CHED: UP, military need to sort definition of academic freedom

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 25 2021 05:31 PM

CHED: UP, military need to sort definition of academic freedom 1
CHED chairperson Prospero "Popoy" De Vera answers questions during his guesting at ANC's Early Edition on Monday, October 22, 2018. Screengrab/ANC/File

MANILA - Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman Prospero de Vera said Monday the dialogue of a panel of experts on the definition of academic freedom would not be imposed on universities and colleges.

De Vera has made the proposal to hold a dialogue after the Department of National Defense unilaterally abrogated its accord with the University of the Philippines on the entry of state forces on campus grounds.

The premier state university, citing academic freedom, urged the DND to "reconsider and revoke" its decision.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Sunday said he has "asked a friend to facilitate" a meeting with UP President Danilo Concepcion "sometime next week."

De Vera said he has talked to experts on the subject who are "very interested in participating in the discussion" but cannot disclose their identities yet.

"We are using the dialogue to generate consensus, kung meron nang consensus (if there's already one) we leave that to the universities and security forces to discuss as a starting point in their discussion. We're not going to issue directives, 'this is how you define it' dahil iba-iba ang kondisyon ng universities (because universities have different conditions)," De Vera told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

"Ang importante lang magsimulang magkasundo kasi it is ironic that different sides are claiming the same thing and yet they are accusing, castigating each other. Kung totoo na talagang yan ay mahalaga on both sides then dapat maghanap ng pagkakasunduan."

(What's important is we need to start agreeing because it is ironic that different sides are claiming the same thing and yet they are accusing, castigating each other. If it's true that this is important on both sides then an agreement should be reached.)

There is a need to define academic freedom as its meaning has changed over the years, De Vera said.

"Yung iba kasi ang ginagamit na definition ng academic freedom yung 15th century sa Europe. But remember the world has changed, it has become globalized, there is extremism happening in many campuses all over the world," he said.

(Some use the definition of academic freedom during 15th Century in Europe.)

"Technology has changed and therefore we really have to examine some of the basic assumptions we have about academic freedom, its exercise and how state forces and university officials can work together...10, 20, 30 years ago wala namang ganyang issue ng extremism. So iba yung konteksto ng akademiya noon."

(This issue of extremism did not exist 10 to 30 years ago. The context of the academe was different then.)

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