August 25, 2009
Ana – Universalism DOES NOT exist
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) advocates the adoption of a one-year extension in the tertiary level to improve Filipino graduates’ competitiveness in the international labor market. A 10-year basic education program in the country is not recognized globally. According to CHED Chairman Manuel Angeles, the system will be cost efficient; and as graduates of the five-year system, they immediately meet the standards that are recognized globally.
I personally do not support the claims of CHED Chairman Angeles. The system is not cost efficient and effective because it runs counter the global economic crisis we are facing at the moment – additional time, effort and money on the part of the parents and students. Instead, this would generate more benefits for schools but brings low quality education. Increasing the curriculum to another year is not a guarantee of a quality education. Being globally competitive is not equal to the additional year. While moving forward to a shorter but effective system, the CHED is moving backward to the traditional one. The current trend in higher education is shortening the years and makes it effective. For instance, in the traditional, one will complete a master’s degree within a 2-year period, but now, he can finish it within a year.
Universalism does not exist in the state of Philippine education; there is no such thing as one-size-fits all approach to every situation or problem. Not all processes will work the same in every context and it should not be assumed to move along a linear trajectory to quality education. A five-year system may be effective somewhere else, but not in the country. We should also take into account the nature of Filipinos, wanting to finish schooling as soon as possible for them to have a job and earn money; this is the opportunity cost behind the additional year. Parents may support the four-year studies of their children but could not possibly be on their fifth year, hence, may not graduate. Instead of reaping fruits from the hard earned labor which they put through education, they will not. This move may also double the agony of the parents who have been victims by the pre-need plans.
Instead of an additional year in shaping globally competitive individuals, schools should limit their enrollees through a rigid assessment of students. A lot of students are enrolled in certain course or field, notwithstanding that they are not fit in it, hoping for greater opportunities abroad. We can also reduce the number of minor subjects and replacing them into substantial major subjects so that students will be given more quality time to focus on their majors. I would say that quality education is not equal to the additional year, instead putting the suitable students to the field. As some educators claimed that raising the number of years does not guarantee improvements in the state of education today.
Ana Isabel Eslava