“We cannot change the world but we can change the people in it.” The Eleanor Bumstead Stevenson Papers

Document 1: Diary Entry on Love and Marriage     |     Introduction to Documents 2 & 3
Document 2: 21 November 1924, Eleanor to Bill Stevenson     |     Document 3: 17 November 1925, Bumpy to Bill Stevenson
Document 4: Girl Trouble and Divorce     |     Document 5: “The Soldier Takes a Wife”
Document 6: Recreational Program     |     Document 7: Fair Employment Practices Council and Democracy
Document 8: Women’s Group Tea     |      Document 9: The Weaker Sex      |      Document 10: PAUW the Challenge to Education Today
Document 11: Making Use of Their Education     |      Document 12: Letter of Condolence      |     Bibliography

Document 10: PAUW the Challenge to Education Today

Author: Helena Z. Benitez

Title: The Challenge to Education Today

Date: December 1962

Location: 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.

Document Type: Printed Document




            The following document is the only one in this mini-edition not written by Eleanor Stevenson. When Eleanor presented her speech on the “Weaker Sex” (See Document 9) to the Joint Conference of the Association of American College Women (AACW) and the Philippine Association of University Women (PAUW), the other speaker was the former PAUW president, Helena Z. Benitez, and an excerpt from her speech forms the document below.[1] Like Eleanor, Benitez focused on empowerment through education, and her talk was designed to promote thoughtful dialogue about the responsibilities of women educators in the Philippines. Of particular note in this speech are the ways in which Benitez sees education as almost a means of national security. While both Bumpy and Benitez discuss adult education as a realm in which women can make a great difference in the world, Benitez’s speech lacks any hint of Bumpy’s gender essentialism, and is far more focused on the details of education, rather than on Bumpy’s broader philosophical approach. While the two speeches are vastly different, they are also complementary, with just enough overlap to seem related, and not so much that the same speech is being given twice. This suggests either good planning on the part of the Conference organizers, or perhaps a direct collaboration between Eleanor and Benitez. Either way, the appropriateness of both these speeches reveals a distinct level of cooperation between American and Filipino women and organizations.



Original                       Both                    Transcription







(Speech at the PAUW-AACW Joint Meeting)


“Human history becomes more and more a race between education catastrophe [sic]”[2]– 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[3]


“Only on the foundation of an intelligent public opinion can be built the structure of liberty and sound government”- Manuel L. Quezon[4]


“It is a small creative minority among peoples that turn the wheels of progress”- A. Toynbee[5]


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][6]


_________0________ [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.

________0_______ [sic]


  1. Does our education (both received at home and school) prepare us for the responsibilities of preserving and increasing our national resources?
  • As a developing country, the rate of our development will depend largely on our ability to direct our growing resources to investment rather than to consumption.

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.

  1. Are we getting our money’s worth from the huge educational investment made both in public and private education? Economically speaking, we cannot afford to be wasteful since our ratio of income spent for education, even without small per capita income, is still low.


_______0_______ [sic]


  • How much of themselves are our teachers giving to help their students learn to feel, to think and to set in accordance with desirable cultural and international goals.
  • Can teachers be replaced by ‘devices’ like more automatic aids so as to economize with the increasing costs of instruction? Some economizers have agreed on a formula: “Cut the cost on instruction by increasing the student-teacher ratio”. [sic] There is a rash of TV programs of instruction on the experimental stage; with a few words of caution from a few quarters. Is this trend acceptable in the Philippines?


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.

[1] 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.).


[2] 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)).

[3] 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).

[4] 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.

[5] 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).

[6] 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.”