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Academic freedom

First Posted 15:48:00 03/17/2008

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Section 5(2), Article XIV of the Constitution guaranties all institutions of higher learning academic freedom. This institutional academic freedom includes the right of the school or college to decide for itself, its aims and objectives, and how best to attain them free from outside coercion or interference save possibly when the overriding public interest calls for some restraint. According to present jurisprudence, academic freedom encompasses the independence of an academic institution to determine for itself (1) who may teach, (2) what may be taught, (3) how it shall teach, and (4) who may be admitted to study.

It cannot be gainsaid that ?the school has an interest in teaching the student discipline, a necessary, if not indispensable, value in any field of learning. By instilling discipline, the school teaches discipline. Accordingly, the right to discipline the student likewise finds basis in the freedom ?what to teach.?

Indeed, while it is categorically stated under the Education Act of 1982 that students have a right ?to freely choose their field of study, subject to existing curricula and to continue their course therein up to graduation,? such right is subject to the established academic and disciplinary standards laid down by the academic institution. Petitioner DLSU, therefore, can very well exercise its academic freedom, which includes its free choice of students for admission to its school. ? De La Salle University, Inc., et al. vs. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. 127980, December 19, 2007

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