By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Citing “too much indifference and hate” among the country’s youth, San Jose Del Monte City Rep. Florida “Rida” Robes wanted to make Good Manners and Right Conduct (GMRC) or values education a stand-alone subject in both basic and higher education curricula.
She said the seeming lack of decorum by the youth and the worsening mental health crisis in the country should prod Congress to make values education a stand-alone subject not just in elementary and high school, but also in college.
“I particularly will push that we restore by legislation the study of values education as a stand-alone subject in basic and higher educational curricula. There is too much indifference and hate among our youth especially in social media,” she said in a statement Sunday.
“We should again inculcate in them values such as respect for oneself and for others especially our parents and elders, patience, perseverance, courage, industry, honesty, kindness and compassion,” she said.
Citing the World Health Organization (WHO) report, Robes said in the Philippines, the suicide rate per 100,000 population among Filipino males rose from 4.5 to 5.2 percent between 2000 and 2016, and from 1.8 to 2.3 percent among Filipinas.
A survey of Filipino high school students age 13 to 17 years taken in 2015 revealed that 17 percent had attempted suicide in the previous year, with another 12 percent having contemplating suicide.
Robes believes that social disconnection because of smartphones and other gadgets; weakening of genuine relationships with family and friends; and unhealthy lifestyles were among the “risk factors” that fired up the increasing number of depression and suicide cases in the country.
“A sad scenario emerge, wherein our young people are left to fend for themselves the present challenges of life. As a result, they must learn how to cope, although some would lapse into the use of less socially-desirable coping mechanisms that border on aggression, such as bashing in social media and use of abusive language, loss of moral values and discipline, lack of empathy, non-conformism, and loss of respect for adults and authority,” she said.
She said under values-based curriculum, students would learn virtues and emotional resilience that would help them cope with life’s difficulties.
She noted that there are about 3.3 million Filipinos suffering depression.
Robes counts on the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to formulate a general curriculum based on ethics and morals that would help students cope with the growing and changing demands of the times.
“The DepEd and CHED should lead in the formulation and implementation of an ethical orientation program anchored on the process of moral choice with emphasis on the teaching of moral and philosophical values and not just social and cultural values that are necessary for human survival. What we must aim to build a child’s character to help him cope with life’s difficulties and challenges,” she said.
Robes had filed a bill seeking to ban the use of smartphones and other electronic gadgets in all public and private schools by students 15 years old and below.