Values Education in the 2002 Revised Basic Education Curriculum

With my personal interest in how our educational system forms values, it is very interesting to note that at least theoretically there is overwhelming attention given to values education in the 2002 Revised Basic Education Curriculum (RBEC). All of the basic education teachers in the five learning areas of English, Pilipino, Mathematics, Science and Makabayan are designated as “values-education teachers.” One is not merely a teacher of English composition, Pilipino speech, environmental sensitivity or arithmetic calculation, but one is as such also a values teacher, with Makabayan conceived as a “laboratory of life.” The aim is “functional literacy” – not just an ability to read, write, calculate, and think scientifically in themselves – but a literacy that empowers the pupil to function appropriately in life, interacting in a healthy manner with society and the world, equipped with life skills, appreciative of the arts and sports, and spiritual.

“Values are treated as integral to the five learning areas. Education in and for values is geared towards the learner’s self-actualization” (2002 BEC pg. 16).

What is the values and life skills outcome of the RBEC?

“After going through the restructured curriculum from Grade 1 up to Fourth Year, the learner ought to have developed and internalized a value system that makes him/her a person of integrity who has the competence and courage to face contemporary challenges and has the firm commitment to serve his/her country, respect of peoples and cultures, care for the environment, and live with gratitude to the Creator” (2002 BEC pg. 18).

That needs a lot of unpacking. Involved is a value system. Among the values included are those of patriotism (bayani) and honor (marangal). Listed: Respect for self (paggalang sa sarili), a positive attitude towards work (positibong saloobin sa paggawa), knowledgeable and skilled in livelihood and technology (kaalaman at kasanayan sa kabuhayan at teknolohiya), productive (produktibo), appreciative of sports and dancing (pagpapahalaga sa sports at sayaw), respectful of culture (pagpapahalaga sa kultura), possessed of a global vision (may global na pananaw), caring for environment (pangangalaga sa kapaligiran), faithful in accomplishing one’s duty (pagtupad sa tungkulin), respectful of human rights (paggalang sa karapatang pantao), love of country (pagmamahal sa bansa).

The learner ought to have developed his/her value system. H/She also ought to have “internalized” it. I believe this means that it is not just forced on the pupil by way of rote or external disciplinary measures, as one trains a dog to sit when one say’s “Sit!” or to “shake hands” when one extends one’s hand, through a form of thoughtless Pavlovian conditioning. The system has somehow presented the value over and against other competing values, and the pupil has been invited to accept the value based on personal insight and free choice. The pupil chooses to care for the environment not because one will be punished for littering but because one values one’s environment and considers it given not only to oneself for abuse to all for appropriate use.

This internalized value system makes one a person of integrity. One is authentic because one is not torn asunder by external influences but acts from values self-appropriated within; so do ones values and one’s value-determined actions make a person whole, a person of integrity. There is no disjoint between what one says and what one lives, what one believes and what one does. Because one respects property, one does not steal, whether someone else is looking or not. Because one respects life, one does not take undue advantage of another person, whether one can get away with this or not. Integrity, I believe, is something that one works at a lifetime long. On the way, there are many errors, mistakes, falls, problems, and challenges.

The person of integrity, living from an internalized value system, has the courage and competency to face contemporary challenges. First, contemporary challenges. I am unsure of what the BEC was considering, but some of the grand contemporary challenges in the world today are such as godlessness, materialism, dehumanizing poverty, hedonism, the breakdown of the human family, religious fanaticism, violence, lack of global governance, ethical confusion and war. Being able to face contemporary challenges implies a certain fundamental insight and understanding in the nature of the problems. Otherwise there would be no need for courage in facing these problems, only the recklessness of fools and dilatants.

The definition goes on with the ”firm commitment to serve his/her country, respect of peoples and cultures, care for the environment, and live with gratitude to the Creator.” This, in a world where thousands of our youth dream of escaping local poverty by emigrating to other nations, and pray that passage to other countries be the gift they be most grateful to God for.

Theoretically, there is overwhelming attention given to values education.

The trouble is: in a country where corruption is said to be practically endemic to the culture, where mass murder is committed for political advantage, where the justice system pursues legal advantage over moral right, and human relationships seem to be increasingly fragile because increasingly shallow, the educational system is not working, no matter how lofty its intention. “A value system” can be substituted by “another value system.” Against a value system where patriotism, civic responsibility and a society built on the foundation of strong family life are capitalized, other value systems may insinuate themselves onto the lives of the pupils. In a contest of values, these may actually win. Such a value system could be one determined by the dazzling glitter of popular media where physical appearance is more highly prized than interior beauty, comfort more prized than sacrifice, fleeting personal relationships more pursued than permanent commitment.

Next to the electric pleasures of pre-marital sex, the laughing intoxication of yuppie barhopping, and the power trip of taking up and dropping human relationships, “a person of integrity living out of an internalized value system” may seem mightily abstract. And boring.

Educational reform must overcome the haphazardness of values formation in the RBEC.

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About Joel Tabora, S.J.

Jesuit. Educator
This entry was posted in Philippine Educational Reform and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Values Education in the 2002 Revised Basic Education Curriculum

  1. These are actually great ideas in on the topic of blogging.

    You have touched some fastidious things here. Any way keep up wrinting.

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