By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
As the country observes the “Buwan ng Wika” (National Language Month), this August, a federation of teachers on Saturday lamented the “betrayal” of the Department of Education (DepEd) for pushing the K to 12 Program which allegedly “weakened” the nationalist mission of the education curriculum.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) called out Education Secretary Leonor Briones for “treacherously” vowing to strengthen the implementation of the K to 12 programs.
The group has been opposing the education reform noting that it has “systematically weakened” the nationalist mission of the curriculum.
The group lamented that the K to 12 programs has “only succeeded in abolishing the Philippine History subject in the high school curriculum and demote it to the elementary level, taught in a fragmented manner.”
ACT also alleged that the K to 12 is also the “culprit” to the removal of Filipino and Philippine Literature as core subjects in the tertiary level through Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Memorandum No. 20 and recently concurred by the Supreme Court.
ACT chided Briones for pushing for a review of the K to 12 curriculum “towards the direction of furthering its neoliberal agenda.” Instead of “addressing the waning nationalist spirit in the education curriculum,” the group lamented that the Education Chief “one-sidedly gives premium to the development of communication and information technology skills, in line with the production of cheap, semi-skilled and obedient workforce who are stripped of nationalist aspirations and who will blindly serve foreign interests.”
The group noted that DepEd “furthers its betrayal” with its openness to support to the institutionalization and revival of the Reserved Officer Training Course in the basic education curriculum despite its “long history as an institution that perpetrated hazing and riddled with corruption.”
“ROTC’s promise of imparting nationalism to the youth is doubtful, especially with questionable credibility of those who staunchly advocate its return in standing for our sovereign rights outrightly being trampled by China,” the group said.
For ACT, the national language “lies at the core of developing our being, identity, and nationalism.” It added that “our consciousness resides in our national language as through it we can express our deepest thoughts and aspirations as a people.”
“Nationalism can be best imparted to the youth through strengthening the teaching of National Language, Philippine History and Philippine Culture in the curriculum,” ACT stressed.
Meanwhile, ACT urged teachers to be more proactive when it comes to promoting nationalism.
“While the powers that be increasingly departs from their nationalist duties, teachers in all levels and from all disciplines should take on more vigorously the task of using the Filipino language as the medium of instruction,” the group said.
Mentors, ACT noted, “must take every interface with their students as an opportunity to inject discussions on our history, culture and the national current affairs to inculcate social awareness, critical thinking and a deep sense of nationalism among our youth” especially during these times that “our national language is being killed, we also must use language to fight for our dignity and sovereignty.”