Three of Ateneo de Naga University’s ace faculty members in its College of Education, Dr. Evelyn Autor, Veronica Jalores, and Jullie del Valle, walked me and my assistant, Vinci Bueza, though the basics of the Revised Basic Education Curriculum (2002) this morning. It is this RBEC which is now being “enhanced” as part of educational reform today. How it is to be enhanced is the focus of much study and discussion among educators today, and shall form part of the dialogue between the DepEd and stakeholders, the COCOPEA included.
Our teachers who have had experience in teaching the RBED are invited to reflect on their experience with the curriculum, and contribute to the discussion on how it might be “enhanced”. Envisioned is not an overhaul or “revision” of the RBEC, but insight in how we can teach it better.
What was the aim of the Revised Basic Education Curriculum of 2002 (RBEC)? And how was it conceived?
The RBEC sought to improve the standard of education in the country. It was the first time in 13 years that the country had revised its curriculum.
The RBEC would respond to the needs of Filipino learners with the following objectives:
“1. Provide knowledge and develop skills, attitudes, and values essential to personal development and necessary for living in and contributing to a developing and changing society;
“2. Provide learning experiences which increase the child awareness of and responsiveness to the changes in society;
“3. Promote and intensify knowledge, identification with and love for the nation and the people to which s/he belongs; and
“Promote work experiences which develop orientation to the world of work and prepare the learner to engage in honest and gainful work” (Cf. Bilbao, et. al., Curriculum Development. Lorimar: Q.C., 2008).
The RBEC articulated a Vision and Mission:
“The Department of Education envisions every learner to be functionally literate, equipped with life skills, appreciative of arts and sports, and imbued with the desirable values of a person who is makabayan, makatao, makakalikasan, at maka-Diyos.
“The vision is in line with DepEd’s mission to provide quality basic education that is equitably accessible to all and lays the foundation for lifelong learning and service for the common good.”
Among the salient features of the RBEC was its desire to overcome an overcrowded curriculum. The RBEC resulted in the decongestion of the curriculum with only five learning areas: English, Pilipino, Mathematics, Science and Makabayan.
These are “tool learning areas for an adequate development of competencies for learning how-to-learn.”
From the view that I have personally adopted that our educational reform must address not only the development of skills that can be used professionally, but the development the human person in society, the tool learning area, Makabayan, is crucial.
Makabayan “addresses primarily societal needs. This is where the learner can apply practical knowledge and life skills and demonstrate deeper appreciation of Filipino culture. Thus, it emphasizes the development of self-reliant and patriotic citizens as well as the development of critical and creative thinking.”
Besides “functional literacy” and “life skills,” the DepEd envisions the formation of pupils who are makabayan, makatao, makakalikasan, at maka-Diyos – patriotic, humane, environmentally sensitive and God-fearing. This is the crucial foundation of disciplines in secondary and tertiary education that focus on the development of the human being, and not on merely professional skills.
In the RBEC’s decongestion of the previous curriculum into five learning areas, what was not in English, Pilipino, Mathematics and Sciences, seems to have been relegated to Makabayan. While the curriculum may have been theoretically decongested as a whole, wasn’t Makabayan over-congested, undermining its crucial formative role in the formation of the pupil?
Consider: “Makabayan is the laboratory of life or an experiential learning area which consists of Sibika at Kultura/Heograpiya, Kasaysayan at Sibika (SK/HKS); Edukasyong Pantahanan at Pangkabuhayan (EPP); Musika, Sining at Edukasyon sa Pagpapalakas ng Katawan (MSEP).” It includes civics, culture, geography, history, education to develop skills for the home, education for livelihood, music, art and physical education. Well integrated, that could be a powerful elementary education. Otherwise it is a disastrous hodgepodge of directionless requirements.
Since the development of the patriotic human being who is environmentally sensitive and God-fearing, the person who is “makabayan, makatao, makakalikasan, at maka-Diyos,” is really a desired outcome of our whole educational reform, we must understand precisely how these values are formed on the elementary level, what educational interventions target and form them, and how they articulate with further formative efforts on higher levels of education. If we miss the boat on this level, we end up with graduates who have no concern for the nation, who are therefore anything but patriotic, willing to sacrifice the national interest for private gain; graduates who are underdeveloped humanely, do not understand the difference between right and wrong, prone to violence, corruption, and war, unable to take personal responsibility for other persons and society; graduates who have no concern for the environment, and who have no reflected insight into the difference between themselves and God, or the difference between their arbitrary whims and God’s law.
A very wise senior educator once told me, “Teach them the difference between right and wrong.” In Makabayan, less indeed may be more.