In these present times, the Philippine society is experiencing unprecedented geo-political, economic, and technological changes. These have engendered changes in most organizations to include that of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine Military Academy in particular.
To meet the challenges of today's modern society, the Armed Forces needs leaders who are capable of strategic thinking, who can think beyond today and who can relate their work to the greater needs of society. This of course, requires an educational system that can find a striking balance between the freedom necessary for intellectual development and the rigidity of military discipline.
Such an educational system has found expression in the present Tri-Service Curriculum of PMA. The tri-service concept was first studied and developed in 1990 by a committee created by the Secretary of National Defense, then Fidel V. Ramos. The committee's recommendations were approved and the tri-service concept was adopted in 1993.
This adopted curriculum is a new system. Where before the PMA was heavily oriented towards the needs of the Philippine Army, it now addresses the needs of the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Air Force as well. Classes 1995 and 1996 were the first recipients of this new curriculum. Thus, depending on their selected branch of service, they were the first classes to be conferred specific degrees in:
The implementation of the new Tri-Service Curriculum necessitated the creation of three warfare departments who would take charge of the service core training of the cadets. Accordingly, the following were set up:
These departments were tasked with the overall administration, character and leadership training, military instruction, and guidance of each cadet in matters pertaining to the required curriculum of his chosen branch of service.
In addition, the Department of Managerial Sciences was also created to address the curriculum requirements of the Management specialization courses. The implementation of the Tri-Service Curriculum did not mean an end to the curriculum development process of PMA. In 1995, a series of Curriculum Improvement Seminars were conducted by the Assistant Chief of Staff for Educational Plans and Development, under the directive of the Superintendent, Major General Rodolfo S. Estrellado.
It was participated in by the officers from the Academics Group, the Tactics Group, the training commands and headquarters command of the three branches of service. As a result of these workshops, the Curriculum Committee of the Academic Board accordingly revised the Curriculum which took effect in Academic Year 1995-1996.
The new curriculum is composed of the following three phases:
Includes the general education subjects offered during the fourthclass and thirdclass years and all the military science and military leadership subjects of the Tactics Group. Thus, during these first two years, cadets take the same subjects. The core subjects make up two hundred-twenty (220) units of the total curriculum.
Upon reaching secondclass year, the cadets, in addition to some PMA Core subjects, now start to take the Service Core subjects and the Specialization Core subjects. The Service Core subjects include the subjects peculiar to the specific branch of service and aim to provide the Army, Navy, or Air force cadet with the requisite knowledge and skills of the service.
Hence, these Service Core subjects are common to all the cadets joining a specific branch of service. The first eighteen (18) units are taken up during the secondclass year and the last eleven (11) units during the firstclass year. The service core subjects make up twenty-nine (29) units of the total curriculum.
Subjects include those subjects that will enable the cadet to graduate with the degree in his chosen field of specialization. Cadets can now select from three major fields of specialization provided they meet the minimum Math GPA requirements of the technical courses. In the previous curriculum, the field of specialization was determined by the branch of service. Cadets majoring in Engineering, upon reaching firstclass year, select from among the following specialized engineering fields:
All in all, a cadet at the Philippine Military Academy takes a total of two hundred eighty-four (284) units for four years of Academic training. This is much more than what a student would take in other civilian universities offering a bachelor's degree. It must be noted, however, that the 284 units include the conduct, military science, and military leadership courses of the Tactics Group.
The graduates of the Philippine Army Curriculum would have the capabilities of infantry officers and the essential knowledge and skills in the management of men and equipment. The Philippine Air Force Curriculum graduates would have completed the academic portion of the course prior to pilot training. The graduates of the Philippine Navy Curriculum could be assigned aboard ship and assume initial billet without the need to take the naval officers qualification course. Such situation is made possible by the branch of service on-the-job training (OJT) which firstclass cadets undergo prior to their graduation from the Academy.
The Curriculum is still evolving. With these three major fields of study and the specialized engineering courses, the new curriculum gives the cadet a sense of direction and preparation for the different occupational specialties of the service.
Of more importance and significance is the fact that this curriculum prepares the cadet, the officer-to-be, for the eventual acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment and materiel, and the full implementation of the AFP Modernization Plan. It is also hoped that this new concept in academic training in the Academy will truly provide the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will make its graduates truly responsive, competent, efficient, and effective leaders of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.