It is of great importance that students understand the rationale behind having to take up a Rizal course in college. For high school students, the Noli Me Tangere and the El Filibusterismo are injected into the Filipino subject as part of the overall curriculum. In tertiary education, however, Rizal is a subject required of any course, in any college or university in the Philippines.
Usually, during the first day of the course, the professor asks the well-overused questions:
Why study Rizal?
What is the importance of studying Rizal?
Why is Rizal one of the minor subjects taken up in college?
Why is Rizal included in the course outline?
What relevance does Rizal have in college education?
The answer to such questions can be summed up in two points:
- First and foremost, because it is mandated by law.
- Secondly, because of the lessons contained within the course itself.
Let us discuss those reasons one by one:
WHY STUDY RIZAL: BECAUSE IT IS MANDATED BY LAW
The teaching of Jose Rizal’s life, works, and writings is mandated by Republic Act 1425, otherwise known as the Rizal Law. Senator Jose P. Laurel, the person who sponsored the said law, said that since Rizal was the founder of Philippine nationalism and has contributed much to the current standing of this nation, it is only right that the youth as well as all the people in the country know about and learn to imbibe the great ideals for which he died. The Rizal Law, enacted in 1956, seeks to accomplish the following goals:
- To rededicate the lives of youth to the ideals of freedom and nationalism, for which our heroes lived and died
- To pay tribute to our national hero for devoting his life and works in shaping the Filipino character
- To gain an inspiring source of patriotism through the study of Rizal’s life, works, and writings.
WHY STUDY RIZAL: BECAUSE OF THE LESSONS CONTAINED WITHIN THE COURSE
Aside from those mentioned above, there are other reasons for teaching the Rizal course in Philippine schools:
- To recognize the importance of Rizal’s ideals and teachings in relation to present conditions and situations in the society.
- To encourage the application of such ideals in current social and personal problems and issues.
- To develop an appreciation and deeper understanding of all that Rizal fought and died for.
- To foster the development of the Filipino youth in all aspects of citizenship.