Consensus reached on proposed revision to the GE program

A consensus was reached among 150 General Education (GE) champions, advocates, implementers and members of the GE councils of all UP constituent universities (CUs) on the proposed revision to the GE program.

In the UP System-wide GE Conference held in Tagaytay City last February 5 and 6, the plenary agreed to keep the required number of GE courses within 21 to 36 units and to let the CU decide on the ratio of required and elective courses.

Most CUs agreed to adopt the 11 recently developed GE courses as required or core courses.

The CUs intend to test run the proposed GE program and conduct pedagogy workshops by the first semester of Academic Year 2016-2017. Full implementation is targeted by Academic Year 2018-2019. In the meantime, all existing GE courses will be reviewed based on the proposed GE program.

The plenary also concurred with pegging the GE domains or categories on the proposed GE framework.

Another significant output of the conference was the creation of a task force that will finalize said framework. Prof. Patricia Arinto of the UP Open University was designated as its head; she will be working with professors Faye Abalos of UP Baguio, Lorna Almocera of UP Cebu, Benito Pacheco of UP Diliman, Jerry Yapo of UP Los Banos, Rosario Rubite of UP Manila and Ma. Severa Fe Katalbas of UP Visayas.

They hope to submit the final proposal in March, after which it will be taken up for consideration by the Presidential Advisory Council and then by the Board of Regents.

The GE program was opened for review and revision after the proposed Revision of the GE Program was introduced in 2013. Between July and October 2015, disciplinal experts and other GE faculty members examined the proposed GE courses in 11 mini-conferences held in different CUs. From the mini-conferences, a group of GE champions/advocates was identified to finalize the draft course outlines; the outlines were presented and refined in a meeting on November 2014.  

The draft proposal was prepared by the GE System Council composed of Vice President for Academic Affairs Gisela Concepcion, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Alyssa Peleo-Alampay, Professor Emeritus Gemino Abad, UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan, UP Diliman vice chancellors Fidel Nemenzo and Benito Pacheco, Dr. Ruth Pison of UP Diliman, Dr. Roly Panopio of UP Los Baños, Dr. Rosario Rubite of UP Manila, Dr. Nera Katalbas of UP Visayas, Dr. Ricardo Bagarinao of the UP Open University, Dr. Antonino de Veyra of UP Mindanao, Dr. Celia Austria of UP Baguio, and Dr. Lilia Tio of UP Cebu. It centered on the need to revise the program in response to the modern world. In the conference, a distinction between UP’s internal and external “world” was made.

Revisions on the GE program were undertaken so that it aligns itself with mandates laid down by the new UP Chapter. It must also espouse the growth in disciplines, strengthen common experiences of students and reflect the UP brand, also known as “Tatak UP.” To internalize this distinctive UP quality as they engage in the globalizing world, students need a cosmopolitan perspective that also knows how to value ethnicity and indigenous cultures. 

Curriculum changes brought about by the K-12 educational system, its emphasis on single disciplines and the Commission on Higher Education’s prescribed GE program also called for modifications in the GE program .

Other external factors that led to its review include climate change, digitalization and rapid modernization, and a trend towards the integration of disciplines.

The system-wide GE conference was organized by the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs under the coordination of Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Alyssa Peleo-Alampay.

Students take GE courses from a selection common to all of them as a prelude to specialization. Through these courses, they receive foundational knowledge and values that enable them to take a “reflexive stance.” As a result, they can appreciate more their roles and specializations in the greater scheme of things and make better decisions as specialists, persons and citizens.

With report from Jo. Florendo B. Lontoc