Lately, a favorite topic in public discussions is the proposal to revive the teaching of good manners and right conduct (GMRC) as a full school subject and for it to be added to the curriculum of the K-12 program.
For the youngsters who most likely do not know, the GMRC is a school subject that teaches kids about the importance of having basic morals, values, qualities and ethics.
In the past — and this includes my generation — the GMRC was taught in schools and students are not only graded for it. There is also a certain award or medal that is given for anyone who excels in the subject and shows perfect application via behaviour in school.
Recently, we only hear of the term ‘GMRC’ in admonitions or criticisms about one’s upbringing. When someone shows ill behaviour and is chided for it, we usually hear the words, ‘maybe he was absent when GMRC was being taught in school.’
In my opinion, bringing back GMRC as part of every student’s learning process in this day and age is necessary and long overdue.
I’m sure many would share my observation on wide-ranging occasions where one could only sigh at the lack of GMRC on the part of today’s youth.
In public transportation units and other public places including Churches, you will see millennials — boys at that— sitting comfortably and pretending to be either asleep or checking on their cellphones while a pregnant woman, a mother with a baby, a handicapped or an elderly stands right in front of him or her during the entire trip or event.
These days too, you see milennials taking pictures of their food before eating instead of saying grace. The words ‘po’ and ‘opo’, the blessing of the hands of the elderly and saying ‘please’, ‘excuse me’ and ‘thank you’ have become like gems. They are that rare already when during the olden days, they were basic good manners.
The level of discipline and respectful behavior among children and teens of today is unquestionably at an all-time low.
Notice that even in restaurants, you see a table with family members who do not even talk, since they are all preoccupied with their gadgets. Youngsters these days no longer respect food and what we call as ‘hapag-kainan’ and treat eating as a sideline while they are on their cellphones.
I read somewhere that most of the generation of today are on the internet for as long as ten hours a day.
Given this situation, I hope that the GMRC, should it be really revived, be taught with the kind of approach that would make it compatible to the prevailing lifestyle which revolves around technology.
There is no doubt though, that there is a current urgent need to institutionalize the GMRC as a subject in both elementary and high schools and yes, maybe even all the way up to college.
Senator Joel Villanueva, who filed Senate Bill 860 or the proposed Comprehensive Values Education Act, mentioned in a hearing: ‘We can’t discount the fact that Values Education or Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao (ESP) is already included in the Department of Education curriculum, yet 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 affairs in various aspects of our daily lives as Filipinos.’
The problem with ESP is that it is reportedly being taught in public schools for only 30 minutes. This is certainly not enough.
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