HomeThe Journal of Historyvol. 48 no. 1 - 2 (2002)

Education Under the American Colonial Regime: The De l.a Salle University Experience

Jose Victor D. Jimenez

Discipline: History



The establishment of American sovereignty in the Philippines brought about marked changes in the educational system. While during the Spanish regime education was mainly aimed at the propagation of the Catholic faith, the American system placed great emphasis on citizenship training.


De La Salle University (DLSU), formerly De La Salle College, the first De La Salle school in the Philippines run and owned by the Christian Brothers, was founded in 1911 in response to the challenges posed by American secular education and to the stipulation on the teaching of the English language.


This paper seeks to trace the history of DLSU from the time it was founded in 1911 until 1941. It is divided into two parts. Part I discusses the educational system under the Americans, taking into consideration the emphasis it placed on secular/liberal education; the abolition of religion from the curriculum; the importance it attached to athletics; its policy on the teaching of the English language; its determined effort to educate the Filipino masses; and the implementation of the principle of separation of Church and State. Part II describes the experience of DLSU in meeting the challenges of the time. It first discusses how the Catholic hierarchy, under the able leadership of Monsignor Harty, responded to the challenge posed by the American secular educational orientation and policy on language of instruction, and how the Christian Brothers coped with the Vatican mandate.


This is followed by a section that deals with the school's transfer to Taft Avenue, explaining the reason underlying such a move and how the new property was acquired. The subsequent discussion illustrates how the Christian Brothers organized the faculty, curriculum and student activities relative to the problems that necessitated the founding of the school and other challenges that confronted them as they undertook their educational work. The final section treats of the growth of the student population.