Villanueva wants GMRC as part of K to 12 curriculum

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Joel Villanueva on Tuesday, October 29, pushed for bringing back good conduct and right manners (GMRC) classes, incporporating a more comprehensive program under the K-12 curriculum.

Villanueva said at the Senate commitee on basic education hearing the Department of Education's Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao (ESP) or values education program in the K-12 curriculum lacks the necessary activities that would deepen what were taught in classes.

"There is a clamor for the revival of [GMRC] in the curriculum, and this clamor is indeed proper, given realities that we observe in our manner of conducting the affairs of the various aspects of our daily lives as Filipinos," said Villanueva, who authored Senate Bill 860 or the Comprehensive Values Education Bill.

Villanueva said character building activities are "necessary" to give "actual opportunities to practice, experience, test, and deepen whatever is taught and caught in the other aspects of learning."

He said these could be in the form of immersions, exposures, outreach programs, and community service activities.

At the hearing, education officials expressed support for the proposal, as elementary students go through only 30 minutes of values education classes per day under ESP.

In a media interview, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who chairs the committee on basic education, said the proposed GMRC classes must be adapted for the "Generation Z" students – or those who were born from mid-1990s onwards.

"It will definitely be different from the GMRC before because, right now, we have technology. This is going to be a 21st century values education. We have to adapt values education to how the next generation is absorbing it, so we have to take into account also this kind of nuances," Gatchalian said.

He also said the law would also require the teachers, particularly in the elementary level, to have expertise on values formation. He said this class should not simply be on top of teachers' other assignments, which is the current reality in schools. –

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.