General Education Policy Before K+12. One of CHED’s first actions was to review and revisethe curriculum of institutions of higher education in the country. In 1996, itissued CHED Memorandum Order (CMO) No.
59 titled “New General EducationCurriculum” which was implemented starting in academic year 1997-1998. The newGE curriculum thereafter became part of all baccalaureate degree programs ininstitutions of higher education in the country (Espiritu, 2012).CMONo. 59 Series of 1996, which later on was called GEC-A, requires students totake 63 units, excluding Physical Education and National Service TrainingProgram. The required subjects were composed of the following: 24 units oflanguage and literature, 15 units of mathematics and natural sciences, 18 unitsof humanities and social sciences, and six units of government mandatedsubjects (Cruz, 2011A). Nevertheless, CMO 59 was criticized for reducing thenumber of required social science subjects (National Union of Students of thePhilippines, 2006).
In1997, CHED released its Memorandum Order No. 4 Series of 1997, which later oncame to be called GEC-B. While GEC-A was followed by students majoring inhumanities, social sciences and communication. On the other hand, GEC-B wasfollowed by students not majoring in the fields of knowledge mentioned. GEC-Brequired students to take 51 units, the distribution of which is as follows: 21units of language and humanities, 15 units of mathematics, natural sciences,and information technology, 12 units of social sciences, and three units ofmandated subjects (Cruz 2011A). EducatorIsagani R. Cruz (2012), who led in the drafting of the two CHED MemorandumOrders, cited three reasons why institutions of higher education in the countryare offering the General Education Curriculum: First,the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) believe that graduates from Philippinehigh schools are not prepared to go to college.
HEIs, therefore, requirestudents to take “tool subjects” or “remedial subjects,” that is, subjects thatare meant to make up for what high schools were not able to do.Second,HEIs were forced by Congress to teach certain subjects or topics that allFilipinos should know. These are called “mandated subjects” because thesesubjects are not related to any professional or major course but are consideredof general usefulness to students.
Third,HEIs believed that all professionals should have a larger worldview than thatoffered by any specialized field. They contended that college graduates tend tohold influential posts in public and private sectors and therefore must be ableto manage the country and their companies. Finally, college graduates shouldhave basic knowledge about humanities, the sciences, and the social sciences.Furthermore,the aforementioned CMO demands “an interdisciplinary approach which would helpthe students see the human being as an integral person living in both anational and a global community.” Cruz further explained that the following areneeded: the recognition of student’s capabilities and attitudes, therecognition that humans “think with the heart and feel with the brain,” thatthe country is bigger than Metro Manila, and that the country’s future isintimately related with the future of the world. He also claimed that he drewinspiration from previous documents of the Department of Education, Culture andSports in writing the memorandum (Cruz, 2011B). Rethinking.Existing national policies on General Education have been rethought with thecreation by the CHED of the Technical Panel on General Education (TPGE)in April2009.
The TPGE was mandated to carry out two tasks: (1) To come up with aRevised General Education Curriculum or RGEC for all undergraduate students;and (2) To come up with a two-year post-secondary Pre-University program aimedat preparing high school students for college education. The second wassubsequently dropped and changed into two additional years for high schooleducation – K + 12 (Cruz 2011, C).