March 31, 2010

By Way of Ningas Cogon

Posted in education reform, Philippine Education, teacher factor at 6:52 am by Cush Evangelista

Note:  This is a cautionary reflective post purposefully posted last.

I think you will agree with me when I surmise that as soon as each one of us enters a mandatory class with more than 20 students at Diliman, expectations are drastically lowered, if any are present to begin with. The course title ”Philippine Educational Systems” proved to be caveat enough and for many of us may have intimated at a dry lecture class mired in fact and statistic.

That being said, I’m sure many of you then were just as surprised or engrossed as I was, as the topics unfolded and we began to delve into the reality that is Philippine Education.  For many of us educators in training, the topic of Philippine Educational Systems is a nagging itch waiting to be scratched.  So scratch we did.

The throughputs are impressive: investigation into history and development, the discussion and dissection of laws and issues, visits and investigations into institutions and agencies of education, the development and implementation of projects aimed towards benefiting and contributing towards targeted public schools…add to this if found wanting.

My question then is by which way do we go now? What will we do with the insights and empowerment afforded to us by what we’ve learned and shared?  The culminating fieldwork presentations swelled my heart with pride at what each project pointed at and promised. In fact Sandhurst’s motto comes to mind, ”serve to lead” and so does its converse, ”lead to serve.”

The concern I raise here is that of the pervasive issue of apathy which is a growing sore that UP students have yet to fully cure.  For all our vaunted entitlement towards being labelled Iskolar ng Bayan, what happens after?  What do we do with the implicit responsibilities that this title comes with? Let me invoke the biblical phrase ‘seven times seven’ at this point and go sotto voce to emphasize: Iskolar ng Bayan ka nga, taga Eduk ka pa. Dobol ded. Oh, ano na?

Rizal High School’s guidance counselor, Mrs. Perlita Ignacio, pulled me aside after our activity and wanted assurances of a permanent working relationship with our college. Will the succeeding programs and activities be geared towards fulfilling class requirements or be honest steps towards a shared goal? Here’s her office number: +63.2.641.0049 local 807. What will you do with it now?

I will reference the impending elections to close this off because I can and will.  Several years ago the late senator Raul Roco ran for presidency and lost despite an overwhelming grassroots opinion of his being the right choice.  In hindsight the prevalent comment appeared to be: ”Gusto ko si ano, kaso hindi mananalo eh. Sayang lang kung iboboto ko siya.” I hear this comment making the rounds yet again. My unvoiced reply to this is: ”eh talagang hindi mananalo yun.” The relevance towards the challenge being posed to us as educators is clear.  By which way now?

I shun the path of ningas cogon. I commit to learning as much as I can during my stay at the college to lead to serve and to serve to lead. I am.


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