Nasaan ang Kasaysayan sa MAKABAYAN?
Sistema ng edukasyon—ito ang isa sa mga problemang dapat bigyan ng solusyon ng susunod na uupong pangulo ng Pilipinas. Maraming sanga na ang problema nito at isa na rito ang tungkol sa kurikulum—Philippine Basic Education Curriculum.
Problema na maituturing ang kasalukuyang Basic Education Curriculum partikular na ang Makabayan dahil sa ilalim nito, pinagsama-sama ang mga asignaturang Sibika at Kultura, Heograpiya, Kasaysayan at Sibika (HEKASI), Musika, Sining at Edukasyon sa Pagpapalakas ng Katawan (MSEP), Edukasyong Pantahanan at Pangkabuhayan (EPP) at Edukasyon sa Kagandahang-Asal at Wastong Pag-uugali (EKAWP).
Upang mas mabigyan kayo ng ideya tungkol sa usapin na ito, narito ang artikulo na isinulat ni Dr. Maria Serena Diokno ng UP Departamento ng Kasaysayan.
History in basic education
By Dr. Maria Serena Diokno
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:36:00 09/05/2009
(First of two parts)
In many parts of the world, social studies textbooks are hounded by questions regarding content, learning goals and methods—and politics. For example, Japanese textbook writers have long had to grapple with their country’s role in World War II.
A worried Thai parent laments that her daughter “feels Burma is fierce and heartless, Cambodia cannot be trusted, and Laos is inferior to Thailand—because the history textbooks teach her so.” More recently, the government of Israel announced that Israeli textbooks for Arab school children would no longer contain the sentence that says Arabs describe the period of the birth of Israel as al-Nakba (“the catastrophe”). The Jews call it the “Independence War.”
In our own case, Dr. Ambeth Ocampo, a fellow historian and head of the National Historical Institute, asks if there is room in our textbooks for such historical controversies as the execution of Andres Bonifacio.
The debate remains unresolved. Nevertheless, social studies textbooks tend to suffer from what David Tyack calls “terminal blandness.” M. Schudson asks, for example: “Why are history textbooks so controversial when they are, by most accounts, so dull?”
How to be both factually accurate and interesting thus seems to be a monumental challenge that confronts social studies textbooks.
Several conditions in the Philippine public basic educational system inflate the reliance on social studies textbooks: the dearth of school libraries and poor access to other sources of information; uneven academic training of basic education teachers in disciplinal knowledge; and very heavy teaching load.
Prompted by the heightened necessity for excellent textbooks, we decided to focus our review on the public school social studies textbooks and the 2002 curriculum on which the current Department of Education-approved textbooks are based.
This paper proceeds from the historical dictum that “facts, while vitally important, should serve as the beginning of historical instruction, not its conclusion.”
Facts are the indispensable raw material that historians use to interpret the past with respect to such immediate questions as causality, agency and effect; and larger (philosophical) questions of claims to truth, the directionality of human events, notions of time and space, and so on. But even before historians employ facts, they evaluate the sources, both epistemologically (e.g., in terms of new evidence or novel interpretations or perspectives) and methodologically (with regard to the source’s authenticity and, more frequently, the credibility and reliability of the evidence offered).
Why is History taught in school? History serves numerous purposes, from the development of citizens as meaningful members of a larger community with which they identify, to the training of the mind in critical thinking and sound judgment. A good citizen is one who, as our elementary textbooks teach our children, obeys traffic lights. A good citizen, too, is one who is able to weigh options and make decisions, including whom to believe and trust, based not on feelings of loyalty or partisan allegiance but on demonstrable grounds. The practical applications of historical skills abound in everyday life, from writing reports and accepting (or rejecting) them as trustworthy, to tracing household payments over time and tracking prices of goods at the market. Yet History as a subject is not highly valued and is best remembered as the one that requires a good memory.
In basic education, History tends to get confused with Civics. But while Civics focuses on norms and values, History traces what happened in the past. Whereas Civics focuses on government (elements of the state, various political concepts) and citizenship (rights and responsibilities), History has a much broader scope, which is situated temporally rather than exclusively in the present. But in our public schools, History as a subject is taught in only one year at the elementary level (fifth grade), and shares the Makabayan subject (Grades 1 to 3) with Civics and Culture, Geography, Music and the Arts, Health Education, Home Economics, and Good Manners and Proper Conduct. In upper elementary school (Grades 4 to 6), History shares the Hekasi subject with Geography and Civics.
High school Social Studies, in contrast, focuses on History: Philippine History in first year, Asian History in second, and World History in third year. In the final year the subject is Economics. Since most Filipino children do not proceed to high school (many do not even reach Grade 5, where History is first taught), our children grow up and take their place in society with little inkling of our past.
(The above are excerpts from the UP History Department’s Policy Paper on the Social Studies Curriculum and Textbooks. Dr. Maria Serena Diokno is a professor of History at the University of the Philippines Diliman, and project leader of the UP History Department textbooks review team composed of Dr. Mercedes Planta, Ruel Pagunsan, Jely Galang, Kristoffer Esquejo and Ariel Lopez. Not one is a textbook writer or contributor. The team wishes to acknowledge the support of Sephis, a South-South exchange program, and the SEASREP Foundation, its affiliate.)
The twin dangers of any social studies textbook—to stereotype and to mythologize—are present in the elementary school learning materials. Since the civics subjects are not grounded in our history, there is no parameter or safeguard against these dangers. Rather than learn to deploy facts in order to arrive at a reasoned interpretation of our past and our collective identity, our children are taught, simply, to memorize what the textbooks say we Filipinos are.
Overall, with regard to curricular and textbook content, we find that:
1. There is an overwhelming emphasis on civics at the expense of Philippine history.
2. The civic values tend to essentialize the Filipino as stereotype and myth.
3. Lodged in some of these values are biases that run contrary to the avowed curricular goal of teaching Filipino pride, identity and membership in the community, nation and world.
4. Philippine history, where taught, is approached from a limited, at times biased perspective that has the effect of sanitizing our past or presenting an incomplete picture of it.
As for the competencies, we find that:
1. Training in critical and interpretive thinking is inadequate, while knowledge and retention of values and facts are highlighted.
2. Competencies particular to historical thinking, such as gathering information so as to form an opinion as well as the use and analysis of primary sources are not developed.
3. Training in writing is woefully inadequate since the assessment exercises lean toward objective, multiple type tests at the elementary level, and enumeration in first year high school.
In light of these findings, we recommend the following:
1. Apply History as the core subject of Social Studies and incorporate civics, geography and other social science concepts. History applies critical thinking and writing competencies that enable one to exercise citizenship intelligently and meaningfully.
2. Devise history-based content standards and historical competence standards. The current curriculum combines content and competencies in such broad, general statements that it fails to address the demands of each. To give both content and competencies the attention each deserves [we should first] separate content from competencies and work out each in keeping with the accepted standards of the discipline. [We then juxtapose] content and competencies and pinpoint the specific historical competencies to be developed when discussing a historical period or topic.
3. Chart the content and competence standards in the curriculum consistently from first grade to fourth year high school. At present learning competencies at the elementary and secondary levels are formulated separately. Higher year levels cannot build upon the preceding years because of this disjointed approach to curriculum making. We also recommend that learning outcomes be described in terms of standards of achievement in place of the generally affective measures currently in use (e.g., “pride in …,” “value of …,” “recognition of…”).
4. Simplify the textbook review procedure and create a two-tiered review process to weed out textbooks with grave errors and biases, and then to check compliance with content and competence standards.
On the whole the education department’s screening instruments are geared more toward compliance with the prescribed competencies (which we question) and with pedagogical concerns than with content and cognitive competencies. The things that count to us—critical thinking, major errors and biases—count little to education officials.
5. “Open up” the textbook with primary sources. Classroom learning can be strengthened by using excerpts of primary sources to correct inaccurate data in the textbook, provide more information, offer a different point of view or another account of an event.
6. Strengthen the disciplinal content of teacher training while maintaining the importance of pedagogical knowledge. The choice is not one or the other, but that teachers are trained in both.
7. Hold regular discussions among academic historians, Department of Education curriculum specialists, and elementary and high school Social Studies teachers in order to improve the curriculum and set standards. Far from being a single thread of learning, the education pipeline at present suffers from major disjunctions that result in poor preparation for the next level of learning. The conversations about history that we propose can help address these gaps.
Making a case for History in basic education is not just the concern of historians. It ought to be yours, too. Historians do not own the past. We all do. This vast wealth is ours to take, not to devalue or to dismiss as impracticable. To partake of this wealth, we must train our young to question, to think critically and arrive at reasoned conclusions, and not be swayed by misleading premises or false promises, or biases that have no place in any community. The school system is the training ground of our nation’s children and our history makes an excellent teacher.
(The above are excerpts from the UP History Department’s Policy Paper on the Social Studies Curriculum and Textbooks. Dr. Maria Serena Diokno is a professor of History at the University of the Philippines Diliman, and project leader of the UP History Department textbooks review team whose members are Dr. Mercedes Planta, Ruel Pagunsan, Jely Galang, Kristoffer Esquejo and Ariel Lopez. Not one is a textbook writer or contributor. The team wishes to acknowledge the support of Sephis, a South-South exchange program, and the SEASREP Foundation, its affiliate.)