Speaking, their students to enroll in various oral communication

Speaking, like any
other skills, can be learned. This study is anchored on the belief that all
individuals are capable of mastering speaking skills and can use this skill
(among others) to fully function in a society. This communication principle is
the rationale behind the inclusion of Oral Communication in the General
Education Curriculum in higher education and now in the Senior High.

     Oral communication shapes and in one way or
another, controls our society. Thonssen as cited in King (2006) claimed that
Rhetoric (one important field of Oral Communication) is an instrument that has
functional value in social order. In fact, Leonard Cox (1899), in his book The
Arte or Crafte of Rhetorike, argued that it can be used by educators,
prosecutors in courtrooms, princes and ambassadors, teachers of God and even by
those people who have something to propose to an assembly. Oral communication
is powerful and influential that it can be integrated in different disciplines.
It is true that speaking is a means by which people live together more
effectively and harmoniously and that it is an indispensable instrument of
social adaptation and cooperative living.

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the vast application and importance of Oral Communication in society, it is
then no doubt that Oral Communication was an important General Education
curriculum, and is now included to the new K+12 policy. According to
academicians “It is the province of speech training to see that our speech is
adequate to communicate efficiently under ever changing and expanding conditions.”
(Weaver and Ordean, 1963: 3}. Because of these changing trends in
communication, many schools are now requiring their students to enroll in
various oral communication classes. Different colleges and universities offer a
degree course on Oral Communication as a preparation for a career. Even the
United States of America has started to include this course as a prerequisite
subject for graduation as early as the eighteenth century. Senior students must
take courses in logic while freshmen were to enroll in rhetoric and elocution
classes. These developments were not only a manifestation of the qualification
the globally-competitive industries demand but also an implicit demonstration
of the integral function of Oral Communication in all aspects of the society.

and Friedrich (1999) believed that speaking and listening skills are two
essential skills that must start in the early years of life and must not stop
even when the basics of speaking have taken place. They argued that human
speaking skills must be continually modified and improved through learning of
new vocabulary, developing distinctive speaking patterns, and most importantly
discerning which “talk” can be used to achieve goals.

     Given all the undeniable importance of Oral
Communication in the society, the researcher is even more curious about how to
further improve the subject now it has been transferred to the senior high
school of the K+12 curriculum. Since education is deemed crucial in directing
any nation’s stability, it is necessary that the various curricula that are
being offered in the education system of the country are probed on to
continuously enhance and cater to the specific needs of the stake holders as
well as the labor market.

     With the implementation of the Republic Act
No. 10533 which aims to enhance the Philippine basic education system by
strengthening its curriculum and increasing the number of years for basic
education, majority of the general education courses in the tertiary level of
the Commission on Higher Education are relegated to the senior high school
level of the Department of Education. Included in these general education
courses is the Oral Communication.

     The purpose of the said Republic Act is to
“develop productive and responsible citizens equipped with the essential
competencies, skills and values for both life-long learning and employment”
(Congress of the Philippines, 2012:1). To achieve such goal, the curriculum
must be developed in collaboration with the Commission on Higher Education, the
government agency that once offered the core courses that are to be offered in
senior high school.

     Oral communication is clearly deemed to be
an important course in an individual’s academic life. Morreale et al (2000)
conducted a study that identified the importance of oral communication as a
rationale for their plan of centralizing the study of communication under the
National Communication Association. With the strong evidences of the importance
of this course, experts and researchers in this field had tried to further
develop the course through the years. Weide (1995) conducted a study that
sought to determine the various apprehension levels of high schools students
with regard to their oral communication skills, the benefits students get from
the course, the preparation of oral communication teachers, and the curriculum
employed by the other schools. In addition, Abdullah (2011) examined the use of
pairworks in enhancing oral communication skills in a school in the United Arab
Emirates. In another study, Rajman (2010) determined if a Task-Based Approach
could be useful in teaching oral communication in a school in India.

     While there are a number of studies that
focused on the different aspects of oral communication in relation to the
enhancement of the teaching of the course, there is a limited literature on the
evaluation of the oral communication curriculum in the Philippines. Accordingly,
this study analyzed the curricula offered in various colleges and state
universities in Region IV-A which can serve as basis for the enhancement of
Oral Communication course for the Senior High School Program.





National Policy.
When Batas Pambansa 232 or “An Act Providing for the Establishment and
Maintenance of an Integrated System of Education” was approved by former Pres.
Ferdinand Marcos in 1982, the principles if not the actual name of General
Education were already widely accepted. In Section 3, “Declaration of Basic
Policy,” the law states that “It is the policy of the state to establish and
maintain a complete, adequate and integrated system of education…” In Section
4, “Declaration of Objectives,” the first aim of the education system is to
“provide for a broad general education that will assist each individual in the
peculiar ecology of his own society…”

the 1973 Constitution and the 1987 Constitution, however, do not directly state
a commitment to General Education. However, they affirm some principles of
liberal education, even if they do not do so in direct relation to tertiary
education in the country.

its Article XV on “General Provisions,” in Section 8, Number 4, the 1973
Constitution stresses that “All educational institutions shall aim to inculcate
love of country, teach the duties of citizenship, and develop moral character,
personal discipline, and scientific, technological and vocational efficiency.”

the 1987 Constitution Article XIV on “Education, Science and Technology, Arts,
Culture and Sports,” in Section 3, Number 2 states that all educational
institutions “shall inculcate patriotism and nationalism, foster love of
humanity, respect for human rights, appreciation of the role of national heroes
in the historical development of the country, teach the rights and duties of
citizenship, strengthen ethical and spiritual values, develop moral character
and personal discipline, encourage critical and creative thinking, broaden
scientific and technological knowledge, and promote vocational efficiency.”

1994, through Republic Act 7722, the Commission on Higher Education or CHED was
created. It is an entity distinct from the Department of Education, Culture and
Sports and attached, for administrative purposes, to the Office of the
President. Its jurisdiction is “both public and private institutions of higher
education as well as degree-granting programs in all post-secondary educational
institutions, public and private” (Republic Act No. 7722, 1994).

creation of the CHED was a response to the widely-felt need to improve the
quality of higher education, improve the percentage of college and university
graduates who pass the government licensure examinations, heighten the
competencies of graduates in oral and written communication, and create a body
that will focus on addressing these needs (Calderon 2004).


University of the Philippines. In the Philippines, the recognized leader in General
Education is the University of the Philippines (UP). UP President Vicente G.
Sinco, whose term covered the period 1958-1962 is generally recognized as the
initiator of the university’s General Education Program (GEP). But even before
he instituted the university’s GEP, UP was already offering what was called
“preparatory courses” for subsequent specialization in various disciplines.
These courses are required for all students regardless of their majors, and
included English, Spanish and Philippine Institutions (Guerrero, 1985).

UP president, Sinco promoted research and scholarship in the sciences and
humanities and opposed political and sectarian interference in university
affairs. He also reformed the curriculum, “implemented a general education
scheme for the initial two years of college…” He encouraged intellectual
activity in UP through various initiatives (National Historical Institute
2012). Sinco’s GEP prescribed 63 units which students had to take before they
go into taking courses in their majors (Guerrero, 1985).

UP presidents introduced innovations within the framework of Sinco’s GEP. UP
President Salvador P. Lopez, whose term covered the years 1969-1975, saw the
granting to students of an option: take a combination of English and Filipino,
or choose either one of these two. Lopez came to the UP presidency at a time of
nationalist intellectual ferment, and it was at this time that the Filipino was
seriously considered as a medium of instruction for different courses
(Evangelista 1985). In the following years, UP campuses across the country
offered their versions of the GEP.

was in 1986, under the presidency of Edgardo Angara whose term lasted from 1981
to 1987,that the GEP was made uniform across the university’s campuses in the
country. A UP student, no matter where he or she is enrolled in the
university’s constituent units across the country, is required to take twelve
(12) courses. The values which the courses promoted were defined and
multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to teaching the courses were
introduced (Kintanar, 1991).

GEP underwent review and assessment processes in 1991, 1992 and 1995. UP
President Francisco Nemenzo Jr., whose term lasted from 1999 to 2005, claimed
these reviews as basis for implementing the Revitalized General Education
Program or RGEP in 2001. It was later subsumed in the GEP. The RGEP introduced
the following shifts in the GEP: (1) From taking prescribed courses, students
were allowed to choose courses within three domains of knowledge – namely, Arts
and Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences and Mathematics, (2) The
number of units were increased from 42 to 45, (3) New GE courses were created,
(4) Other departments were involved in the creation and offering of new courses
(Nemenzo, 2001).

presents the following as the general objectives of the RGEP:  (1) To broaden students’ intellectual and
cultural horizons; (2) To foster students’ commitment to nationalism balanced
by a sense of internationalism; (3) To cultivate in students a capacity for
independent, critical and creative thinking; and (4) To infuse in students a
passion for learning with a high sense of moral and intellectual integrity.

presents the following as RGEP’s particular objectives: (1) To enable students
to acquire basic skills and competencies in mathematics, reasoning and
communication; (2) To develop students’ awareness, understanding and
appreciation of the various disciplines of the natural sciences, social
sciences, humanities and philosophy; and (3) To develop students’ ability to
integrate and/or adapt the knowledge and skills they have acquired from the
various disciplines (UP-Diliman Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Academic
Affairs, 2012).

of the RGEP questioned the absence of required core subjects and the program’s
refusal to prescribe an ideal combination of courses to students. They
identified problems depending on students’ response to subjects, with some RGEP
advocates justifying students’ refusal to take professors who are thought to be
boring, tyrannical, or simply not interesting. They believed that the
university’s criteria for relevance may not necessarily match students’
criteria for selecting subjects – which were still evolving. As a result,
relevant subjects would not be taught. With the RGEP, critics stressed that UP
is reneging on its right and duty to “give sufficient emphasis on historically
and societally under-addressed subject matters, issues and themes,” giving way
to “societally inculcated preference of students.” In sum, they charge the RGEP
of failing to provide a balance between “student choice and institutional
guidance” (Guillermo, 2001).


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
Philippines, 2006).

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).

Revised General Education Curriculum (RGEC) takes the assumption that the
implementation of a 12-year basic education curriculum will cause the reduction
of tertiary education into three years from the current four. Here are the
innovations enclosed on the GEC: (1) The RGEC of an institution for higher
education will be taken by all students in that institution, regardless of
major – a departure from current practices stemming from the difference made by
GEC-A and GEC-B; (2) The RGEC consists of 36 units, reducing the 63 units of
the GEC; and (3) Courses under the RGEC can be taken in the first year of
college education or spread out across the curriculum levels, unlike the GEC
courses which are normally taken in the first years of the tertiary education
(Cruz, 2011C).

(2011C) quotes TPGE’s understanding of General Education: “The objective of
Philippine education on the tertiary level is the holistic education of
Filipinos who contribute humanely and professionally to the development of a
just and economically-robust society in an environmentally-sustainable world
through competent and innovative leadership, as well as productive and
responsible citizenship. General Education (GE) on the tertiary level addresses
the development of the human being.

of the outcomes expected of students finishing GE are: an appreciation of the
human condition, the ability to personally interpret human experience, the
ability to view the contemporary world from both Philippine and global
perspectives, the ability to reflectively and critically discern right and
wrong in today’s world, the ability to tackle problems methodically and
scientifically, the ability to appreciate and to contribute to artistic beauty,
and the ability to contribute personally and meaningfully to the development of
the Philippines” (Cruz, 2011C).