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June 5, 2013

What is an Educated Filipino? by Francisco Benitez (An Excerpt)

          What is an educated Filipino and what qualities should distinguish him today? The conception of education and of what an educated man is varied in response to fundamental changes in the details and aims of society. In our country and during this transition stage in our national life, what are the qualities which an educated man should possess?
          Great changes have taken place in the nature of our social life during the last forty years. The contact with Americans and their civilization has modified many of our own social customs, traditions, and practices, some for the worse and many for the better. The means of communication have improved and therefore better understanding exists among the different sections of our country. Religious freedom has developed religious tolerance in our people. The growth of public schools and the establishment of democratic institutions have developed our national consciousness both in strength and in solidarity. With this growth in national consciousness and national spirit among our people, we witness the corresponding rise of a new conception of education – the training of the individual for the duties and privileges of citizenship, not only for his own happiness and efficiency but also for national service and welfare. In the old days, education was a matter of private concern; now it is a public function, and the state not only has the duty but it has the right as well to educate every member of the community – the old as well as the young, women as well as men – not only for the good of the individual but also for the self-preservation and protection of the State itself. Our modern public school system has been established as a safeguard against the shortcomings and dangers of a democratic government and democratic institutions.

          In the light of social changes, we come again to the question: What qualities should distinguish the educated Filipino of today? I venture to suggest that the educated Filipino should first be distinguished by the power to do. The Oriental excels in reflective thinking; he is a philosopher. The Occidental is the doer; he manages things, men and affairs. The Filipino of today needs more of his power to translate reflection into action. I believe that we are coming more and more to the conviction that no Filipino has the right to be considered educated unless he is prepared and ready to take an active and useful part in the work, life, and progress of our country as well as in the progress of the world.

About Francisco Benitez

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