The Department of Education (DepEd) on Wednesday, Oct. 27, expressed full support to the United Nations’ (UN) Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech.
Guided by international and national frameworks and policies on equality, DepEd said that it recognizes the important role of education in addressing and building resilience against hate speech, which can cause grave implications to people, groups, or even nations.
“Hate speech and discrimination – on the basis of gender, ethnicity, religious affiliation and age – must have no place in our homes, in our classrooms, and most importantly, in our democratic society,” DepEd said in a statement.
In a high-level UNESCO Global Education Ministers Conference attended by various dignitaries and education ministers around the world on Oct. 26, Education Secretary Leonor Briones reiterated key programs of DepEd in cultivating civil, dignified, and respectful communication in any form.
In support of the UN Strategy, Briones highlighted the DepEd’s implementation of the strengthened Good Manners and Right Conduct (GMRC) and Values Education curriculum in the basic education system.
“Moreover, as proven by the experiences shared by our neighboring countries, the Secretary underscored the importance of GMRC for all learners, especially from Kinder to Grade 3,” DepEd said.
Briones also mentioned the agency’s implementation of Anti-Bullying and Child Protection policies in schools to combat misinformation and disinformation.
“These institutionalized efforts were designed and stringently implemented to protect and educate all Filipino learners from the challenges posed by the current communication landscape,” DepEd said.
DepEd noted that in this age of social media and the 24-hour news cycle when conflicting information, fake news and misrepresentations proliferate, “critical thinking is a quintessential skill that must be encouraged and fostered by all sectors of our society.”
Given this, DepEd said that it should not stand alone in the fight against violence, hate speech and discrimination.
“Thus, we call on our teachers, personnel, parents, learners, and partners to help us maintain civility and decency, virtually and offline,” DepEd said.
“Let us always promote love, respect, understanding, and equality, despite our differences,” it added.