1941: Birth of the Organization

The idea of an association of Catholic schools in the Philippines came from the Most Reverend Michael J. O'Doherty, DD, Archbishop of Manila. It came at a time when he thought that there was a necessity for Catholic schools to be better organized, primarily to ensure quality instruction. So, on 02 February 1941, the heads of schools that he invited formed the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines and established itself exclusively for non-profit and non-stock Catholic educational institutions concerned with the promotion of the interests of Catholic educators.

Elected as the association's first officers were Ret. Rev. Msgr. Jose Jovellanos, Vicar General of the Archbishop of Manila, as the President; Sister May Caritas, OP as Vice-President; and Rev. Brother E. Xavier, FSC as Treasurer.

On 28 May 1941, the first annual convention of the organization was held and became a living tradition in providing the appropriate venue wherein matters of relevance and concerns of the Catholic Educators were discussed at length.

When the 2nd World War broke out, however, the CEAP ceased to operate, to be revived only after the war.

1945-1957: Rehabilitation and Renewal

The period immediately after the war presented new challenges for CEAP. As the effects of the war had to be confronted, CEAP, together with other non-government organizations and government agencies, actively helped in rebuilding the society.

The CEAP obtained rehabilitation funds for private schools through the leadership of Fr. John Hurley, SJ, Secretary General of the Catholic Welfare Organization. The 82nd Congress of the United States passed on 9 April 1952, Public Law 303, which made funds available for war claims due to damages in infrastructure of educational, medical and welfare institutions.

In the 1950s, CEAP confronted the perennial concern of deregulation of high standard schools from strict government control. And it vigorously pushed for a national system of accreditation which could help the government develop a credible and stable educational system. And on 25 October 1957, the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU) was incorporated with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

1957-1970: Consolidation and Commitment

In 1957, CEAP started administering the Magsaysay-MacArthur Scholarships founded by His Eminence Francis Cardinal Spellman for the benefit of deserving Filipino students.

The peak of CEAP's involvement with the larger society during the period was largely characterized during 1970 National Convention held in Baguio City. The CEAP took a definite stand on pressing issues confronting not only the Association but society as well. The convention delegates endorsed

  1. the position of the Associations of Major Religious Superiors for Men and Women on the practice of collective bargaining;
  2. a Constitutional Convention that would truly reflect the sentiments of the people;
  3. steps to be taken for the restoration of confidence in constituted national authority;
  4. the use of Pilipino and the development of the national language. CEAP also endorsed the recommendations of the International Office of Catholic Education (OIEC) regarding the indigenization of school administrators and faculty staff but with certain provisions. It further suggested that institutions of higher learning convert some of their courses and departments to technical and vocational programs more relevant to the needs of the community.

On January 17-19, 1957, in Baguio City, CEAP joined hands with the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities (PACU) and the Association of Christian Schools, Colleges and Universities (ACSCU), in the first national convention of the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA), to meet the challenging problems of private education in the Philippines. CEAP luminaries Dean Waldo Perfecto and Atty. Vicente de Vera became the council's first COCOPEA Chairman and Executive Secretary, respectively.

1970-1983: Stability and Systematic Structuring

The next period in the history of CEAP signified the start of stability in the system that the CEAP had adopted as an Association. Responding to the needs of the times, the Association continued its programs for the actualization of a more effective system of serving its constituents.

In 1975, the concept of regionalization was actualized by CEAP when it was adopted as a policy of the association. CEAP became the first educational association to accept the government's invitation to consider regionalizing their operations. The concept was based on the idea that there was a need to provide services to CEAP schools with due consideration to the context of the regions. CEAP moved to adapt to the new realities by setting up regional offices. At the same time it restructured the Board of Directors by allowing representatives from each region to be part of the Board.

The CEAP also administered various scholarship programs in order to help deserving students to better serve the society. Towards this end, Terence J. Cardinal Cooke expanded the Magsaysay-McArthur Scholarships. On 21 May 1979, upon the request of the CEAP, Cardinal Cooke endowed the Scholarships with Php250,000.00; the annual interest income disbursed for scholarship grants. The scholarships later became the Terence J. Cardinal Cooke Scholarship. The Jesus Paredes Memorial Scholarship Program was also administered by the CEAP. The program was named after CEAP's first executive secretary. The Bishop Leonardo Z. Legazpi Scholarships were set up in furtherance of Catholic teacher education.

Several networks and institutional linkages were also established by CEAP during the period. Among these were the following: the Association of Catholic Universities (ACUP); the Association of Foundation (AF); and the Association for Non-Traditional Education in the Philippines (ANTEP).

In the 1970s and the early 1980s, the Association was drawn into issues related to its own existence. Foremost of the issues was the viability of non-profit Catholic schools. A number of small Catholic schools, especially those in depressed regions, felt the urgent need for financial support when the government lifted all tax exemptions on schools, made ceilings to tuition fee increases, and imposed conditions on the granting of salary increases to employees of educational institutions.

In 1982, the CEAP-CMT (Colloquium on the Ministry of Teaching) conducted its first session and since then has been successful in strengthening the vocation of teachers in Catholic schools. The years of stability and systematic structuring were great signs of hope. As the whole country experienced political instability, the CEAP was able to organize and expand its services to Catholic schools. Thanks to the stewards who believed that it is through education that liberation in society can happen.

1983-1992: Consistency with the Catholic Calling

The period that followed saw CEAP becoming a more socially involved association, standing by the teachings of the Catholic Church while immersing itself in the socio-political realities of the time.

CEAP expressed its opposition to major government projects that were seen as contrary to the true essence of Catholic existence, such as the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant and National Service Law.

The association also largely participated in the 1986 EDSA Revolution. Responding to the call to action of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, CEAP actively joined the protest movement, emphasizing its spiritual and moral dimension and its non-violent character. The condemnation of electoral fraud, the endorsement of protest actions against the government and the long-term vision of having an organization with a Christian perspective, espousing non-violent actions were among the highlights of CEAP's involvement in the protest movement.

After the events of February 1986 and the ascension of the new government, CEAP immediately issued a statement commending the new government's efforts towards the restoration of basic freedoms, expressing support for the new government through "its friendly but critical yet constructive collaboration with the government agencies that CEAP relates with." The moral dimension of CEAP's involvement with issues of national concern was again emphasized.

This trend continued well into the post-EDSA years of the Association. President Corazon Aquino, in fact, served as the Keynote Speaker in the 1986 National CEAP Convention, organized under the theme "National Reconstruction through Moral Regeneration."

CEAP schools became lead institutions for peace education, and, through its Citizens' Education Program, launched an education/information campaign on issues like the congressional elections, the debt problem, the failed coup attempts and the Welga ng Bayan.

The period also saw the strengthening of the CEAP Retirement Plan, and the Faculty Development and Administrators' Development Programs. CEAP also maintains a Data Bank, and through the Planning and Development Center (PDC) assists members in project proposal preparation and implementation.

In 1987, the Congress of the Philippines was in place. The venue for securing educational legislation had changed. The CEAP was now consulted more and more by Congress on educational bills and other educational matters.

1992-2001: Crossing Over the Third Millennium

The Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II) came up with recommendations pertinent to Catholic schools. These were later on translated into CEAP programs and projects concerning the (a) formation for Catholic school administrators, faculty and non-teaching personnel; (b) curriculum improvement by centering on the Faith-Life experience; (c) improved administrative policies and school thrusts emphasizing preference for the poor; (d) a value formation/moral recovery program through media awareness and education seminars; (e) student conscientization programs whereby the youth are involved in community outreach projects; and, (f) advocacy programs whereby teachers and parents are involved in lobbying for educational reforms.

As part of the attempt to forge strategic alliances in Catholic education, regional congresses were convened in all CEAP regional chapters. The regional congresses looked into the issues of advocacy, linkages and action plans on improving the degree of collaboration, unity and alliances among the schools within the regions.regional chapters. The regional congresses looked into the issues of advocacy, linkages and action plans on improving the degree of collaboration, unity and alliances among the schools within the regions.

Another CEAP program was the Strengthening of Religion as Core of the Curriculum. It was set up to respond to the basic question asked by PCP II of Catholic schools, i.e., "How can Catholic schools form graduates who have assimilated Christian values and live them out in their family and in society so that they become lay apostolates in their respective fields of endeavor?"

2002-2011: Milestone of the Millennium

After more than six decades of being a moral arm in the educational system, CEAP also became a guiding light in the development of Philippine society in the new millennium.

In 2002, CEAP launched three significant programs – the Management Development Program, the Biodiversity and Conservation through Community and School-based Education, and the Trainors' Training on Creating a Culture of Peace.

And to better reach out to people, the association launched its official website, www.ceap.org.ph.

In July 2005, in the midst of the festering political crisis hounding the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, CEAP-NCR issued a statement on the alleged cheating in the May 2004 elections which implies that expressions of regret while acceptable should lead to expression of accountability to be believable; that any move to address the situation should not be violent; that our leaders should give hope, not promote despair among people; and that they work to make concrete, immediate, and authentic reforms.

In the following year, CEAP played a role in major political, social and educational issues that baffled the country such as opposing the move to change the Philippine Constitution, influencing education agencies to lift the tuition free cap, revising the Manual of Regulations for Private Higher Education, developing policies to increase government funding for GASTPE, and supporting the A TEACHER Party-list in the May 2007 elections.

CEAP has also continued in the past academic year to partner with other government agencies in the areas of environment and sustainable development, labor and employment, peace building and education as well as in information technology through the CEAP-Microsoft "Go Genuine" Program providing its members with affordable software licenses.

From October 2007 to August 2008, CEAP led COCOPEA to address the issues related to the new nursing curriculum, the recommendations of the Presidential Task Force on Education (PTFE) and other issues affecting private education in general. With its connection with COCOPEA, the association also became influential in critical policies and programs of the education agencies of the government.

In 2009, CEAP developed and implemented association-wide pillar programs, the Justice and Peace Education, Engaged Citizenship, Environment and Sustainable Development Education, Poverty Reduction, Gender and Development and Youth Empowerment (JEEPGY). These programs enabled the regional offices and member-schools to integrate these into schools' curricular and extra-curricular offerings. Then in redesigning the CEAP website, MyCEAP was developed.

In 2010, through the involvement of the Association in COCOPEA, CEAP became involved in the Ten-Point Basic Education Agenda of President Benigno Aquino III. With CEAP as head-steward of COCOPEA, it was able to constitute the Task Force in Basic Education (TFBed) to assist COCOPEA in the study of policies and programs in basic education. CEAP also chaired the committee that evaluated and recommended nominees to the top positions in the three education agencies.

CEAP also strengthened its communication systems from the national office to the regions in support of regionalization, programs development, advocacy and resource generation. Some of the activities in support of this strategic direction were Kapihan para sa Edukasyon ng Kabataan, involvement in the May 2010 Elections, release of timely and relevant statements such as the Statement on the Maguindanao Massacre. CEAP was also able to hold a National Advocacy Summit at the Ateneo de Manila University on 16 July 2010 where the Advocacy Commission identified its key issues namely Education Reform, Judicial Reform, Peace, Environment, and Taxation of Private Schools.

The year 2011 saw a continuation and expansion of CEAP’s different programs and initiatives.

Its commitment to effect transformative leadership to better service the members of the association, most especially the small mission schools, came to fore by reinforcing its thrust of strengthening the regions through programs assistance and different capacity-building programs.

Also remarkable was the addition of 20 new member schools to the association raising the total membership to 1,345--thus CEAP remains as the largest association of private schools in the country.

The constitution of the CEAP National Advocacy Commission (NAC) further strengthened CEAP’s position in the area of public policy. The NAC has been at the forefront of major educational reforms, participating in relevant legislative sessions and meetings with the executive branch on matters like the K to 12, expanded GASTPE, Magna Carta for Students, taxation, and amendments to the PRC Modernization Act of 2000. It has also remained vigilant and active in our advocacies for good governance in our country--coming out with CEAP statements on relevant national issues.

2012 and onwards: Towards CEAP 75!

CEAP 75: Remember with Gratitude. Renew with Fervor. Set Forth with Faith.

CEAP will be celebrating its 75th year on 2016. And as it prepares for this significant milestone, CEAP lays down a five-year road map that seeks to seize opportunities for the association to establish its legacy and at the same time create a more profound connection between Catholic students and educators and CEAP's mission.

Following its launch at the CEAP National Convention in Davao on September 2011, it is now full speed ahead for CEAP75, with the theme: Remember with Gratitude. Renew with Fervor. Set Forth with Faith.

Special thanks to the following for the research and some write-ups:

St. Joseph’s College, Quezon City
San Beda College, Manila
The Philippine Online Chronicles, thepoc.net