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Citizenship teaching in PH needs to be strengthened — Briones

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By Merlina Hernando-Malipot 

To achieve the education targets set by various international organizations, the Department of Education (DepEd) underscored the importance of strengthening global citizenship in the country’s education system.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones (DepEd / MANILA BULLETIN)

Education Secretary Leonor Briones
(DepEd / MANILA BULLETIN)

Education Secretary Leonor Briones, during her keynote address for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Council of Teachers (ACT) + 1 Convention spearheaded by the Philippine Public School Teachers’ Association (PPSTA) held recently, noted that it is very important for the Philippines to strengthen its citizenship teaching to achieve the goals set by various international organizations such as the United Nations, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) – among others.

With the theme, “Strengthening the Hallmarks of Excellence in Education through ASEAN + 1 Teachers’ Integration,” the convention was aimed at establishing closer ties among teachers in the region, and promoting their cultural and professional enrichment. It was attended by more than a thousand teacher-leaders from the ASEAN member countries and the Republic of Korea.

“I would propose that one of the major concerns of ACT+1 would be to further enhance and spread what I would say in religious terms, the gospel of global citizenship,” Briones said. “Because if we strive for global citizenship, we will also be striving for ASEAN + 1 citizenship, and we will be recognizing our common humanity,” she added.

Briones noted that global citizenship is based on the universal values of human rights, democracy, non-discrimination, and diversity. “It’s about civic actions that promote a better world and future. So as the experts say, we move towards an inclusive, just, and peaceful world,” she said.

The DepEd Chief also enjoined the participants to love their own communities and countries, “while keeping in mind that they are part of a broader community, region, and of the planet Earth.” Upon discussing the various education goals set by international organizations, most of which are targeted in the year 2030, she also zeroed in on the need to address barriers to inclusion.

“If you want to achieve all these wonderful education goals by 2030, first and foremost, we must also attain peace,” Briones said. “So even as we examine our curricula, even as we look at science and technology, even as we debate about better ways of teaching, it has to be all in an atmosphere of peace…so we cannot engage in all these things unless there is peace among countries,” she added.

Briones also cited the “need for adequate financing in order to achieve accessible and quality education, the issue of persistent poverty, and differences of opinions on national policy.” She asked, “How can we teach global citizenship, how can we bring about the exciting things in the curriculum, about all the goals of human development, when we also have persistent poverty?”

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