March 30, 2010
When we went to Rizal High School, I was astonished to see the enormity and classy structural design of the school. It was far from what I expected when my groupmates told me that we would be doing the project in the world’s biggest High school in terms of student population. Images that entered my mind when I heard them say that were crowded and tight classrooms, inadequate chairs, unmaintained and disordered corridors, unhygienic toilets, outdated and old facilities and materials, and overworked and stressed teachers. Among all of those expectations, I was right about one thing—stressed teachers. Everything else in the school was a wow!
The entrance of the school looked like a government building or like an office with its class doors that looked like mall windows and doors. There are also pillars in front and a curve pathway for cars. It looked very classy for a public school. Entering the building brought us more amazement because we saw a beautiful garden in the center of the surrounding classrooms. The garden looks very much like that in resorts where there are classic garden benches, and wooden canopies entwined with vines and plants. Besides that, I could not actually miss the huge track and field oval, and I also remember seeing gymnastics equipments in the vacant area in the field. Near the field, I saw what I thought of a mansion because of its architectural design. I could not actually believe it when my groupmates told me that the building is just for classrooms. Aside from that, the computer room we used for the program contained about 30 PC’s all of them were in Windows XP. The room was also surrounded by various posters and printouts about educational websites. Each of these computers was accompanied by a comfortable grayish black computer chair.
After the program, we roamed around the school which, as we were informed, has lost the title of being the biggest high school because their annexes became independent entities. I think that would be better because I can not imagine the load of the principal who is managing 20,000 students. Going to the parking area, there was a wide avenue (wide as the university avenue but shorter) which I thought was an entrance road to a subdivision because at the end of the road there is a marbled wall with a sign on it. I was wrong because what I was seeing was still part of the school; they were the former annexes. They had annexes for the sciences and others. The place was like a compound, big enough to be a subdivision. Our jaws dropped and we felt really tiny amidst that school. Imagining it as a whole, we almost envy the students studying there because they are so fortunate compared to other public high schools. That is another thing that fascinated us—it is all free. Those students are even more fortunate than those in the private schools. I remember that the teacher told us that they even have free pair of school shoes for the students. Imagine that! It is my first time to hear such a great benefit for the students.
Indeed, it was right that we dedicated our program to the teachers instead of the students because they do not need anything. I even think that the teachers are also fortunate, because they look like they are paid well. They are sophisticatedly dressed. Their faculty office is air-conditioned. The classrooms are very tidy and not too compacted. The chairs are arranged in pairs, giving the classroom more available space. That school looks “perfect”, while other public schools look devastating. I almost doubt that perhaps this school is what Deped presents to authorities and proves as the product of their programs and stuff. But it is only one school. All attention and benefits centralized in one school—I think that is a problem also. It would be better if it’s equalized and even better if all other public schools will be improved like Rizal High School. When that happens, I think children and out of school youth would be very motivated to go to school. However, this end product will need lots of effort, time, and money. The question is if Deped has all of those and if they are willing to use all of those in improving our public schools. Or, perhaps they have other agendas. Nevertheless, this is not merely wishful thinking but a vision of what perhaps should be the case of the country’s pubic schools. If it can happen to one, then it can also happen to many.