WLD MANILA SCHOOL-1581940796594
Filipinos lawmakers have passed measures that aim to bolster lessons in good manners and right conduct to students. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Manila: Citing deteriorating values among the youth and the strong influence of social media, Filipinos lawmakers have passed measures that aim to bolster lessons in good manners and right conduct to learners from kindergarten to grade 12.

On Monday, the Senate approved a bill seeking to institutionalise values education. The approval from the Upper Chamber came a week after the House of Representatives passed a similar measure.

According to Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, sponsor of Senate Bill No 1224 or the Comprehensive Values Education Act, it has been observed that ethics continues to deteriorate among young, especially those who are exposed to the fee-wheeling, no-hold-barred world of social media.

Gatchalian said that although lessons on good morals and right conduct (GMRC) are thought in the elementary level, the amount of time devoted in lessons for this subjects are not enough.

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 that Senate Bill 1224 lengthens the number of time for lessons in GMRC to one hour per school day and mandates values education curriculum to include character building activities that includes classroom role playing activities, community immersion, and other forms of experiential learning undertakings.

Based on a study by the World Bank, the elementary education curriculum in the Philippines devotes little attention to “socio-emotional skills.”

Dr Antoinette Montealegre, Vice-President of the Philippine Normal University, said that current values education had find it difficult to “reverse the rapid moral deterioration and fading Filipino values.”

She that because values education was not given priority unlike academic subjects such as mathematics, English and science; students tend to harbour unfavourable attitude towards the subject.

Last February 4, the House of Representatives passed House Bill 5829, a measures that mandates the inclusion of GMRC as a subject to be taught for kindergarten to third graders.

House Speaker Allan Peter Cayetano said the measure wants to drive home the point that basic education is not only intellectual and academic.

“It also has to be moral, emotional and spiritual as well,” he said.

Representative Florencio “Bem” Noel of the partylist, An Waray said that exposure to social media and the availability of quick and unmonitored access to internet have led to deterioration of moral values, not only among the young, but also of adults.

After the Senate and House versions had been approved, it is expected that both chambers will tackle a consolidated version of the measure. This will then be submitted for approval by President Rodrigo Duterte into a law.