The plight of Philippine history as a tertiary education subject

By : Mindanao Today/02:55:42pm 08/18/2021


RAI Bollozos Sanchez | Historyahe!

SINCE the pandemic started, the regular school year moved from June to August.

The shift of the school year has brought changes to the modality of teaching the subject.

However, before the transfer of the school year, because of the K-12 curriculum, there are radical changes in teaching the General Education Courses (GEC) – especially in teaching the Readings in Philippine History.

The Readings in Philippine History is a GEC subject mandated by CHED to let first-year students enroll during their freshman year.

The subject views the historical events of the Philippines from the lens of selected primary sources in different periods, analyses, and interpretations.

The course aims to expose students to various facets of Philippine history through the lens of eyewitnesses.

The subject requires discussion about local history. The subject is expecting students to analyze the selected readings contextually and in terms of content.

Hence, the subject's learning outcomes are to enable the students to have the ability to evaluate primary and secondary sources for their provenance and authenticity.

In other words, the student taking the subject develops critical and analytical skills and demonstrates the ability to communicate effectively using various historical techniques in the context of a particular event.

Finally, the student would manifest a keen sense of local history and concerns in promoting and preserving our nationality as a Filipino.

Since the new GEC curriculum started in 2018, meeting these objectives seems farfetched.

I trained college professors to teach the course efficiently, yet many resorts to the old practices.

Take the Pigafetta account, for example.

Many professors dealt with the arrival of Magellan and the introduction of Christianity in the Philippines in 1521.

Rather than the nuances, it presents pre-colonial practices of pre-Hispanic Filipinos.

Or, rather, it exposes the conflict between two leaders, and Humabon's conversion to Christianity was diplomatic rather than being interested in the Catholic faith.

The blood compact between Humabon and Magellan was political and military because the former wanted to expand its alliance to defeat a more potent and experienced warrior in Lapu-Lapu.

Unfortunately, many professors escape to the convenience of teaching trivial history rather than evaluating primary historical sources beyond the trivial narrative it presents.

More so, local history is one aspect of the discipline that still needs to be unearthed, especially in our case in Cagayan de Oro, wherein data is scarce and to be cultivated.

However, going back to what I have said, The Readings in Philippine History maximizes primary sources and explores various historical repositories. Professors should practice what they preach.

They, too, should learn how to assess the authenticity and provenance of the primary and secondary sources.

The purpose of educating history is to develop critical and analytical abilities in utilizing various historical methodologies.

It should start from the professor itself.

Hence, at the professor's expense, teaching trivially rather than analytical hampered the student's ability to communicate critically.

At the professor's cost, it compromises the development of the historical and vital consciousness of the students.

Further, many of our professors escape the teaching of history to their students.

Many claims the lack of narrative and historical materials, which is given.

However, what is the purpose of scholarship if the professor is timid to do research?

History professors must practice what they preach. If there is a lack of local historical materials, one must activate the research capacity that a professor must equip themselves.

Unfortunately, most of them would instead ask for a textbook rather than do the research.

Unfortunately, most history professors would go for convenience rather than PURE SCHOLARSHIP.

Hence, templating in the teaching of Philippine history is downsized to a singular form of method – TRIVIAL!

The irony is that we demand our students to be nationalistic, but most professors hamper them to enable them to discern Filipinos truthfully.

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