De Lima wants human-rights principle to become basic school subject
Senator Leila de Lima wants schools to teach basic human-rights principles to students in the basic and higher education levels.
“In a time when human rights are violated on a daily basis, it is but the State’s responsibility to protect every citizen against human-rights abuse both by state and non-state actors,” De Lima said in a statement on Wednesday.
The senator filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 1497 that standardizes human rights as a separate and specialized subject for students in elementary, high school, and college levels.
De Lima cited a study by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR)-United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that recommended adding human rights as a separate subject in academic institutions.
The senator pointed out that Human Rights Education (HRE) has been encouraged by many international human-rights instruments that are accredited by the Philippines.
De Lima gave examples such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights.
“This measure adopts the recommendation of the CHR-UNDP study to deepen HRE by institutionalizing human rights as a separate and specialized subject in both basic and higher education,” said the senator.
“Even with the K to 12 Program now in place, HRE is still merely incorporated in various existing subjects from Grades 1-12,” she added.
SB No. 1497 defines HRE as “as training, dissemination and information efforts aimed at building of a universal culture of human rights through the imparting of knowledge and skills and the molding of attitudes.”
The bill requires the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education to create their respective curricula and the course program for human rights studies.
The former CHR chairperson said that the “implementation of an HRE curriculum in schools is important to enforce the Philippine government’s commitment to uphold the human-rights treaties.”
“It is important to note that the Philippines was among the signatories to the World Programme for Human Rights Education of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, which is focused on integrating human rights education in the primary and secondary school systems,” De Lima added.
The human-rights curriculum, as stated in the bill, will focus on personal values, attitudes and behaviors that promote personal responsibility for respecting, upholding and protecting human rights, among others. Airei Kim Guanga/JPV
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