By Jeffrey Damicog
Colleges and universities can still include Filipino, Panitikan and the Constitution as subjects in their respective curricula.
The Supreme Court gave this assurance in a resolution which upheld its Oct. 9, 2018 decision that declared as constitutional Republic Act 10533 (K to 12 Law), RA 10157 (Kindergarten Education Act), and other government issuances concerning the implementation of the K to 12 Basic Education Program, including CHEd Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 20 which directed the exclusion of Filipino, Panitikan, and the Constitution as core subjects from the curriculum of college courses.
For “failing to offer any substantial argument,” the resolution denied the motion for reconsideration of Tanggol Wika — an alliance of professors, students, writers and cultural activists–which sought a reversal of the High Court’s Oct. 9, 2018 decision.
Tanggol Wika insisted that the Constitution mandates the inclusion of the study of Filipino and the Constitution in the curriculum in all levels.
“While the Constitution mandates the inclusion of the study of the Constitution, Filipino and Panitikan in the curriculum of educational institutions, the mandate was general and did not specify the educational level in which it must be taught,” read the high tribunal’s resolution penned by SC Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe dated March 5 but which was only released to the media this week.
“Thus, CMO 20 did not violate the Constitution when it merely transferred these subjects as part of the curriculum of primary and secondary education,” the SC explained.
The High Tribunal pointed out that “CMO 20 only provides for the minimum standards for the general education component of all degree programs.”
“It does not limit the academic freedom of universities and colleges to require additional courses in Filipino, Panitikan and the Constitution in their respective curricula,” the SC stressed.
The same resolution also denied the motion for reconsideration of petitioner Ma. Dolores Brillantes who argued that the additional two years of senior high school is arbitrary and oppressive as it fails to consider the needs of students of Science High Schools, who have higher mental capabilities.
To this, the SC reminded that the Kto12 Law, as a police power measure, is “intended to promote the interest of the public and not only of a particular class.”
“It is also erroneous for petitioners to assume that the K to 12 Law does not serve the interest of the students of Science High Schools. In fact, the K to 12 Law explicitly recognized the right of schools to modify their curricula subject, of course, to the minimum standards prescribed by DepEd (Department of Education),” the High Court stated.
It noted that the K to 12 implementing rules and regulations “further confirmed the inclusiveness of the design of the K to 12 Basic Education Curriculum by mandating the inclusion of programs for the gifted and talented and allowing acceleration of learners in public and private educational institutions.”