Senate approves bill making GMRC mandatory to elementary, senior high school students

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Elementary and high school students in public and private schools will soon be required to take a mandatory Good Manners and Right Conduct (GMRC) subject under the K to 12 curriculum.

The Senate on Monday  approved a bill seeking to institutionalize values education, including GMRC, as a core subject in the K to 12 curriculum. 

Under Senate Bill No. 1224 or the Comprehensive Values Education Act, values education, including GMRC, will be taught to elementary and senior high school students for an hour daily. In the case of kindergarten students, values education shall be integrated in their daily learning activities. GMRC was removed as a regular subject and was integrated with other subjects, including Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao and Araling Panlipunan under the K to 12 curriculum.

In the said curriculum, values education is taught for 30 minutes daily in primary education and an hour twice a week in secondary education.

Educators deplore the neglect of the subject in the teaching practice. A position paper by Ma. Antoinette Montealegre of the Philippine Normal University noted that currently, values education has not “reversed the rapid moral deterioration and fading Filipino values.”

Since values education was not given priority unlike academic subjects such as mathematics, english and science, studies showed unfavorable attitude towards the subject, according to Montealegre.

She said the limited time accorded to values education, 30 minutes, is not enough for “both cognitive and action-oriented learning in character formation.”

Senator  Sherwin Gatchalian, sponsor of the bill, said the amount of time allotted to values education has been found to be inadequate. He said the current 30 minutes does not provide enough time for teachers to engage students in meaningful discussions and exercises on values formation.

He said SBN 1224 mandates values education curriculum to include clear, distinct, specific and concrete character building activities such as role playing in the classroom, community immersion activities, teacher-parent collaborative learning activities, school initiated values formation activities, simulated activities and other forms of experiential learning activities.

“This will allow students to gain real-life experiences in applying their values to difficult situations, but in a controlled environment where experienced educators will help them process the lessons they learned in a constructive and nurturing way,” Gatchalian explained. 

To make the subject more accessible and user-friendly to students, the bill calls for a mother tongue-based multilingual education approach to be adopted in teaching values education. The bill mandates the Department of Education (DepEd), in coordination with the Commission on Filipino Language and in collaboration with education academic and research institutions to formulate a mother tongue-based multilingual framework for teaching and learning.

Teachers with certification, diploma and training in the field of values education and other allied disciplines shall be given preference in the teaching of the subject. At present, educators noted that 70 to 90 percent of those who teach values education are not certified values education teachers.

“DepEd shall conduct an annual review of the institutionalization of comprehensive values education in the K to 12 program curriculum to ensure its proper implementation and assess student learning outcomes for the purpose of determining its efficacy,” the bill said.

“The DepEd shall also establish linkages and provide the necessary support to strengthen parent-teacher partnerships to enable parents to perform their vital role in the effective institutionalization of the values formation education,” it added.

Aside from Gatchalian, the bill was introduced by Majority Leader Migz Zubiri, Senators Joel Villanueva, Cynthia Villanueva, Nancy Binay, Panfilo Lacson, Sonny Angara, Ronald dela Rosa, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Christoper Lawrence Go, Risa Hontiveros, Manuel Lapid, Imee Marcos, Manny Pacquiao, Francis Pangilinan, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Bong Revilla, Francis Tolentino and Senate President Vicente Sotto III. /Stacy Ang

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