Bro. Armin’s K+12 and Recommendations for General “Labor Education”

I rejoice in the confirmation of Bro. Armin Luistro, FSC, yesterday, as Secretary of Education. My rejoicing is rooted in the hope that with this confirmation the intention to pursue and implement the K+12 reform is strengthened.

This may have bearing on a communication which I received just yesterday from Dr. Isagani Cruz, Chairman of the Technical Panel for General Education, that at the hearing of the Committee on Higher Education and Technical Education of the House of Representatives, which was attended by several representatives of CHED, the Committee decided to embed labor education as a part of social science offerings in the Tertiary-Level General Education Curriculum.

We appreciate that this was already a movement away from HB 3205 introduced by the Hon. Raymund Democrito Mendoza, TUCP Party List representative, which recommended a “mandatory” course “separately offered” in labor education.

The good intentions of the House Technical Panel notwithstanding, I believe that the forthcoming K+12 reform is relevant here and ought to be considered by the proponents of HB 3205.

In the Explanatory Note to HB 3205 it is stated “that college students who will eventually join the labor force as workers and employees should have knowledge about labor rights, worker’s welfare and benefits, core labor standards, labor laws and regulations, national and global labor situation labor market concerns, labor issues, overseas work and related problems, and other topics related to labor and employment so that they will become aware of their rights and privileges as workers as well as their responsibilities to society.”

The bill proposes the “Inclusion of Labor Education in the College Curriculum. The CHED is hereby mandated to develop a mandatory subject or course on labor education that will be separately offered together with existing subjects in the college curricula” (Section 4).

“Labor education” is defined as “the teaching of labor rights, worker’s welfare and benefits, core labor standards, labor laws and regulations, national and global labor situation, labor market concerns, labor issues, overseas work and related problems and other topics related to labor and employment” (Section 3 A).

The purpose of the HB seems to be the widest dissemination “labor education” as defined, based on a assessment of what college students should know about labor. .

My position would be to suggest to the Hon. Mendoza that “labor education” be differentiated into two blocks: (1) that which gives information and formation on the status quo of labor, workers welfare… etc.” as described in this law, and (2) that which is more reflective about the nature of human labor, the role of labor in the self-realization of the human person, the alienation of labor from the human being, the foundations of the dignity of labor, and causes for global violations of the dignity of labor and our responses to them.

My suggestion is that the first block, labor information and formation, be allocated to Senior High School (or, as I have suggested, “Career Academy”) Since the Career Academy encompasses students preparing for life-sustaining work, these students, and not just college students as the HB suggests, should benefit from this. Widest dissemination is presumably among the goals of this bill. This would then place this material under the supervision of the Department of Education.

The second block should be allocated to tertiary general education. This could be a compulsory part of social science, or part of the multidisciplinary integrative courses. This would then be offered under the supervision of the Commission on Higher Education.

In the light of the proposed K+12 reform, the recommendations of HB 3205 should consider Senior High School or Career Academy.

About Joel Tabora, S.J.

Jesuit. Educator
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