March 27, 2010

Posted in Philippine Education at 5:28 pm by aileenvd

I remember our concept of “hapag” in Filipino. In our culture, regardless of where we are dining, we are accustomed to saying “kain na” or “kain tayo” (“come and eat”) to someone regardless of our degree of intimacy.  Do we really mean such apparently warm invitation?  What have we done to go beyond the guilt or numbness we feel in seeing social injustices?
As regards education, we all agree that it is a basic human right and yet we find ourselves disappointed when we ask ourselves if everybody is really part of the table.
We work; we get schooled; we want to get educated—for the noble reason that we want a happy and meaningful life.  In line with MDG’s and the advocacy of EFA 2015, RA 9155 of 2001 defined quality education based on the appropriateness, relevance and excellence of the education given to meet the needs and aspirations of an individual and society.  This leads one to ask if a Filipino can identify all the national goals, or at least his family or community goals.  This reminds me of a seminar I went to where the key-note speaker Tony Meloto, the founder of Gawad Kalinga, defined a problem that we Filipinos might want to consider—where is the Filipino dream?  Truly, if the community, regional, and national goals are clear to the citizens and that they have a conscious effort (guided with full knowledge and free will) to align their personal decisions with them, progress wouldn’t be so far-fetched.
On this regard, assuming that one of the practical values of education is helping the youth to have a decent job which is important in a person’s quality of living, our unemployment and underemployment data echo a lot about the state of education.  Noting the trends defined in many researches in sociology and economics, we need to look at the reality of a state education which is more successful in “manufacturing” human resources ready for working in foreign soil than in “empowering” its citizens to pull its resources from the riches they can dig from their own soil in order to attain progress.  We need to look at a dream for a national progress the fruits of which we can share with the rest of the world.
We can see a state that has become dependent on the tactic of helping itself get by through inviting foreign investors to establish businesses in its land and thus provide jobs for its citizens.
We see potential entrepreneurs and employed individuals who go for the “easy-profit by repackaging what’s ‘popular’ mentality” leading us to adopt too much from the “globalizing market” and yet contribute too little to it in terms of generating both tangible and intangible products and services.
What essentials might we be forgetting?
Education, if it is genuine, should enlighten the human mind on the truth of where his/her real happiness lies.  It should help an individual choose an employment status based on his/her self-knowledge and responsibilities to others rather than on popular statistical trends on what the most marketable profession is.
Now, looking at a concrete “key result area” such as every citizen’s employment status choice – the decision to either work for an employer or to establish one’s own business will always be a matter of education, but not of schooling.  It is puzzling that our personal and national decisions in education has always been a question of sustenance but not of “life”.
Education ought to develop latent capacities so that a person can be the best of who he/she can be.  These days, education seems to be regarded as a producer of human resources who should meet standards so as to make them “marketable.”  One of the greatest tragedies that can happen to a person is getting employed and going to school just for monetary reasons.
Everyone is a stakeholder in everybody’s education—consciously or unconsciously.  What have we done at least?  We can look at the key-result areas in different levels –regional, community/barangay, family and individual.  However, the best indication is the bettering of the economic level of the marginalized families so that they can put more focus to education (which I think they value so much if not for their empty stomach).  “Kapwa?”

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