Thursday, December 29, 2011

Go Scouting

Today, the DePaz Kids, Yanni, Kiara and Kiff, are wearing their Thai Scout Uniform in all their smartness and snappiness. I've always admired the Thai educational system for how they made Scouting an integral part of their Curriculum. I'm just so saddened by the fact that Scouting is hardly emphasized in the Philippine Curriculum. I remember I pay an annual fee for my son Caspian's scouting (although this was not compulsory for all the students) because I've always believed in the benefits my son would be getting if he were an Active Scout. And yet, every year the only time I seem to see him use his scout uniform was when there was Camping in their school or in one of the District's school, and thereafter Scouting activity is nil till the end of the school year. I don't know whom to blame for this complacency towards Scouting - my son's school, the Department of Education, the Boy Scout organization in the Philippines - but I so do wish that Scouting would be revived and re-emphasized more in Philippine education for the great benefits it can give to our students, our communities and our nation. If only our Educators can see what the Thai Scouts have enjoyed and learned, then perhaps they can rethink about what values we are missing to teach our children if we are neglecting this very profitable endeavor.

Here's a table of comparison to see how Philippine Scouting can be improved from the example of the Thai Scouts.

A. Founding

Scouting began in 1907 in Great Britain when Robert Baden-Powell led the first Scout Camping on the Brownsea Island, in England. Thereafter, many of the British Commonwealth countries organized their own Scout organizations. King Rama VI (King Vajiravudh) who was getting his education in England around this time learned about the Scout movement and brought back the idea and introduced Scouting to Thailand on July 1st 1911. Thailand became the third country outside of the British Commonwealth to take up Scouting. Thailand is also honored to being one of the Founding Members of the World Organization of Scouting in 1922.

Scouting history of the Philippines can be traced back to the American occupation of the islands. Since Scouting was founded in February 1910 in the USA, some American expats like Navy Lieutenant Sherman Kiser must have been introducing it to Filipino boys during that time. The first documented Scout troop however was formed in 1914 in Zamboanga and many other troops were organized by American missionaries and servicemen thereafter. Most of these were probably registered under the Boy Scouts of America in New York. The Boy Scouts of the Philippines was formally established by virtue of the Commonwealth Act 111 in 1936 which was signed by then President Manuel L. Quezon.

B. As Part of the Educational Curriculum

Scouting is an important part of the School Curriculum in Thailand and receives strong support from the Thai government and its people. This fact is very visible every Thursday of the School year when all the students wear their Scout uniform, from the
Youngest to the Older (Teacher) Scouts. Some schools in Thailand hold their Scout activities in different days but the activities are much the same. After the Morning assembly, there is Inspection and then followed by practical activities towards earning proficiency badges like knotting, cooking, games and sports and singing. Because Scouting is part of the school curriculum, the students have to sit an exam at the end of each term. They do take Scouting seriously.

Scouting, though widely encouraged in most Philippine schools and adapted in many school programs, is still just an option or an elective to most Filipino students. In some occasions, only a handful of students wear the Scout uniform on a given week day. Camping is probably the only time you’ll see a mass of students wearing their Scout uniforms. As far as I can remember, when scouts do meet on the week day it is only for a period of 50 minutes or so. All merit earnings are done during Camping or jamborees which I said earlier happens only once or if we’re lucky, twice a year. I don’t remember my son telling me that they have a test or exam for scouting, do you? Scouting as far as my son is concerned is just like a social activity where he can meet scouts from other schools or if we’re lucky again, from other nations.

C. Scout Law
A Thai Scout's honour is to be trusted.
* A Thai Scout is loyal to his Nation, his Religion, his King and is faithful to his benefactors.
* A Scout's duty is to be useful and to help others.
* A Scout is a friend to all, and a brother to every other Scout in the world.
* A Scout is courteous.
* A Scout is kind to animals.
* A Scout respectfully obeys the orders of his parents and his superiors.
* A scout is very cheerful and is not afraid of troubles.
* A scout is thrifty.
* A Scout is clean in thought, word and deed.

A Filipino Scout is:

    * Trustworthy
    * Loyal
    * Helpful
    * Friendly
    * Courteous
    * Kind
    * Obedient
    * Cheerful
    * Thrifty
    * Brave
    * Clean
    * Reverent

D. Scout Oath/ Promise
On my honour I promise that I will be loyal to the Nation, the Religion and the King; help other people at all times; and obey the Scout Law.

    On My Honor
    I will do my best;
    to do my duty to God and my country,
    the Republic of the Philippines
    and to obey the Scout Law;
    to help other people at all times
    to keep my self physically strong,
    mentally awake and morally straight.

E. Scout Motto

Better to die than lie.

Kabs- Learn to earn

Young Scouts- Earn to live

Senior Scouts- Live to serve

F. Registry
According to latest registry, the Philippines rank fourth among other nations with a membership of 2,150,000 while Thailand ranks fifth with only 1,300,000 in membership. How accurate or true this statistic is I’m not sure but if we base only in observation then I would have thought the numbers were vice versa. How I wish it was true though so that we can see more socially responsible, morally upright and patriotic Filipino students.


  1. These are interesting views that you've raised. I find them very informative and thought-provoking since you've also shown a detailed comparison with the Philippine and Thai scouting system. Great post! I should thank Nestor De Paz for sharing your site's URL. ;-) ~SittieCates

  2. Thanks, SittieCates! I hope other concerned Philippine Scouts will take heed and take serious steps in making our Scouting system work.