Return of GMRC hailed: ‘timely’ for kids raised in tech-driven world
The Department of Education (DepEd) said on Friday it welcomed the enactment of the law restoring good manners and right conduct (GMRC) as a school subject, after it was removed seven years ago from the basic curriculum.
“We value the vital role [Republic Act No. ] 11476 will play in strengthening our youth’s decision-making skills, attitude and behaviors, especially in these critical times,” the DepEd said in a statement.
It added that with the new law, “and our nation’s aspiration to guide our youth to the right path,” it was looking forward to “raising more Filipinos who are ‘maka-Diyos, makatao, makakalikasan at makabansa,’” quoting the Philippine patriotic oath.
The principal author of the measure, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, said President Duterte signed RA 11476, or the GMRC and Values Education Act, into law on Thursday.
Zubiri recalled that in drafting the bill, he noted the importance of GMRC in giving children stronger moral codes that they would need to navigate the increasingly technology-driven world.
“We didn’t anticipate that the world would basically grind to a halt, and all our interactions would move online,” he said, referring to the community quarantine prompted by the coronavirus pandemic. “So the passage of this act is quite timely, and I hope it serves our students well.”
Back as separate subject
When the K-to-12 program was implemented in 2013, GMRC was removed as a regular subject and integrated with other subjects, such as the Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao and Araling Panlipunan.
According to the DepEd, lessons on GMRC and Values Education are being taught in Grades 1-3 as a separate subject, and as an integrated component in other subjects in Grades 4-12.
But under the new law, GMRC will be taught as a separate subject from Grades 1 to 6.
The new law will also integrate GMRC into school activities at the kindergarten level. Grades 7 to 10 will have Values Education as a subject, where GMRC will also be taught. Values Education will be integrated into all subjects under the K-to-12 curriculum for Grades 11 and 12.
But Education Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio said the DepEd would first have to examine the specific concepts of the GMRC law alongside existing learning competencies.
“Considering that learning resources for the first quarter are almost finished, we may be able to adjust what will be covered in the succeeding grading periods to accommodate newly mandated concepts under the GMRC law,” he said.
Zubiri thanked the President for signing the measure into law and said he hoped the DepEd could come up with the implementing rules and regulations before classes resume in August.
He said the GMRC subject was even more important to provide students formative guidance now that many of them would be learning from home instead of in a classroom environment.
“Kids are going to be at home all day, learning in isolation from their peers. They’re not going to have the natural avenues for empathetic learning that springs from face-to-face interaction with their peers and with their teachers. Hopefully, a strengthened GMRC and Values Education program will make up for that,” the senator said in a statement.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian also praised the President for signing the measure and said it was crucial that students receive proper guidance while exposed to social media and other distractions.
Gatchalian, chair of the Senate committee on basic education, said the law would also address teachers’ lack of expertise in teaching Values Education.
He said 70 percent to 90 percent of teachers handling the subject were not actually certified to teach it.
The law will give preference to teachers with certification, diploma, and training on Values Education and allied disciplines, Gatchalian said. —Mariejo S. Ramos and Leila B. Salaverria