By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
There is a growing clamor for the “revival” of the good manners and right conduct (GMRC) subject, but the Department of Education (DepEd) said it was never really left out in the new curriculum.
“Maybe there’s some misunderstanding or misrepresentation in the terminologies,” DepEd Undersecretary for Finance Service and Education Programs Delivery Unit Annalyn Sevilla said in an interview on the sidelines of the ongoing 1st National Summit on the Rights of the Child in Education (NSRCEd).
The GMRC, she noted, was the “old subject or course” taught to students way back in the old curriculum. “But right now, we have the GMRC embedded in Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao (EsP),” she explained.
Sevilla said that under the new K to 12 curriculum, “age appropriate values education and the lessons that are relevant and appropriate for our learners” are being taught to students from kinder to grade 12.
“We teach our students not just about values education but being the ‘complete’ person,” she added.
Sevilla clarified that while concepts of GMRC are “already included and embedded” in the current curriculum, the agency is “still open” to the suggestions of stakeholders from various sectors.
“Let’s hear all the sides and opinions and we, at DepEd, welcome this because this is also what we want to do,” Sevilla said in reaction to the calls to revive GMRC at the basic education level.
“From the experts of the education system, we will hear the changes and developments in the system of education that we should address,” she said.
The DepEd, through its Legal Affairs Office, is hosting the first-ever NSRCEd from November 14 to 15. It gathers stakeholders from local and international community to take a closer look at the rights of the child in education and address gaps in the implementation of policies that involve learners.
During the first day of the summit, Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo, chairperson of the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture cited the efforts of the House of Representatives in reviving GMRC.
Senator Joel Villanueva earlier filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 860 or the proposed Comprehensive Values Education Act.
In filing the bill, Villanueva stressed the importance of “institutionalizing the teaching” of GMRC and including character-building activities in the curriculum of the K to 12 program.
The proposed bill seeks to teach students the “practical and acceptable manners of conducting daily affairs according to universal norms of ethics and morality.” Villanueva said that character building activities are “necessary components” of SB 860, where “students are given actual opportunities to practice, experience, test, and deepen whatever is taught and caught in the other aspects of learning.”
DepEd, he noted, is expected to “play a big role” in the implementation of the bill once it passed into a law since it oversees the basic education system.
Other factors to consider
Meanwhile, Sevilla noted that there are also other factors to consider in reviving the GMRC. One of these is the need to “adjust” to ever-changing times.
“One of the factors that we need to consider is our culture,” Sevilla said. For instance, the simple saying of “po” and “opo” – which is considered part of an old tradition – may “now be viewed differently by younger people,” she said.
“We need to also, I think, engage the parents and the community that our times are evolving and sometimes, ang mga bata – kahit hindi nagpo-’po’ and ‘opo’ – yung definition nila of being polite is on another dimension,” Sevilla said.
(Kids who don’t say ‘po’ or ‘opo’ may have a definition of politeness that is on another dimension.)
“While we consider our culture, we have to have that understanding also,” she added.