respect and abide by the SC decision so that the revised curriculum for various degree programs can now be fully implemented with dispatch by the close to 2,000 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) nationwide,” De Vera added.
HEIs must now exercise their academic freedom to include innovative reforms in their various curricula that may include language proficiency not just in Filipino but also other Philippine languages such as Ilocano, Waray, Cebuano, Ilonggo, Pangasinan, Bicolano, and Asian languages that will make graduates regionally and globally competitive.
CHED will support HEIs that will pursue language innovation while providing scholarship and professional education assistance to affected Filipino and Panitikan teachers through the K to 12 Transition Program Fund.
J. PROSPERO E. DE VERA III, DPA
Commission on Higher Education