While there is no surprise to a study by the Far Eastern University Public Policy Center that found a need for critical thinking given the large amounts of information Filipinos encounter every day, it is worth nothing that the same study urged the country’s Araling Panlipunan curriculum to focus less on rote memorization and more on developing critical thinking among students.
Justin Muyot, author of “Discernment of truths and the democratization of the internet,” and a technical consultant with the FEU, said the ease of creating and publishing content on the internet resulted in a massive increase in data available to the public.
The rise of user-generated content, some of which severely lack the necessary data to back up its claims or use data but draw the wrong conclusions, has led to a period of disinformation where critical thinking becomes all the more necessary.
The research adds that the subject Araling Panlipunan relies heavily on rote memorization even though the Department of Education has deemed investigation, research, communication and adherence to ethical standards as crucial to the fulfillment of the subject’s goals.
The researchers said that at present it seems the public is drowning in information, and yet, the quality of the content we encounter is not the same. Muyot cited YouTube videos that use historical information but draw either wrong or exaggerated conclusions.
Given the poor quality of information, Muyot asserts that critical thinking is crucial for being able to sift through the vast amounts of information we process.
How that critical skill is developed so young Filipinos are not duped by inaccurate, exaggerated or outright wrong information and analyses is the big question. If the nation is fortunate, the next head of the Department of Education will prioritize the development of critical thinking among Filipino learners so our nation can learn from its lessons of the past to chart a better course for their future.*