24 February 2011

Uphold academic freedom in UST!

Statement of the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines on the case of academic repression in the University of Santo Tomas:

We, members of the Student Council Alliance of Philippines (SCAP), the broadest and largest alliance of student councils and governments, student political parties and student leaders in the country pushing for reforms in education, strongly condemn the violation on academic freedom committed by University of Santo Tomas Theology professor Aguedo Florence A. Jalin Jr.*

Recently, Akbayan Partylist Facebook page was barraged by troll anti-Reproductive Health posts by students from Jalin’s class as an “optional assignment”.  Although we welcome healthy exchange of ideas through a debate, maybe it be online or otherwise, SCAP is against all forms of coercion especially by teachers who pawn their students not for genuine learning but for advancing personal agenda.

Mr. Jalin Jr. stated in his admission that the students’ stances were “designed to show consistency of thoughts.” The students were “designed” to think alike with their professor, limiting their capability to pursue the truth and express their own opinions bereft of the coercion from their mentor.

SCAP condemns Jalin’s act of peddling incentives for the purpose of advancing agenda compromising the real value for education.  Jalin grossly violated the right of the student to quality education grounded on critical and independent thinking.

SCAP recognizes the role of our nation’s teachers towards molding a generation of active citizens for the country’s development.  At the same time, SCAP fervently salutes all the teachers, including the many in UST who have been true to their profession, who continue to mold young minds to be independent and do not debase the profession into mere incentives.

This case in UST is an indicator that the long overdue Students’ Rights and Welfare (STRAW) Bill or House Bill No. 2190 should be legislated in order to protect the students’ right to dissenting opinion.  We urge our lawmakers to help prevent future cases of academic repression through the passage of the said bill that upholds students’ right to academic freedom necessary for the conduct of citizenship. 

Mr. Aguedo Florence A. Jalin Jr.'s admission (at the comments section below the Akbayan Youth statement): http://bit.ly/pz5gCN

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