Excerpts from: THE CHALLENGE TO EDUCATION TODAY
By HELENA Z. BENITEZ
(Speech at the PAUW-AACW Joint Meeting)
“Human history becomes more and more a race between education catastrophe [sic]”– H.G. Wells
“Education is the handmaid of democracy”-
“He that takes wise education by the hand, invincible shall guide the reigns of Motherland”- Jose Rizal – 1876
“Only on the foundation of an intelligent public opinion can be built the structure of liberty and sound government”- Manuel L. Quezon
“It is a small creative minority among peoples that turn the wheels of progress”- A. Toynbee
The above could summarize my thoughts on the challenge of education today. Perhaps, I would add just one more quote in order to justify the limitation that I have set for myself on this occasions… “The educational needs and problems of each nation have their own peculiar flavor. No nation can copy another”. [sic]
Therefore, assuming that all are in accord with the above thoughts, said by men of great experience and wisdom, allow me to pinpoint for our mutual discussion critical areas where education in the Philippines needs to meet the challenge and where we as university women and educators, because of our professional training, are all in turn involved by the challenge to education.
Fact: The Philippines is not in the category of countries that have abundant resources and high educational achievement, i.e. the USA, Canada, England; nor is it in the category of countries with few resources and high educational achievement, i.e. Denmark, Netherlands, and Japan. On the contrary, the RP is classified among countries with abundant resources and low educational achievement, together with Mexico and Brazil.
This requires a review of our usual teaching and expectations of students. Under previous political set-ups, as colonies of two western nations, consumption rather than investment was desired of our savings.
If the aim of education is merely for information, then teachers may be dispensed with. BUT [sic] if the goal is not only to inform but also to transform -change for the better- then good teachers will be needed to help their students become better men and women.
 Helena Z. Benitez (1914-present) served on the Senate of the Philippines, was from the Philippines, the leader of a renown dance group, and was a member of the Board of Trustees for the Philippine Women’s University. She was also the first Filipina chairperson for the UN Commission on the Status of Women, and was the first woman president of the governing council for the UN Environment Program. During her time as Senator (1968-1972) Benitez authored significant legislation on the environment and sustainable development, and she constantly championed the cause of education (“Senate Honors Helena Z. Benitez, 98, Oldest Surviving Lawmaker.” InterAksyon.com. Accessed 8 July 2016. Source.; “Fast Facts: Helena Zoila Benitez Is 100 Years Old.” Accessed 8 July 2016. Source).
The Joint Conference was held on Tuesday 27 November 1962 in the social hall of the Philippine Women’s University “for the purpose of bringing the two organizations closer together.” (PAUW Newsette, December 1962. Subgroup II. Eleanor B. Stevenson papers, Series 4. Honors and Miscellaneous Personal Papers, Box 1. William and Eleanor Stevenson Papers, RG 30/219. O.C.A.).
The Philippine Association of University Women (PAUW) was founded by “some civic-minded women, lawyers, doctors, college professors and social workers from eleven universities” on October 20, 1928 Their objectives are to unite all “University Women of the Philippines” into one national organization, to promote and encourage the improvement of education at all levels, to encourage the participation of university women in various initiatives, and to connect members of different fields so that they can collectively advocate for policy changes in areas beyond education. (“Philippine Association of University Women.” Pauwnational.org. Accessed 8 July 2016. Source).
From an article entitled “Meet the AACW” in the PAUW Newsette, it seems that the AACW was an organization for American college women living in the Philippines, founded in June of 1912 (they do not appear to have been affiliated with the American Association of University Women). They focused on providing scholarships to girls, and also offered other education and arts related programs to the community, such as a children’s library and a theatre group. The AACW President in 1962 was a Mrs. Kay Bowen, who said “There is a lot of womanpower represented in the combined resources of PAUW and ACCW [sic]. How can we harness this power most efficiently so that together we can best support the ideals of education in the Philippines?” (PAUW Newsette, December 1962. Subgroup II. Eleanor B. Stevenson papers, Series 4. Honors and Miscellaneous Personal Papers, Box 1. William and Eleanor Stevenson Papers, RG 30/219. O.C.A.).
 This quote, and presumably the following one, are from the renowned British author H.G. Well’s 1920 book, The Outline of History (H. G. Wells and Raymond Postgate, The Outline of History, (New York; The Macmillan Company, 1920)).
 This quote is taken from a poem called “Through Education Our Motherland Receives Light” by the Filipino journalist, poet and doctor, Jose Rizal (1861-1896). Rizal was a supporter of a peaceful reform of Spanish colonization (not directly independence), and was convicted of sedition and executed by the Spanish government after a show trial. Subsequently he became a nationalist icon in the Philippines (Anacoreta P. Purino, Rizal, The Greatest Filipino Hero, (Manila: Rex Bookstore, Inc., 2008), 90.; “José Rizal – Journalist, Poet, Activist, Doctor.” Biography. Accessed 8 July 2016. Source).
 This quote is from a speech given by the President of the National Supreme Council, Manuel Quezon, discussing the need to eradicate illiteracy in the Philippines (Ramon C. Cabag, Nonformal Education, (Quezon City: Katha Publishing Co., Inc., 1999), 18). Source.
 The exact source of this quote is unclear. Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975) was a British historian, and known for his analysis of the cyclical development and decline of civilizations in A Study of History (“Arnold Toynbee | British Historian | Britannica.com.” Accessed 8 July 2016. Source).
 There is a footnote in the original document which lacks an indication as to what it is intended to footnote within the text. It may refer to the source of this quote. The footnote reads: “1 Science Advisory Committee of Pres. Eisenhower, May 24 Report, 1959.”