Monday, June 28, 2010

Educating Juan de la Cruz

There has been a lot of issues going around regarding the educational system in the Philippines.

There has been a lot of debate - pros and cons - on adding a few more years to schooling in the country. Those against it believe that it is not the number of years added but the number of hours delegated to each student that counts more. The reality is that in the public school system, there are more students now than there were 10 years ago. And the number of classrooms is not proportional to the number of students. Public schools usually have 3-4 classroom shifts. Which means that one classroom of 60 students is 6-11am, 11am-4pm, 4pm-9pm! Definitely, there is not enough room and not enough time to educate our children. Given the current scenario, what can we do to improve on this problem?

I guess we need to look beyond personal interests. The argument that the quality of education and the quantity of education are not equal to each other are not similar is noted. But because tipping the balance is a difficult act to make, we cannot simply ignore the fact that we are sacrificing the quality of education of our students just because the parents are arguing over vacations that are being deprived of our children, over students spending too much time in school and feel that they must finish high school or middle school before the age of 15 or 16 so that they can start college and work by the age of 20 or 21 and become contributors to the income in the homes, over having to spend a little more money for additional years in middle school (but in reality do not mind spending for vacation trips during the summers or spending for gadgets and appliances), and the list of excuses just goes on and on and on...

We can squabble all we like on this, but if you look at where most of the Pinoys are, the majority don't seem to be competitive in terms of marketability for jobs for the rest of the world. While we laud Pepe and Pilar on jobs in the Middle East or west of Timbuktu, the greater majority are menial labor. The stars or heroes we have, are, well let's say - out of pure talent and luck. Which leaves me in complete bewilderment on the arguments of some media dumbbells on the real issue of the RIGHT education of Juan de la Cruz.

Unmistakably though is the clear distinction between public and private education - in any part of the world.

Then there are the students who seem to waste their time in the malls, internet shops, Starbucks, billiard halls, movie houses, motels or any other place as they think of ways of cutting classes.

This is where DepEd order 86 series of 2010 comes into the picture. This administrative order instructs malls and internet shop owners not to allow students to enter or loiter during school hours to keep them from being absent in school. I completely agree. As to how the Department of Education intends to implement this is mind-boggling to me. I wonder if the security guards in the malls will accost the students at the entrance or how they will be able to discern those students wearing school uniforms vs the ones who have changed costumes just to be able to access the malls.

While I find the DepEd order laudable, I am wary that this is a microscopic view of the student's savvy ability to skip classes. Banning students from these areas of recreation is the tip of the iceberg. In the Philippines, all the noontime game shows have students in various uniforms and from even the most far flung areas of the provinces as GUESTS and CONTESTANTS in various games of different cerebral proportion. Complete with props - THE TEACHERS and even principal! I think the DepEd looks the other way when it comes to students having to cut classes because of programs like these dressed under the guise of "educational tours" peeves me beyond proportion.

Ban the students from these shows and you will have the patients screaming in arms against the DepEd. After all, they are money making sources for their children.

With these issues in mind, there needs to be a real alignment on what we believe is the right road to take with respect to the educational system of this country for our students. We need to look at the bigger picture and find the right solutions to truancy problems. This is the challenge the political system has in educating Juan de la Cruz.

If we do not address this today, we create more Jejemons for our future!

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