Tell it to SunStar: Strengthen Philippine history education

Tell it to SunStar: Strengthen Philippine history education
SunStar Tell it

By Benjo Basas

National Chairperson, Teachers Dignity Coalition

The Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC) welcomes President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s directive to incoming Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Senator Sonny Angara to strengthen the teaching of Philippine history, noting that he has seen his children’s workbooks and there’s very little said about the history of the Philippines.

We consider this a significant step in our advocacy to reinstate Philippine history as a separate subject in the high school curriculum.

The President’s statement highlights two critical issues: the curriculum’s content and the teaching methods.

To avoid the risk of historical revisionism, the curriculum’s content should reflect the consensus of the academic community and the results of research and studies by experts in history. It should be unbiased and include even the darker aspects of our past, such as colonialism, treachery, war, abuses, and dictatorship, Basas added.

The group believes that this approach will help the people understand the importance of freedom, peace, justice, human rights, and the rule of law, while also reminding the youth and citizens not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

The TDC also proposes allocating sufficient funds to provide ample resources, such as printed books and other reading materials in both physical and digital formats, interactive games, audio-visual lessons, and even learning facilities.

Students should have access to good books in a one-to-one ratio. Museums and libraries should be strengthened to the level of local governments, and teachers should receive free and intensive training. We cannot effectively teach history using only outdated sources or temporary modules created during the pandemic, Basas noted.

In 2014, the introduction of the K-12 system led to the removal of Philippine history as a dedicated subject from the Grade 7 curriculum. We lament that DepEd’s decision to abolish the teaching of Philippine history disregards the Filipino people’s struggle for freedom, justice, and equality, suggesting that these values are neither significant nor worth remembering.

This is one of the concerns we want to discuss with the incoming Secretary. The good thing here is that this is an issue that the DepEd can decide on and does not require legislation. This is included in the 10 urgent matters presented to Angara through a letter of request for dialogue.

We have long been advocating for the strengthening of the teaching of Philippine History at all levels, including its designation as a standalone subject in junior and senior high school. We hope that this will be realized under Angara’s leadership.


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