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Solons urge inclusion of peace efforts, human rights respect in new K-to-10 curriculum

The peace competencies section of the new Kindergarten to Grade 10 (K-10) curriculum for basic education should teach students about the government’s pursuit of different peace processes, respect for human rights, and critical thinking, among others, Makabayan lawmakers said Friday.

House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro, House Assistant Minority Leader Arlene Brosas, and Kabataan party-list lawmaker Raoul Manuel made the call in line with the Department of Education’s (DepEd) launch of the revised Kindergarten to Grade 10 (K-10) curriculum, which now includes “peace competencies.”

“Peace education should include a justice component. Students should be taught about the government's efforts in pursuing a peace process with various sectors to achieve a just and lasting peace,” Castro said in a press conference.

“Because peace should be based on justice and respect for the human rights of our people,” Castro added.

Manuel, for his part, said that peace education should underscore that achieving peace is anchored on good governance and efficient delivery of social services to the people.

“Ideally, peace education should teach students how the government is able to provide efficient services to the people, such as access to education and health services, because access to these makes a conducive environment for peace,” Manuel said.

“Because we won’t have a just and lasting peace if the people are being deprived of basic social services, and only those who sit in high places of power get to gain wealth. Peace does not exist in a vacuum. Peace depends on good governance and good leadership,” Manuel added.

Further, Manuel said peace competencies should not include tagging critics as communist rebels, disinformation, attacking activists, and quashing critical thinking.

“Such a mindset has no place in the education sector,” Manuel said.

Brosas, on the other hand, said peace education should emphasize that respect for human rights, including critical thinking, was key in holding democratic governments accountable and achieving peace, if not prosperity.

“We should be teaching how human rights violations are happening. We should enlighten the students to practice critical thinking and think about how they can improve the situation of our country being a democracy, and what is the government doing to protect our rights,” Brosas said.

“If students are able to understand that, they will be more respectful and kind, and those traits are really what we need right now,” Brosas added.

GMA News Online has sought comment from the Department of Education, but the DepEd had yet to reply as of posting time.

The DepEd officially launched the revised K-10 curriculum on basic education on Thursday.

Among the features of the recalibrated curriculum is the reduction in the number of subjects, with greater emphasis given on the development of Kinder to Grade 3 learners' foundational skills—such as literacy, numeracy, and socio-emotional skills.

Furthermore, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte said that "peace competencies" would also be integrated into the new curriculum to highlight “the promotion of non-violent actions and the development of conflict-resolution skills in learners.” — DVM, GMA Integrated News