Values in Curriculum
NOTE: “Leadership Reflections” shares views of the different members of the University Leadership Council on matters related to campus life and the operations of the University. As well, it features opinions on issues of national and/or international relevance.
Values in the Curriculum
By Dr. Maria Cecilia M. Genove, Dean, College of Mass Communication
If there is anything that the Filipino people can truly be proud of, despite the many problems confronting the country, it is the fact that we uphold time-tested values that have helped shape the character of our nation and her people. As a country colonized by powerful states, among them Spain in particular, values intrinsic among the Spaniards have somehow been ingrained in the Filipino psyche, handed down from each generation and lived by them as part and parcel of their daily struggles.
One of these values, and perhaps the most important and significant, is reverence to God. Christianity is the greatest value that the Spaniards have bestowed on the Filipinos, making the Philippines the only Christian nation in the Far East. When Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese, landed in Limasawa, Cebu, the big cross that he planted on the ground became a bulwark of Christianity in this part of the world.
To this day, Catholicism as a faith has been ingrained among Filipinos. The multitude of people who enter our churches and hear Catholic masses cannot be underestimated. In the book, Valuing my Spirituality by Rojas, Sabado, Bilo, and Cabato, it was discussed that our strong faith in God has sustained us in difficult times. This can be gleaned from the strength and courage of the Filipino people as we grapple disasters and calamities through the years.
This must also be one primary reason why the Reproductive Health Bill is experiencing a long and heated discussion in the House of Representatives. It is the Catholic Church and the faithful that are vehemently contesting the passage of the bill into law. Catholics adhere to the teachings of the Church and what is written in the Bible, which is to value life and uphold the rights and welfare even of the unborn child. On the other hand, what is espoused by many is responsible parenthood which should likewise be the essence of couples as they plan their families. It is this complete veneration and surrender to God that has kept the Filipino people strong and resilient despite many trials and problems. There is a truth to this as we see people smiling as they wade in floodwaters or buy food for their families despite a meager income. If a people is not backed by a strong faith in God, they would not be able to withstand such trials and problems.
Another important value that was handed down to us by the Spaniards is putting premium on strong family ties. Elizabeth Marquez in the book, My Country and my People, expounded on how family can give strong support, especially when all else have failed and there is no one to give credence to what you have done. This is truly a value that is not evident in many countries, most especially highly industrialized ones like Japan and the United States where people hardly have time to even interact with family members.
The incidence of suicide among executives in Japan can attest to this. Despite the success and big fortune they are enjoying, somehow there is something missing in the Japanese lifestyle. At the end of an extremely busy and stressful day, is there someone they can talk to and share their concerns with? Do they have someone who can listen to their woes and travails? Thus, without a comforting presence of a loved one, many Japanese resort to extreme solutions when they feel depressed even if they have money to spend and despite the high positions they have in their offices. Such is the need of a human being and it is human nature that dictates for us to crave for a sense of belongingness.
Many people credit our strong family ties that have seen us through. We have seen such importance given to the family when someone is interviewed on television in the aftermath of a disaster who would say that they are thankful that everyone is intact even if they have lost their properties and other material things. The value of family is manifested in the droves of people who go to church together, pray together, shop together, share a meal together, have fun together, and even cry together. As Zaide and Zaide said, themselves father and daughter, no problem is too great if you have a strong support system coming from your family.
The third important value that we have inherited from the Spaniards is the so-called “Maria Clara” stance among our women. Maria Clara during the Spanish era was the epitome of grace and propriety, thus, she was regarded as a good example for young girls to emulate. Women are supposed to conduct themselves well and in accordance to Filipino ways and tradition. During the Spanish era, it was uncalled for, for women to dress inappropriately in public or to shout at the top of their voices when talking to people. Women were not even supposed to talk to men very easily, much more kept a distance in the presence of men.
This value should not be allowed to change even with the passage of time. The activists may not agree with this, especially with women empowerment today and gender equality being promoted. However, this value does not diminish women in any way. Women can still pursue careers and be financially independent. It is in the way and manner they carry themselves that women should be cognizant about their stature in society. This is certainly not what some people may call a double standard of morality, but simply just following the norms of good taste and ethical manners. Women may be successful and empowered, but if their manner smacks of impropriety, they will not gain respect from people.
Being partners and equal to men, women should still be able to maintain dignity and self-respect. If there is anything that would make a woman attractive, it is her good breeding which, again, will redound to her having imbibed this through her strong family ties and good background. In fact, all these three highly important values aforementioned are intertwined because they shape the character and individuality of the person. Nothing will go wrong if you adhere to propriety. Tradition should not be relegated to oblivion; rather, it should be upheld as it might be the only remaining bastion of what we have gained from the Spanish era.
In conclusion, the three values of reverence to God, upholding strong family ties, and adhering to tradition like Maria Clara should continue to be emphasized in the curriculum. These have to be taught early in a child’s life, possibly starting at home. If a child has a strong foundation, then the school can follow suit and become partners with parents in the education of the child. Values are truly important because they hold us together as a nation and as a people.