BORDERLESS | A new and exciting General Education Curriculum

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

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HIGHER learning institutions are busy preparing for the implementation of the new General Education Program in 2018. The purpose of such educational reform, according to Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Memorandum Order No. 20 Series of 2013, is to expose undergraduate students to various domains of knowledge and ways of comprehending social and natural realities, developing in the process, intellectual competencies and civic capacities.

The eight core courses included in the new GE framework are the following: Understanding the Self, Readings in Philippine History, The Contemporary World, Mathematics in the Modern World, Purposive Communication, Art Appreciation, Science, Technology and Society, and Ethics.

Allow me to give you a brief description of each course, according to CHED CMO # 20. Understanding the self is about the nature of identity. It includes factors and forces that affect the development and maintenance of personal identity.

Readings in Philippine History is viewed from the lens of selected primary sources in different periods, analysis and interpretation.

The Contemporary World focuses on globalization and its impact on individuals, communities and nations, challenges and responses.

Mathematics in the Modern World discusses on the nature of mathematics, appreciation of its practical, intellectual, and aesthetic dimensions, and application of mathematical tools in daily life.

Purposive Communication zeroes in on writing, speaking, and presenting to different audiences and for various purposes.

Art Appreciation talks about the nature, function and appreciation of the arts in contemporary society.

Science, Technology and Society tackles interactions between science and technology and social, cultural, political and economic contexts which shape and are shaped by them. It will likewise include specific examples throughout human history of scientific and technological developments.

And lastly, Ethics concentrates on the principles of ethical behavior in modern society at the level of the person, society, and in interaction with the environment and other shared resources.

If I am a freshman student in 2018, I will be very excited to learn a variety of subjects focused more on the actual scenarios rather than abstract ideas. The courses will give the students an opportunity to get in touch with the realities of life.

Let us take for example the course, Mathematics in the Modern World. Previously (at least during my time) we were taught algebra, statistics and geometry, among others but we wondered where we were going to apply this when we got out of college. What if I planned to be a flight attendant, where am I going to use math in this career?

In this course, questions of that nature will be answered. Furthermore, CMO No. 20 explained that the core courses are inter-disciplinary and are stated broadly enough o accommodate a range of perspectives and approaches. It means there is going to be a mixture of different disciplines in one course. It will make the students well-rounded individuals.

In my own view given the best professors, educational tools, and willing students; next year would be an exciting year for Higher Educational Institutions.

Moreover, apart from the core courses, another feature of the new GE framework is the elective course. CMO No. 20 stipulates that for a course to qualify as a GE subject it must conform to the philosophy and goals of General Education as stated in the memorandum, apply an inter-or cross disciplinary perspective; and draw materials, cases for example from Philippine realities and experiences, and not just from those of other countries.

Aside from these parameters, CMO No. 20 further instructed that the electives must cover at least any two domains of knowledge (arts and humanities; social sciences and philosophy; and science, technology and mathematics). Example subjects under Mathematics, Science And Technology: Environmental Science, People and Earth’s Ecosystem, Human Reproduction, and Living in the IT Era; Social Sciences and Philosophy: Religions, Religious Experiences and Spirituality, Philippine Indigenous Communities, Gender and Society, and the Entrepreneurial Mind; Arts and Humanities: Great books, Philippine Popular Culture, Indigenous Creative Crafts, and Reading Visual Art.

I am looking forward to next year when these exciting GE courses will be implemented. I do hope that incoming college freshmen share my excitement. Change is inevitable. Whether we like it or not we need to adjust to these changes; otherwise we will be left behind.

Indeed according to the Philosopher Socrates, the secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old but on building the new. ([email protected]/PN)






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