FROM THE ARCHIVES: We’re Not Going Co-Ed Are We?

While proponents of co-education in DLSU argued that admitting both sexes is necessary for population growth and academic excellence, opponents expressed concerns about resource strain and the erosion of “traditions”.



The co-education question has been voted upon in a plebiscite and the La Sallites voted in favor of going co-educational next year. The margin, however, was statistically insignificant and the editors feel that many voted without a clear knowledge of the issue involved. 

If there ever will be a re-plebiscite (and Student Council quarters are talking about one), we hope that the following articles will enlighten many La Sallites who will be voting again. 

The articles were done by the Features staffers, who could not agree on one stand alone. After some thought, they decided to come out with an article that explained both the pros and the cons of the issue. 

The articles and both sides are extremely staffers that wrote them firmly believe in what they believe is the correct stance to take. 

When the staffers write the articles, they usually get together and discuss their assigned story. And many amusing anecdotes accompany the way they handle their assignments. 

One staffer assigned to the co-education article was for a vigorous no to the proposal. No amount of logic, cajoling, and discussion could sway his position. The next day, however, his colleagues were surprised that he had changed his mind. After some inquiry, they found out that the several girls he went out with the night before extremely favored the coeducation question. Oh well, que sera, sera

Pro Side

Gary Grey and Zakie Ejercito

The arguments for co-education may, in essence, be stated as follows 1) that due to financial reasons the college population has to be increased to 3,000. To recruit 3,000 students under the condition of maintaining, if not upgrading the quality of students, it is imperative to admit both sexes; 2) that due to the increasing need of the Church for Academic Communities of Christians in the Philippines, one of which has to be organized around De La Salle College, both sexes have to be admitted at De La Salle for this admission will provide the financial support necessary if there is to be academic excellence in an academic community; 3) that the admission of the female sex would be a healthy sign of social and political change much needed in a growing Philippine society.

Point 1. In Fr. Georges Piron’s memorandum (dated 1 Dec. 1971) presenting the motion for co-education at De La Salle, he states as one of his premises that: “For financial reasons, it is imperative that our enrollment be pushed up to 3,000. I got this from Brother Andrew, the Academic Vice-President. Let those who wish to challenge this premise address their question to him.” 

Due to this financial necessity, this arises the problem of recruiting 3,000 students while maintaining, if not upgrading, the percentile in the FAPE-GTD-TS Entrance test.* Fr. Piron states that to recruit 3,000 males, we would have to tap the lower half and we may be able to recruit 3,000 students of both sexes from the top fifth only.” Assuming 1) that “one’s ambition to enroll at De La Salle College is independent of one’s intellectual ability” and 2) that “after a while, girls will be just as eager (neither more nor less) as boys to enter at De La Salle College, Fr. Piron makes the following conclusions from data circulated by the Admissions office on the results of the FAPE GTD-TS Entrance Test: (1) To recruit 1,500 male students, we must go down to the 76.1 percentile (in the FAPE College Entrance Test); (3) To recruit 3,000 male students, we must go down to the 52.1 percentile; (4) To recruit 3,000 students of both sexes, we must go down to the 76.1 percentile. It is imperative to accept both sexes if De La Salle wishes to have good students. 

Some individuals in the Tripartite community may argue that the admission of girls at De La Salle may lead to a drop in educational standards due to the following: Facilities and services for girls will have to be created and this will divert resources away from the maintenance and improvement of the quality and quantity of faculty members. A decline in the quality and quantity of faculty members would result in a decline in the educational standards of the school. 

This argument is based on the premise that there will be an initial competition in priority for the channeling of resources between facilities and services for girls, on the one hand, and the maintenance and improvement of the faculty, on the other. Moreover, it is based on the premise that De La Salle does not have the initial capacity and facilities to accommodate the new population of girls. However, these two premises are unfounded because expectations are that only around 50 to 100 girls will be initially enrolled. One of the main reasons for this would be the novelty of the situation. Girls from all-female schools are not expected to be initially enthusiastic about cutting the umbilical cord from their alma mater. The initial number of female enrollees is around 50 to 100, there would certainly be no problem with accommodation nor a diversion of resources away from the maintenance and improvement of faculty members. 

Point 2. According to Fr. Piron’s arguments in the memorandum, the Church needs Academic Communities of Christians. He wanted “to convince ourselves, we only had to imagine what kind of Church we would have without these communities. Religion without scholarships easily degenerates into superstitions and fanaticism…In the Philippines, one such Academic Community of Christians has to be organized at De La Salle College. Again I do not think it necessary to belabor this point. Our effort is needed. There are two ways to organize communities: 1) the merger of colleges (De La Salle College, Assumption College, St. Scholastica, St. Theresa’s, and St. Paul to start with 2) co-education in De La Salle.

The former way would not be acceptable to the other college and must be discarded since it can’t work. Thus, the latter alternative should be chosen. This may attract students away from the girl’s college “but the greater good of the Church in the Philippines carries more weight.”

Point 3. The social and political conditions in the Philippines call for a change in outlook on the role of women in society. This change in outlook has to be criticized in the educational system, specifically in private sex-segregated schools such as De La Salle College, by accepting both sexes.

The La Salle tradition of being an all-male school stems from the old Victorian concept of women as “meant for the home,” the shy, tiring, weaker sex to be defended by the stronger male sex. Thus, women were not expected to take up tedious medical subjects such as engineering, physics, business, etc. because they were supposedly at home. 

This tradition has evolved into a subconscious (if not conscious of exclusiveness and intrinsicality among some of the present generation of male students at De Salle. However, this “male chauvinism” is unfounded, for present social trends have broken down the sharp sex-role dichotomy of the opposite sexes to reveal that women are as capable as men with regard to academic and technical achievements, as such, they should have equal rights as men in choosing their careers according to their capabilities with biased social restraint. 

De La Salle is one of the schools today which offers the best training, courses such as Engineering and Business. To deny women who have capabilities to gage in these academic pursuits and are willing to seriously pursue highly technical careers, the right to study and their talents in De La Salle would be doing injustice and a disservice to pine society, for hidden potential would remain unused. 

Some sectors in the De La Salle community argue that the admission of girls would dampen the La nationalistic spirit of the La Satellites. This argument is merely speculative and has little basis in reality. In fact, by admitting girls to the school, there would be a better chance among activists to politicalize and permeate through the female, perhaps “bourgeoisie” sector of Philippine society.

Con Side

Tadeo Villarosa

The arguments against making La Salle co-educational may be broken down into three basic statements: 1) that the acceptance of women into De La Salle would increase population in such a way as to lead to a lowering of the educational standards for men; 2) that the acceptance of women into De La Salle would lead to a break down of La Salle traditions; 3) that the acceptance of women into De La Salle would further temper the activist spirit (or at least, what’s left of it).

Point 1. It was stated in Fr. Piron’s argument for the coed issue (contained in a memorandum he passed out during the day of the plebiscite) that the college population has to be increased to 3,000 for the college to function profitably. This population would supposedly maintain our present tuition fees. To maintain, if not upgrade, the percentile of students entering De La Salle, women should be accepted along with men in the proposed increase of the population.

However, the acceptance of girls would lead to the creation of facilities and other such services which are exclusively for girls. One such service would be the creation of a Dean for Women. The net effect of this would be the diversion of those resources needed to upgrade and increase the faculty necessary to maintain present educational standards to the creation of extra facilities. Hence, we should foresee a drop in the educational standards. Moreover, the percentile of the students entering De La Salle merely indicates the capabilities of the new students. It does not show how they will improve themselves, but only by how much they can develop. Now, the improvement of a student is very dependent on the persons in charge of educating him. The persons charged with this function in an educational institution are the faculty members. Hence, a higher percentile would not lead to a higher standard (as Fr. Piron contends) if the professors are not upgraded first.

In conclusion, the diversion of resources to create extra facilities would lead to the lowering of the standards of the faculty and, consequently, the student body. Even high-percentile students need good professors to be able to improve themselves. So coeds should not be accepted as they would strain the finances needed for a better faculty because the demand for extra female facilities would shift priorities to physical plant installations.

Point 2. The most volatile (emotionally) argument against making De La Salle co-educational is that it would destroy the La Salle tradition. One could just imagine the loss of the cliche “Men of La Salle”, or the Dean of Discipline putting up a warning against saying bad words in front of the ladies, etc. Moreover, the presence of women in La Salle would give the school a feminine image (echoes); hence the loss of the masculinity inherent in De La Salle. The entrance of women into the college would shift the orientation of De La Salle. We note that even now (perhaps in anticipation of turning La Salle into a girls’ school), there has been an emphasis on supposedly liberalizing subjects (e.g. the natural sciences, behavioral science, and literature). This has been to the detriment of the traditional major subjects in La Salle, such as Accounting, Economics, and Engineering. In short, hello to girls: goodbye to La Salle traditions. However, this writer admits that the above arguments contain more emotionalism than logic. It had been presented merely to vocalize the comments of certain quarters in the school.
Point 3. This argument assumes that the female applicants will be potential Assumptionistas or other women from moneyed families. For who else could afford to send a daughter to such a lucrative undergraduate school as De La Salle? Hence, this would lead to the tempering of the activist fervor, as the proportion of high-income groups in the school would increase. Again we assume that someone who comes from the high-income group would not be an activist in the real sense, but only a half-hearted participant, a fence-sitter.

The LaSallian

By The LaSallian

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