April 1, 2010
“The great aim of education is not knowledge but action”. Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)
Education for many may mean going through the different levels of schooling, eventually earning a degree and working for a living. Once we leave the portals of school, we tend to forget how we can do our share in really applying what we have learned from our teachers.
One sector which needs urgent attention from us is our educational system. It needs concerned men and women to help in its reformation, primarily in the bureaucracy. Sad to say, the educational system in the Philippines needs focus and resuscitation much like a sick person. This is everybody’s chance to apply the knowledge gained in school by putting these into action for initiatives to save our educational system. Actually, there are numerous initiatives by different sectors already – the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations, Education for All of the UNESCO, EDCOMM of the Philippine Senate, Basic Education Sector Reform Agenda, to name a few. Each program has the best interest to help each one have access to quality education, regardless of creed or race. But all of these good intentions just remain on paper; genuine action from the bureaucracy and the people are yet to be seen.
We may have all the tools needed towards reformation but as long as there is no will to change, everything will go for naught. If truly, we have educated people to start the reformation, and yet there is no action being done, the system will remain the same as it used to when our forefathers were the ones in school.
Education seems to be working as a tranquilizer. It chooses what should be taught in the classroom such that the students will see that everything is fine around them. That there is no problem. Tranquilizer is synonyms to the words anesthetic, sleeping pill, calmative, and drug. Who needs a tranquilizer? Sick people. A person who is tranquilized cannot be put into action. He just lays there while the world spins. Who is administering the drug? They give press releases that “everything is under control”, “everything is on schedule vis- a-vis our goals”. But like sick people, one cannot keep them on medications for so long. There will come a time when they will ask questions as to why they are being given this drug and yet they are not getting better. If only that time will come soon for us. That we may arise from our deep sleep and wake up to the reality that our system is really sick. That it needs to undergo treatment if we wish our children not to have the same affliction. As future teachers, let us be aware of this sickness so as to avoid it from spreading. We should not only impart knowledge but also teach the value of taking action when we see the need for it. Education is not only confined in the four walls of the classroom but also out there where we are most needed by other people. We hold the future. We owe it to the future.