Developing a Research Culture in Higher Education; Educator's Speak

By Carson-Arenas, Aggie | Manila Bulletin, May 27, 2001 | Go to article overview

Developing a Research Culture in Higher Education; Educator's Speak


Carson-Arenas, Aggie, Manila Bulletin


RESEARCH is one of the major functions of the higher education system in the Philippines together with instruction and community extension services. Research as an academic function differentiates higher education from basic education.

Research and development (a.k.a. R&D) are two interrelated and essential stages in the creation of new concepts, ideas or processes and products directly affecting everybody's lifestyle. R&D is supposed to be the cradle of ideas, the jump-start point of technology, and benchmark of an array of developments. This is why research has become an essential-integral part of academe because it is nurtured under its domain.

The role of research in development is ubiquitous. Development is often always spelled out by research. The economic, social, cultural and political advancements generally have their roots in one way or the other in mediocre or very sophisticated research. Research affects and improves the quality of our lives.

Research, according to Dr. Angel C. Alcala, former chairman of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) " is an academic activity that provides opportunities for professors to elevate their field of expertise to the highest international standards. The academic reputation of a professor and his standing among his colleagues depend to a large extent on the quality of his research.''

Research is the reflection of a true academician.

If this is so, have we achieved developing a research culture in colleges and universities among the 67,000 fulltime professors serving in the country's higher education institutions?

Rationalization of Research

In 1998, during the National Centennial Congress on Higher Education with its theme, "Higher Education in the Philippines from the Revolution to the 21st Century,'' Dr. Allan B.I. Bernardo traced research done on higher education. In his paper entitled "Toward the Rationalization of Research on Higher Education,'' he presented the following conclusion:

Yet research can truly play an important role in generating ideas and perspectives that can shape higher education reform and policy. What policymakers of all shapes and sizes should first realize is that not all researches are useful and fruitful. Bad and futile research is easy to do, and it can be done at any time, at any place, and with token funding.

Good research, however, needs to be done certain ways and in particular environments so that it can generate meaningful and significant knowledge. Most important, we must find ways to make research a maintream activity, rather than a requirement towards the completion of a degree, or a spare activity that faculty members can do to get points for promotion or to augment their meager salary (Emphases - Arenas).

We truly need to shift from a mindset that research is done so that someone may get a degree or promotion, so then we could not care less if the research report is simply condemned to eternal stagnation in some bookshelf.

We need to realize that research is done so that knowledge may be generated and that this knowledge may be shared so that it may generate even more knowledge.

Once there is an appreciation of this reality, policymakers, school administrators, and all of us stakeholders can begin working towards setting up the necessary structure to support a viable research environment for higher education, keeping in mind that doing so is already a step towards improving the quality of higher education in the Philippines.

There is already a General Policies on research formulated by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). CHED explicitly spelled out the policy directives in higher education research in its National Higher Education Research Agenda for 1998-2007. The general policy statements are as follows:

l Research is the ultimate expression of an individual's innovative and creative process. …

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