UP class opens with protests against “colonial, anti-filipino” curricular reforms

Proposed curriculum change in UP like “selling soul to the devil”

Students led by youth group Anakbayan welcomed the first day of classes today at the University of the Philippines (UP) with protest actions against the proposed new General Education (GE) program which they denounced as “colonial, anti-filipino, anti-student, and anti-faculty.”

Students bearing placards and streamers held a protest picket around the UP Diliman AS Lobby in Quezon City 12:00 noon today after joining a press forum led by UP faculty and students under the Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (STAND-UP).

“The proposed curricular reform is a colonial measure that seeks to further align UP education to better suit the demands of foreign and big businesses for cheap labourers and professionals,” said Anakbayan-UP Diliman spokesman Orly Putong.

He said the proposed reforms seek to reduce the existing 45-unit GE program down to 21 units to give way for more major subjects and specialist courses in the curriculum in line with the thrust of the Aquino administration’s K-12 program and the ASEAN integration.

“The proposed reform will not raise the quality of UP education contrary to what the proponents say. UP has long suffered from dilapidated facilities, high tuition, and exorbitant fees due to lack of state support. What we need is a truly progressive, patriotic and mass-oriented UP education, not more colonial education,” he said.

The student leader said the proposed GE program makes the adoption of Filipino courses by UP constituent units optional and puts warning labels for courses taught mainly in Filipino, as if to scare students away from taking such courses.

He also echoed fears by UP faculty that the reduction of the GE program will translate into less academic load and hence smaller salaries and employment opportunities for instructors and assistant professors who mainly teach GE subjects.

“We don’t want to be molded to serve foreign interest and profit. We stand for a nationalist, scientific, and mass-oriented education that makes skilled, critical, and patriotic citizens who serve the people,” he said.

Student and faculty groups will be spearheading bigger protests this January 22, Friday, and January 25, which is the date of the University Council meeting tackling the said curricular revisions.

Note: this is a press statement by the youth group Anakbayan.

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