MANILA, Philippines – As Congress makes moves to overhaul the Constitution, a lawmaker has a filed a bill proposing to include the study of the charter in the education curriculum.
House Bill No. 6554, or the Constitutional Educational Bill, will cover the Grade 12 senior high school curricula of all public and private educational institutions.
“In this time when many are talking about charter change and shifting the form of government, we need to ensure that our citizens—especially the youth who will eventually inherit the reins of leadership in this country—are given the opportunity to appreciate and understand our current Constitution,” Dinagat Island Representative Arlene “Kaka” J. Bag-ao, the bill’s author, said.
The 1987 Constitution, according to Bag-ao, a human rights lawyer, is “a product of our struggle to reclaim and revive democracy after a dark time under a dictatorship.”
In the explanatory note of the bill, Bag-ao says that “in this crucial stage in basic education, young Filipinos will be empowered with the knowledge of our Constitution, whether they enter the workforce or enroll in college afterwards.”
She said that Grade 12 students “would be mature enough to be able to comprehend concepts concerning the law and society, but they would still be youthful enough to be infused with the idealism necessary for truly embracing their role as stakeholders of this country’s future.”
The Department of Education (DepEd), with the assistance of concerned government agencies and constitutional commissions and experts on the Constitution from the academe, shall be tasked to develop the Constitutional Education course for the Grade 12 curriculum. The course shall also be constructed in accordance with the standards and principles in developing the enhanced basic education curriculum as stated in Republic Act No. 10533 or the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013.
According to the bill, the Constitutional Education course for Grade 12 students shall have the following objectives:
- Raise their level of awareness and understanding of the history and provisions of the 1987 Constitution;
- Develop their appreciation and exercise of democratic values, such as transparency, accountability, and respect for human rights and dignity;
- Foster their understanding and practice of active citizenship and people’s participation in government processes; and
- Equip them with the knowledge of the Constitution that they can use in their analysis and involvement in public issues.
Once implemented, the Constitutional Education course in the Grade 12 curriculum will cover the following topics:
- History and Overview of the 1987 Constitution
- Nationalism and Sovereignty
- State Principles and Policies
- Government Institutions and Processes
- Rights and Duties of Citizens
- Democratic Values, Social Justice, and Human Rights
- Active Citizenship and People’s Participation in Governance
- Education, Science & Technology, Arts, Culture, and Sports
- Current Issues (i.e. proposals for charter change)