FORMER Education Secretary Lourdes Reynes Quisumbing passed away on October 14. She was 96, according to a statement released by Miriam College on Monday.
Quisumbing became the first female secretary of the then-Department of Education, Culture and Sports when she was appointed to the post by then-President Corazon Aquino in 1986.
At the time of her appointment, Quisumbing was eight years into her term as president of Maryknoll College, now Miriam College, in Quezon City.
As Education secretary, Quisumbing’s tenure marked the expansion of free public education to the secondary level, an increase in the share of education in the national budget, rationalization of higher education and an emphasis on values education.
In 1990, Quisumbing was appointed to the position of secretary-general of the Unesco National Commission of the Philippines, with the rank of ambassador in the Department of Foreign Affairs, which she held until her retirement from public service in 1998.
She remained professionally active even after retirement, continuing as chairman of the Board of St. Theresa’s College (STC) in Cebu, the first lay person to serve that position.
Quisumbing was also chairman of the Board of Trustees as well as a professor emeritus of Miriam College.
She was the president of Unesco-APNEIVE (Asia Pacific Network for International Education and Values Education) and APNIEVE Philippines, of which she was the founding president
Quisumbing’s career was steeped in the field of education, beginning with her teaching stint in the 1940s at STC in Cebu, where she had to balance her profession with parenting nine children.
She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Education, summa cum laude at STC, Manila; her master’s degree in Education, summa cum laude, at the University of San Carlos (USC) ; and her PhD in Education, benemeritus, at the University of Santo Tomas, Manila.
Quisumbing taught in the graduate schools of USC, the University of the Visayas, and Cebu Institute of Technology (now Cebu Institute of Technology-University).
LYNETTE O. LUNA