Posted tagged ‘Anglo-Saxon’

UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES IS NO. 34 IN WORLD’S BEST UNIVERSITIES IN ENGLISH

July 12, 2011

UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES IS NO. 34 IN WORLD’S BEST UNIVERSITIES IN ENGLISH

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good day from the Pearl of the Orient!

The University of the Philippines or UP, my country’s national university and among the esteemed world universities in ASEAN, recently landed at No. 34 rank among the world’s top universities in terms of English instruction, besting many world universities in the West and Asia. This is a gladdening news not only for my country and ASEAN, the news likewise glows my heart to euphoria as I am a sanguine alumnus of the noble UP.

Please note that UP’s English instruction goes further than instruction, as many of its professors and alumni dominate the prestigious literary and scientific writing awards in the country, such as the Palanca award. The UP is also home to professors who are holders of the very prestigious National Artist, National Scientist, and Ramon Magsaysay Awards.

UP’s professors, in other words, are active creators of ideas and ‘best practices’, a legacy that they have passed on to their students. Since the late 1990s, 1/7 of all the country’s patents and copyrights in any given year are those registered by professors, researchers and experts of the University of the Philippines.

Such a high level of instruction, creation, and practices by UP’s professors, who stand out in articulation and philosophic discourse, is a legacy of the American professors of colonial-era history. UP’s first professors were largely Ivy League alumni, seconded by alumni of top state universities in the USA. They were among the first professional volunteers to render immense service of enabling Filipino minds to meet the challenges of the modern world.

UP was envisioned, since the time of the Filipino revolutionary government of Aguinaldo yet, as the premier university that will train tomorrow’s leaders for the country. The American educators took off from that vision, as they were the ones mandated to chart the destiny of the university and provide it with the foundational professors.

The same professors brought along with them AngloSaxon philosophy, culture, and language. The AngloSaxon tradition had stayed with UP ever since, which begins with the perfection of English articulation (oral & writ), mastery of AngloSaxon philosophy (empiricism, positivism, pragmatism, analytic philosophy), critical thinking, debating method & style, and conversational savvy for high culture (legacy of Victorian culture).

UP’s language articulation belongs to the ‘school of Elegance’. The same American professors ensured that discursive elegance will endure, and they succeeded in their noble tasks. Till these days, amid the greater stress for social responsibility in UP, a trend that began in the ‘60s yet with the rise of campus radicalism, which could have shifted articulation to the ‘schoof of Simplicity’, elegance had persisted.

Having been in UP for a long time as student (bachelor’s to graduate school) and faculty (social sciences), I can share endless testimonials to the discursive rigor that one has to pass through in my alma mater. One has to learn elegance first of all and employ the same elegance in practice, with preponderance for your profession’s argot while in the company of professional peers.

Simplicity in articulation comes as you face a broader audience among social clientele, such as the marginal sectors and layman. Sure, learn to talk and write with simplicity as you’d face broader audiences and readers after leaving the UP’s august halls. But first of all, learn to be elegant.

And don’t forget, discourse with depth, be as recondite as the philosophical thinkers that shaped your mental bank and professors that mentored you. Perfect your English, be elegant, be philosophically recondite, and you’ll end up being well cultured and highly-bred.

Passing through UP’s language training is akin to entering an eye of a needle. It is truly tough, yet very psychically rewarding. At least the former dictator Marcos, whose English and philosophical sophistication are as polished as Berkeley’s or Hume’s, won’t scoff at your simpleton-sounding language if you happen to be an activist who wished imperialism and tyranny away, thus earning you astronomical insults from UP’s alumni stalwarts.

By the way, the Ateneo De Manila University, another world university and the country’s best private university, landed at No. 35. De La Salle University, an international-class institution, landed at No. 51. UP, Ateneo and De La Salle form a consortium, and they comprise a triune of universities whose alumni are a class in their own, class sui generis.

Big kudos to the UP, Ateneo, and La Salle for the triumph in the AngloSaxon language!

[Philippines, 12 July 2011]
I

UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES: HAPPY CENTENNIAL!

June 21, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza y Delago

Happy Centennial Anniversary to my Beloved Alma Mater, the University of the Philippines!

Being a development expert, I wish to highlight in this briefer the developmental side to the premier university of my beloved country. The University or the Philippines or U.P. is foremost of all an indication of the maturity of Filipino education and educators, in that after 100 years of existence, we as a people were able to show to the world the viability of a grand university run by ourselves (Filipinos).

Tertiary education was imported directly from the West, being transplanted here from Europe during the Spanish colonial era (1500s-1800s). Albeit the idea of tertiary institutes run by Filipinos themselves is a fairly recent development. To be exact, it was only after World War II, coherent with our own independence from the USA, that the striving for Filipino-run tertiary educational institutions became one of the greatest challenges in Philippine education.

The University of the Philippines was constituted by the Americans after the conclusion of the Philippine-American War.  When that war ended in 1900, there was a period of intense reorganization of the entire society and state, as well as the reconstruction of the economy that was damaged by two (2) consecutive wars (the Philippine revolution against Spain was the first). In 1908 the University of the Philippines was born.

The idea of a premier state university was not, however, an imposition by the USA on the Philippines. During the brief period of Aguinaldo government (1898-2000), the new Philippine state already prioritized the constitution of such a university in consonance with its desire to establish a modern educational program. The pedagogy of that university, had it succeeded, could have been close to those of Spain’s tops, notably the University of Barcelona and University of Madrid.   

But the grand vision of the new republic wasn’t fulfilled as the Americans grabbed that opportunity for self-governance by the new state. However, the Americans themselves realized the soundness of the concept, and so they took on the cudgels for constituting a premier state university. The flagship campus was then the Padre Faura campus in Manila, while the branch outside Manila was the UP College Los Banos. The Philippine General Hospital served as the service arm of the new university. Anglo-Saxon pedagogy and philosophy served as the core foundation, following those of the Ivy League universities.

Americans served as the first professors and administrators of the noble institution. Then, gradually their Filipino apprentices joined the faculty, until the time was ripe for Filipinos to serve as top management officials. Note that it took two (2) decades for such a process to take. When the grand statesman Manuel Luis Quezon became President of the commonwealth, Filipinos were already showing their prowess in administering the university, designing and managing academic programs, launching pioneering research programs, and running classrooms as professors.

The commonwealth government was a testing period for self-governance which incidentally found solid support inside the United States congress and executive. By the early 19040s the self-governance prowess of Filipinos in the state university was already established. So when the USA departed from the Philippines in 1946, Filipinos already had the upper hand in running this institution and there was no great need to import experts (professors and consultants) to run the university.

It was a rough ride all along for the state university. No matter how rough it may have seem, when asked for an opinion, I would prefer to stress the victory of Filipinos first of all in showing the capability to run the university ourselves.

Since that time on, the state university had become the bastion of nationalism and critical thinking in the country. During the dark years of Martial Law, the U.P. became the most powerful lamp that lighted the surrounds for the whole nation, and people outside were dying to read the Philippine Collegian and dying to hear U.P. professors and youth leaders speak about the true state of the nation. This libertarian and Enlightenment facets of the U.P. are very much intact till these days.

Furthermore, the Filipinos were already able to veer away from their Anglo-Saxon heritage in U.P. Gradual Filipinization across the decades led to a rediscovery of the Pacific and Asian roots of Philippine culture, and the result was a blending of Western (Anglo-Saxon, Continental) and Eastern (Malayan, Asiatic) philosophy cum pedagogy. The U.P has led efforts at re-engineering the Filipino language from a conversational to an intellectualizing language sufficient for articulating higher level concepts, a re-engineering that continues till these days.  

Finally, the U.P. also evolved into the top producer of knowledge and art works for the archipelago. It is the nation’s top think-tank, the bastion of national collective reflection, where we can find the highest concentration of brilliant minds among professors, research scientists, artists and students. All other institutions in the country seek counsel from the U.P. about their core state of affairs, a proof of the maturity and esteem that the U.P had gained across the decades.

Long and arduous will be the route that the state university will traverse yet, but having proved its resiliency and capacity across one century, I am confident that this University will grow and prosper over the next one hundred (100) years of its sojourn. Let us all wish the best of luck for this very noble institution, which may turn out to be the last bastion of freedom for Asia at a time of growing global fascism.

Glory, genius, grandeur!

[20 June 2008, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, MetroManila]