General Education Policy Before K+12. One of CHED’s first actions was to review and revise
the curriculum of institutions of higher education in the country. In 1996, it
issued CHED Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 59 titled “New General Education
Curriculum” which was implemented starting in academic year 1997-1998. The new
GE curriculum thereafter became part of all baccalaureate degree programs in
institutions of higher education in the country (Espiritu, 2012).
No. 59 Series of 1996, which later on was called GEC-A, requires students to
take 63 units, excluding Physical Education and National Service Training
Program. The required subjects were composed of the following: 24 units of
language and literature, 15 units of mathematics and natural sciences, 18 units
of humanities and social sciences, and six units of government mandated
subjects (Cruz, 2011A). Nevertheless, CMO 59 was criticized for reducing the
number of required social science subjects (National Union of Students of the
1997, CHED released its Memorandum Order No. 4 Series of 1997, which later on
came to be called GEC-B. While GEC-A was followed by students majoring in
humanities, social sciences and communication. On the other hand, GEC-B was
followed by students not majoring in the fields of knowledge mentioned. GEC-B
required students to take 51 units, the distribution of which is as follows: 21
units of language and humanities, 15 units of mathematics, natural sciences,
and information technology, 12 units of social sciences, and three units of
mandated subjects (Cruz 2011A).
Isagani R. Cruz (2012), who led in the drafting of the two CHED Memorandum
Orders, cited three reasons why institutions of higher education in the country
are offering the General Education Curriculum:
the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) believe that graduates from Philippine
high schools are not prepared to go to college. HEIs, therefore, require
students to take “tool subjects” or “remedial subjects,” that is, subjects that
are meant to make up for what high schools were not able to do.
HEIs were forced by Congress to teach certain subjects or topics that all
Filipinos should know. These are called “mandated subjects” because these
subjects are not related to any professional or major course but are considered
of general usefulness to students.
HEIs believed that all professionals should have a larger worldview than that
offered by any specialized field. They contended that college graduates tend to
hold influential posts in public and private sectors and therefore must be able
to manage the country and their companies. Finally, college graduates should
have basic knowledge about humanities, the sciences, and the social sciences.
the aforementioned CMO demands “an interdisciplinary approach which would help
the students see the human being as an integral person living in both a
national and a global community.” Cruz further explained that the following are
needed: the recognition of student’s capabilities and attitudes, the
recognition that humans “think with the heart and feel with the brain,” that
the country is bigger than Metro Manila, and that the country’s future is
intimately related with the future of the world. He also claimed that he drew
inspiration from previous documents of the Department of Education, Culture and
Sports in writing the memorandum (Cruz, 2011B).
Existing national policies on General Education have been rethought with the
creation by the CHED of the Technical Panel on General Education (TPGE)in April
2009. The TPGE was mandated to carry out two tasks: (1) To come up with a
Revised General Education Curriculum or RGEC for all undergraduate students;
and (2) To come up with a two-year post-secondary Pre-University program aimed
at preparing high school students for college education. The second was
subsequently dropped and changed into two additional years for high school
education – K + 12 (Cruz 2011, C).