Educator and Ramon Magsaysay Awardee

For Government service


Education pioneer and Ramon Magsaysay awardee for government Service in 1959, Jose Vasquez Aguilar was born on March 23,1900 in barrio Caduhaan, Cadiz, Negros Occidental. After his native Caduhaan for one-year .Upon completing his secondary education in 1920, he left for the United States, where he worked his way through college. He graduated with Bachelor of Arts in philosophy degree from the Denison University in Ohio in 1925.


Despite being a working student, Aguilar found time to be active in the university debating team, which competed with other colleges. In 1924, he was elected to the Tau Kappa alpha debating Fraternity. Upon his return to the Philippines in 1925, he was appointed teacher of English at the Negros Occidental High School. The following year, he was promoted to academic supervisor of the division on Masbate. He transferred to Cebu in the same capacity in 1957.In the same year, he took the division superintendents examination, which topped. He was appointed division superintendent of Camarines Norte in 1928.He served  in the position in the provinces of Antique, Samar, Capiz and Iloilo up to 1954.


Aguilar’s potential as an authority on education was recognized when he was asked to serve as consultant on elementary education to the joint congressional committee on education and later to the UNESCO Consultative Mission to the Philippines. In 1954,he became the country’s representative to the Republic of China and adviser to that country’s community school program. He worked for several months in Taiwan provincial Department Education and the US Economic Mission on Community Schools Project  in Chitung and Tungshih, where  pilot projects for a new Educational movement in the Republic of China were undertaken. In April 1954, Aguilar was promoted  as professor in the College of Education in the University  of the Philippines. The following year, he was granted a Smith –Mundt fellowship, which allowed him to travel in the US and observe Asian study centers  and applied linguistic  programs .In 1956 he was designated panel member for community schools in the Social Science Research Center, which was invited by the government to make recommendations in framing an economic  program for the country. During the same year, he was named observer for he UP  in the  Fifth Annual Assembly of World Confederations of Organizations of the Teaching Professions ,which was held in Manila. He also attended a workshop  for teachers in community schools held in Vietnam. Also during 1956, Aguilar was appointed director of the UP extension division. In 1958, he was designated head of the department of education of the university. He served  as such until June 1958,when he was appointed acting dean. He became dean in October  of the same year.

    Early in 1959, He served as acting chairman  and project director the Community Development Research Council in the absence  of its chairman. In May of the same year, he  retired from the government service to become the director of the Philippine Center for Language Studies.

  In recognition of his valuable  contributions  to the Philippine  education and  community welfare ,Aguilar received an honorary  doctorate  degree from the Central Philippines University in Iloilo City in 1952,He also received awards from the Philippine Tuberculosis Society in 1950,the Southern Iloilo Varsitarian in 1951,the Iloilo Press club  in 1952 and the Boy Scouts of the Philippines in 1953,In 1959 ,the Philippine Association of School Superintendents cited him for his ”distinguished leadership”, particularly in the promotion  of the community school movement  in the Philippines. He was a life member of the Philippine Public School  Teachers  Association and was president of the Philippine Association of School Superintendents.

       Among is published works were:   ”Education for the Forgotten Masses.” ”Significance of Bilingual Education,” Native Approach of Education,” Influence of Language in Community   Life,” and “Articles on the Case for the Vernacular. Aguilar wrote detailed reports on the Iloilo Experiments on  the Venicular, the Development of the Santa Barbara Community Schools Project, and a monograph entitled ,” This is Our Community School,” His other writing  discussed conceptual fallacies involving occupational education and the developing approach to occupations in the Philippines. Two of his articles  , which described the community school idea and its practice, were published abroad. One , entitled “Development of Community School Concept,” appeared  in the 52nd yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education in 1953 .The other,” Community Schools of the Philippines,’ was published and welfare in 1957. In 1952, Aguilar asked the Bureau of the Public Schools to evaluate the performance of his division. It cited the “high sense of educational leadership willing to submit itself to a test for a validity  of its program and eager to assert itself, and its achievements, all in the interest  of an adequate and satisfying school  system,” adding: There was very good evidence that the children were being educated in a life of excellent work and people seemed to be retaining better customs and usages  than in the past.” On the used f the vernacular ,-in this case, Hiligaynon -the report said that the students were “ more dominant, extrovert, soundly mature and more interested in their schools,” and that the teachers were relieved of the “traditional drudgeries of teaching for they “could speak heart to heart with adults and young.”

    The bureau supported Aguilar’s project. Soon, other superintendents adopted his methods   and, later, evolved their own. Eventually, the bureau adopted the school-community scheme in the national program.

    In 1959,Dr.Aguilar received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service as” a fair- sighted innovator and as delicated educator” who had” set a standard to emulate.

   He died on January 31,1980.





                                                      Name:    Clarissa N. Garcia



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