(We yield this space to the statement of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers due to its timeliness. – Ed.)
WHILE the Philippine education system celebrates the month of August as “Buwan ng Wika” and “Buwan ng Kasaysayan,” the Department of Education vows to strengthen the implementation of the K to 12 program which has systematically weakened the nationalist mission of the education curriculum.
The K to 12 program has only succeeded in abolishing the Philippine History subject in the high school curriculum and demote it to the elementary level, taught in a fragmented manner. K to 12 is also the culprit to the removal of Filipino and Philippine Literature as core subjects in the tertiary level, executed through Commission on Higher Education Memorandum No. 20 and recently concurred by the Supreme Court.
Education secretary Leonor Briones pushes for a review of the K to 12 curriculum towards the direction of furthering its neoliberal agenda. Instead of addressing the waning nationalist spirit in the education curriculum, she one-sidedly gives premium to the development of communication and information technology skills in line with the production of cheap, semi-skilled and obedient work force who are stripped of nationalist aspirations and who will blindly serve foreign interests.
DepEd furthers its betrayal with its open support to the institutionalization of the Reserved Officer Training Course in the basic education curriculum. This, despite ROTC’s long history as an institution that perpetrated hazing and riddled with corruption. ROTC’s promise of imparting nationalism to the youth is doubtful, especially with questionable credibility of those who staunchly advocate its return in standing for our sovereign rights outrightly being trampled by China.
The national language lies at the core of developing our being, identity and nationalism. Our consciousness resides in our national language as through it we can express our deepest thoughts and aspirations as a people. Nationalism can be best imparted to the youth by strengthening the teaching of the National Language, Philippine History and Philippine Culture in the curriculum.
While the powers-that-be increasingly departs from their nationalist duties, teachers in all levels and from all disciplines should take on more vigorously the task of using the Filipino language as the medium of instruction. Mentors must take every interface with their students as an opportunity to inject discussions on our history, culture and the national current affairs to inculcate social awareness, critical thinking and a deep sense of nationalism among our youth.
During these times that our national language is being killed, we also must use language to fight for our dignity and sovereignty.