SC upholds K-to-12 program with finality

By: Jerome Aning – Reporter 

The Supreme Court has affirmed with finality its October 2018 ruling on the government’s K-to-12 education program as it denied the motions for reconsideration regarding the removal of the subjects of Filipino, Panitikan and the Constitution from the college curriculum.

In a five-page notice of resolution, the high court ruled that the motions for reconsideration filed by the Alyansa ng Mga Tagapagtanggol ng Wikang Filipino (Tanggol Wika, Alliance of Defenders of the Filipino Language) were “unmeritorious” for “failing to offer any substantial argument.”

The resolution was approved by all members of the court except Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe, who is on leave. Justice Marvic Leonen issued a separate concurring opinion.

Tanggol Wika is a coalition of professors, students, writers and cultural activists that was one of the several groups of petitioners against K-to-12.

The group had insisted in its motions that the Constitution mandated the inclusion of the study of Filipino and the Constitution in the curriculum in all levels.

‘Arbitrary, oppressive’

Therefore, the group argued, the Commission on Higher Education Memorandum Order No. 20, series of 2013 (CMO 20) fell short of complying with the constitutional provision by removing the study of the subjects in the general education curriculum at the tertiary level.

Tanggol Wika also said the addition of two years of senior high school was arbitrary and oppressive as it failed to consider the needs of students of science high schools, who have higher mental capabilities.

The high court, however, reiterated its ruling in the original decision.

It said that 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.”

“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 court said.

“Moreover, it must be emphasized 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,” it added.

Minimum standards

The court also said it was “erroneous” for Tanggol Wika to assume that the K-to-12 law does not serve the interest of the students of science high schools.

In fact, it said, the K-to-12 law explicitly recognized the right of schools to modify their curricula subject, of course, to the minimum standards prescribed by Department of Education.

The K-to-12 program was enacted through Republic Act No. 105333 or the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013.

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