Education is a treasure which thieves cannot break in or steal. However, how can this still be considered as a treasure, if the investment made will just fall into the pit of nothingness?
This is shared from the heart of a young leader who stepped into the arena of education. Listen
to the heart of a young generation who cries for change and for the betterment of things in our country. As the leadership guru. John Maxwell, said, “Everything rises and falls on leadership,” so is how it turns out for the education system of our beloved country. Nevertheless, there is always hope in the unity of pursuit of those who have the heart.
In the present realities of our country, where students had become more diverse in terms of their learning styles and preferences – where we are in the generation of technology which truly influence the learners, where most young people are out-of-school youth, where there are people living in the outskirts of town who still do not experience quality education, where pupils and students endure hours of sitting on the floor while listening to the teacher, where learners are never given the opportunity to read or even just hold books, where most people developed the attitude of disregarding the importance of patronizing our country’s creations, where there is an evolving deficiency in the quality of teaching and learning in the institutions – these are just some of the sad truths that reveal a pressing need to evaluate and look into the tantamount issues and concerns which affected the education system. Hence, these concerns need to be addressed with the goal for transformation. The country should break the bondage of apathy for the situations which pertain to the Philippine Education System, because this is one of the factors which greatly influence the society. Our total being seems to be corrupted, and this has been passed on from one generation to another.
The Filipinos need to take cognizance about what is the in-depth sense of Education. As we look into the 1987 Constitution, it reveals a promising statement for the learners who aspire to experience what it is to have quality education. The constitution promises to …protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels, and… take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all… (1987 Philippine Constitution, Article XIV). What a truly empowering vow for everyone. This constitution also marked a reoccurring stop to the belief system developed by the Filipinos during Spanish colonization that education is not a right, but mostly a privilege for those who can afford.
In addition, the Right to education is also an enabling right, as opined by the Right to Education Project (2008). It added that education ― creates the “voice” through which rights can be claimed and protected‟, and without education people lack the capacity to achieve valuable functioning as part of the living.” These are just some of the politically manifested articles which aim to empower the Filipinos about the Right of everyone to have a full grip to education.
There had been finely tuned discussions and analysis on how each Filipino, young or old, rich or poor, can functionally take part in the realizations of this Right to Education which was created even long ago. This right to education vis a vis the quality to education has been fantasized off not just by the national government, but by every child who wakes up in the morning and who travels 2-3 hours just to reach the school even without eating breakfast.
Consequently, the life in the Philippines is not an Enchanted Kingdom, wherein at the snap of the finger or at the squirming of the wand, these promises can immediately be granted to every individual. There may be people who had been working so hard just to lead the country into experiencing a better education system, but we can never go away with challenges and issues that entangle the whole system from realizing its vision and mission as an education institution.
Remarkably, these issues have caused to a deeper urge for a Philippine Education Reform Agenda, and these discussions just furthered into debates. As the previous situations in the education system of the country revealed so much about unreconciled and inconsistent plans for implementation of some programs, the discontinuity of once ignited application of innovations and development, it is truly significant to look into the factors which lead into these situations and try to assess some ways which could help address the issues more responsibly and effectively.
The pressing issues in the Philippine Education System as stated in the article on Issues and Concerns of Philippine Education through the years (Durban, Catalan 2012) are the following: there had been a gradually diminished spark of burning Filipino nationalism, the globalization of education, the role of education in national development, the curriculum that is not responsive to the basic needs of the country, the constant implementation of programs in education which are not properly monitored, the educational system which does not receive much budget from the government, and the too much politics in education.
One of the concerns is the gradual diminished spark in Filipino nationalism. We cannot necessarily just blame our ancestors for they just did not have so much power before to go away with the situation of being influenced by the conquistadores, colonizers and occupants. We Filipinos, become charmed with the things that are not created here in the Philippines, because there had been a mentality that the products of the other country are more durable and of better quality. How can we even create products of better quality in our country which can be compared to the global market if we ourselves closed our eyes in the possibilities that there are things found here in the Philippines which are better than the things found in the foreign lands? This mentality had been passed on from one generation to another. There had been no strict adherence to patriotism and nationalism, because simply in the schools during Flag Ceremony, not all the pupils and students properly sing and execute the singing of the National Anthem. The teachers tend to disregard these situations. The learners are not properly trained to speak the national language.
Further, this concern can also be in relation to the desire of the national government that the Philippines will be globally comparable and globally competitive. This is present in the way programs are implemented for the students to understand how they need to excel in school. Eventually, this had caused congestion of the lessons in the curriculum, and information overload for the learners. The goal is extensive, and not all the schools understand how this needs had to take place. Even if the national government will strive to be globally competitive, the implementation of the educational programs should really have the urgency especially for the people who live in the far-flung areas. The very essence of education in this sense is the strong establishment of the system in the Philippines. The Filipinos need to have stronger grasp of what they are worthy to experience, before they can eventually go out internationally.
Another concern is the pressure which is given to the institution, because education is perceived to have the role in the country’s development. This may just be a latent function of education, but there are misconceptions about this implication. It may be true that education truly play an important role in the country’s development, but we must also take into consideration that this can never be attained if the education system itself is not developed in the first place. It will have a ripple effect in the society and eventually to the whole nation.
One issue in the education system is also the curriculum that is not responsive to the basic needs of the country, and the constant implementation of programs in education which are not properly monitored. These are concerns which really need to be given attention too, because these are the most manifested functions of education. Through the curriculum, the students get to learn concepts and master some skills, and through the programs, the learning become more enhanced. In the past basic education cycle of the country, before the implementation of the K-12 curriculum, the curriculum was really congested. Pupils, as early as grade 1 carry too many books inside the classroom, and this does not even guarantee that the students really learn the whole lessons. Teachers even fail to finish all that they prepared for the year’s curriculum.
Going to the last few known issues, there were raised hurts that the educational system does not receive much budget from the government, and there is too much politics in education. The national government aims to establish a better education system in the country, but as we look into the real picture, this does not happen in reality at all. In the reports from the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), the current student dropout rates show that of the 10 pupils entering grade 1, 66% would eventually finish grade six; 43% would graduate high school; and, only 20% would successfully finish college. Of the statistics, there is a stark 80% of the 55 million considered out of school youth or 57% unable to fully access the right to education in the Philippine today. One major reason for this is poverty. According to the Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC), it is actually 1 to 45 and 1 to 60 ratio for school year 2010-11. No wonder that in Metro Manila alone, three shifting of classes are done in a day to rationalize the lack of schools/classrooms, teaching personnel, and accommodate large number of pupils and students. Teachers are also very affected in this concern. They fail to experience a more decent way of lifestyle, and this eventually leads them to lose vigor in teaching the students.
The national government vowed to take part in establishing more schools, in providing more recent textbooks, and other school facilities. This is what the current administration is focused on. An amount of 207 billion pesos is allocated for the Philippine Education System. High hopes are regarded to this action, because there is truly a great need for transformation in the education system of the country. May political leaders do not take advantage in using this social institution just to bring forth popularity and sympathy from the society. Sincere adherence to the plans for the education system is mostly needed at this point in time.
Moreover, as we look into all of these issues and concern in the Philippine Education System, it will all still boil down to the main problem – the problem with CORRUPTION. The country has been entangled in this bondage of wrong doing. I have realized that most of the Filipinos’ whole being is already corrupted. This does not only deal with corruption of money. This also involves corruption in the mind, in the heart and in the actions. The minds of the people had been corrupted with what are present in the media and social networking sites. The hearts are corrupted, in the sense that people tend to not care for the real situation in our own country. Apathy has grown, and there are very few people who engage themselves into social or civic-related activities which can promote social change.
Corruption is the root cause of this issues and concern in the Philippine Education System, and this truly needs to be eradicated as soon as possible, while there are still so much potentials of development among the Filipinos and while the hopes are still very high.
Based on my own experiences, I am grateful and beyond blessed to share with humility that I have never encountered difficulties with my studies since I was young. My parents had made sure that I and my brother were sent in exclusive schools which provide quality education. I have complete books, my teachers are mostly doing their very best to teach, and I can say that I am experiencing the quality education which every Filipino is supposed to experience.
I believe that this has been God’s blessing to me. However, my eyes had been open to a wider view of my life. I know that God blessed me, so that I can also be a blessing to other people especially since I am really passionate about teaching in the very near future. My eyes had been opened to the reality that not everyone experiences what I experienced. I became more empowered to make a move and be part of the people who passionately work for the betterment of the education system in the country.
Finally, this is the best time for everyone to understand his or her right to education. Something has to be done. Each social institution need to take part for the corruption of the whole being among the Filipinos to be eradicated as soon as possible, so that the betterment in the education system can be achieved successfully and with a sustained development.
The family, as the basic institution for socialization, should serve as strong motivators for the students to continue pursuing their goal to finish their studies. The parents need to do their best, so that the children will not be spending their whole time working for food, but they will spend their time working to learn. The family should be the source of values of the children which they will also pass on to the other members in the community. The next is the religious institution. The church needs to continuously serve as a guiding light among the Filipinos to be morally upright and spiritually close to God – the transcendent being, so that they will always cling to a hope of experiencing a better future. This institution can also help the people eradicate corruption, through the teachings from the word of God.
The economic institution, particularly the private sectors should also take part in the betterment of the education system. There has to be support from the economic players especially in terms of funds, since the education also play a role in the development of the country. Most investors can lead to more funds to be allocated to the education system.
Considerably, the education institution is also very important, because without people with integrity, passion and vigor, the learners will never be able to experience quality education. This institution need to use all the funds properly, and the potentials of the students need to be drawn out the most.
Last, but never the least is the government sector which generally plays the very important role in the betterment of the education system of the country. We are hoping that there will be leaders of the country who live with integrity and contrite spirit, so that they will have the fear of engaging themselves into corruption.
Since education is a treasure which thieves cannot break in or steal, let us all strive hard, as Filipinos united in one accord, to work for the betterment of our education system for the sake of the next generation to come and for our national heritage to be preserved until the end of time.
Durban, J., Catalan, R. (2012 May). Issues and Concern of Philippine Education Through the Years. Retrieved on: http://www.ajssh.leena-luna.co.jp/AJSSHPDFs/Vol.1%282%29/AJSSH2012%281.2-08%29.pdf
Mabunga, R. (2011 December 7). 2011 right to education: Philippines. Retrieved on July 15, 2012, from http://renatomabunga.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/2011- right-to-education-situation-philippines-1st-of-3-series/