Estrada wants study of Constitution in secondary school curriculum

(CNN) Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 8) — A lawmaker has filed a bill seeking to include the study of the Constitution in the secondary school curriculum to increase Filipinos’ awareness of their rights and responsibilities, and instill a “nationalist” mindset.

Senate Bill 1443 was filed by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada in November 2022 and was shared to media on Sunday.

In his explanatory note, Estrada said the bill aims to develop a Constitutional Education Course for junior and senior high school students in all public and private schools.

“The development of technical-based skills in learners with the prioritization on the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) must be strengthened alongside the fundamentals of nationalism and patriotism which will be engrained in the inclusion of Constitution in the curriculum for secondary levels. A nationalist mindset must be instilled in Filipino learners who will contribute to a strong Philippine economy, grounded in their commitment to the nation,” he said.

Based on the Department of Education’s (DepEd) curriculum guidelines for grades 1 to 10, the study of the Philippine Constitution is only integrated in topics tackled under Araling Panlipunan (Social Studies). 

In 2018, the Supreme Court upheld a decision about the Commission on Higher Education’s Memorandum Order No. 20, series of 2013, which excluded the study of the Constitution as a core subject.

In a statement then, CHED Chairperson Prospero de Vera said, “The study of Filipino, Panitikan and the Constitution are actually found in the basic education curriculum from Grades 1 to 10 and Senior High School pursuant to the K-12 Law. The changes in the GE curriculum were implemented to ensure that there would be no duplication of subjects in Grades 1 to 10, Senior High School and College.”

There have been previous attempts to include the separate study of the Constitution in the secondary level curriculum, particularly in Grade 12.

In 2019, House Bill No. 5522 was filed by Rep. Lorenz Defensor and Rep. Michael Defensor who said, “the study of the Constitution will prepare the youth to become effective and responsible citizens.”

In 2017, then Rep. Kaka Bag-ao filed House Bill 6554 also seeking to include the study of the Constitution in the Grade 12 curriculum in all schools nationwide, while also providing for the continuous training of teachers so they may ably teach the topic.