"I am an instrument in the shape
of a WOMAN trying to translate pulsations
into images
for the relief of the body
and the reconstruction of the mind."

written by Adrienne Cecile Rich

Monday, June 04, 2007

education crisis deepens

nope, i'm not making it up. it was the headline of today's inquirer (read it here). what shocked me the most at this point is why only now?

this issue has been debated upon for decades. our educational system is rusting like iron left out in the monsoon rains, and our government has done only a few pathetic paint jobs to cover it up.

this educational system is already identified in its critical stage. why do we name it as critical only now, when 99.4% of grade six children tested were said to be unfit for high school education? isn't 50% alarming enough for our educators, legislators, and officials?

the problem: lack of classrooms, lack of teachers, lack of books, lack of good training and specialization of teachers, lack of budget, lack of materials. and what do we have so much of? corruption, red tape, and politicking.

every june since kopong-kopong, i could remember tv news hovering inside cramped classrooms and telling the world the crisis that befalls our elementary school kids. i could even remember maalala mo kaya stories about children walking so many kilometers barefoot because they live far from the schoolhouse just to get an education.

what disheartens me the most is that these little kids have no voices of their own. yes, we in UP rally for low tuition fees, or maybe even free education, when basic education has not even been met in the most rural (or not even as far-flung as that) areas. before we rally for higher education, should we not first mind the little kids and their basic social right to education?

i'm not totally for UP's budget cut, but if the cut goes to giving these children the basic education they need (for minimal fees or none at all), then i guess let's give it a try.

but this is not the case. every year UP's budget gets cut by millions, yet the education crisis in basic education still remains in stagnant waters.

the problem is also not just about low proficiency in english, but low proficiency in all three majors: english, math, and science. so debating about the medium of instruction should not be at the forefront of our educator's minds. what should be their concern is that, are the children getting the right skills they need to learn english, math, and science?

my mother is a college english teacher. she gets so stressed seeing at how her students passed highschool english with the grammar they have in their essays (yeah, and even i get stressed when i lecture at an upcat review and the highschool students whom i teach have bad english, and they're about to enter college). she believes that what we should teach now is functional literacy, that we learn the literacy skills for application. i know this is hell for someone believing in a well-rounded education like me, but learning for application is not new anymore (look at technical-vocational schools), and it could at least bridge the education crisis gap.

also, learning for application does not simply mean you can't learn theory; since you already know its application and would like to pursue further studies, you have at least some backbone on it (it can also be the other way around). and in a world where an education is necessary for employment, learning for application is shoved into a priority for many developing countries.

i remember telling a friend that i'm an advocate of media for education and teaching. we should reach children where teachers and schoolhouses can't. but it's not really as simple as that. our media today is saturated with entertainment (heck, even our news is entertainment). this is not discounting sineskwela and other educational programs that have been produced then. but these media have to be updated regularly; it must also be made sure that they reach the audience they were produced for.

every politician when running for office promises education for all. it's a good promise, hell, i think it's the best promise for the youth, but none as yet has delivered this promise. i think so many can agree that our government, save for a few, is full of incompetent slobs. another election has come and gone, and no future is more bleaker for our students than now.


  • At 6/05/2007 11:17 AM, Blogger tina mused…

    we can only hope for the best.. and maybe do things in our own little ways na lng. we can't just depend on those corrupted politicians to do the job. although meron talagang sincere.. pero majority? hayy..

  • At 6/05/2007 1:12 PM, Anonymous pam mused…

    only in the philippines ang mga kaganapang yan. haaaaaaaay. >.<


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