Thursday, 1 September 2011

How well did Rizal Perform in the University?

The Royal and Pontifical University of the Philippines, The University of Santo Tomas’ Faculty of Medicine’s record of Jose Rizal with a grade of Aprovado.  The grades were Notable (Excellent), Sobresaliente (Very Good), Aprovado (Passed) and Reprovado (Failed).

Most biographers of Rizal paint a bleak picture of his stay at the University of Santo Tomas. An examination of the records at the archives, however, presents a more balanced view. All of this has been presented by Fr. Fidel Villarroel, OP, in his book “Jose Rizal and the University of Santo Tomas” (1984), with so much more enriching detail and context.


Grades of Rizal in UST (1877-1882)

Preparatory Course of Theology and Law (1877-1878)
Cosmology—Sobresaliente [Excellent; equivalent grade: 1.0]
Metaphysics—Sobresaliente [Excellent: 1.0]
Theodicy—Sobresaliente [Excellent: 1.0]
History of Philosophy—Sobresaliente [Excellent: 1.0]
Preparatory Course of Medicine
(1878-1879)
Advanced Physics—Aprovechado [Very Good: 1.5]
Advanced Chemistry—Sobresaliente [Excellent: 1.0]
Advanced Natural History—Aprovechado [Very Good: 1.5]

1st Year of Medicine (1878-1879)
 Note: Rizal was one of four allowed out of 28 to take these courses simultaneously with those above, which was highly irregular, but it reveals the Dominicans’ recognition of their students’ intellectual preparation.
General Anatomy and Histology—Bueno [Good: 2.0]
Descriptive Anatomy—Bueno [Good: 2.0]
Exercises of Osteology and Dissection—Bueno [Good: 2.0]

2nd Year of Medicine (1879-1880)
General Anatomy and Histology II—Bueno [Good: 2.0]
Descriptive Anatomy II—Bueno [Good: 2.0]
Exercises of Dissection—Bueno [Good: 2.0]
Physiology, Private and Public Hygiene—Bueno [Good: 2.0]

3rd Year of Medicine (1880-1881)
General Pathology, Its Clinic, and Pathologic Histology—Aprobado [Passed: 3.0]
Therapeutics, Medical Matter and Art of Prescribing—Sobresaliente [Excellent: 1.0]
Surgical Anatomy, Operations, External Medical Applications and Bandages—Bueno [Good: 2.0]

4th Year of Medicine (1881-1882)
Medical Pathology—Notable [Very Good: 1.5]
Surgical Pathology—Notable [Very Good: 1.5]
Obstetrics, Sicknesses of Women and Children—Notable [Very Good: 1.5]
Siphilography—Notable [Very Good: 1.5]


Summing up, in the 21 subjects taken in the UST, Rizal obtained six Sobresaliente or Excellent, six Notable or Aprovechado or Very Good, eight Bueno or Good, and one Aprobado or Passing Grade. On the basis of these records, Fr. Fidel poses the following seven considerations:

1) Rizal was a good student, above average, though not excellent; but none of his classmates were excellent either. Rizal was not as gifted for Medicine as he was for the Letters and Arts.
2) In Madrid, his medical grades were the same or a little lower.
3) He is not on record as having ever complained about his grades in Santo Tomas, while he did complain about those he received in Madrid.
4) He was never discriminated against in Santo Tomas; on the contrary, he was favored with a dispensation which few students received.
5) Racial discrimination did not exist in his class, as shown by the fact that all his Spanish classmates fell by the roadside one by one in the course of four years.
6) In the fourth and last year in Santo Tomas, only seven students remained [out of the original batch of 24], and Rizal was one of them.
7) And he ended that year in second place.

Adapted from:  click here

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