The Windmill of Philippine Educational System

April 2nd, 200912:18 pm @ elmot

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photo by missioncreep

Celebrations, sad background music from Mr. Lauchengco and cases of booze have already ended and our fresh graduates are now faced by the stinging reality of landing a job that they dreamt of and they deserve. Many are flocking the registrars’ office snaking their way through the empty halls to get their papers, and then some of them will soon battle it out with other fellow graduates to gain the favors of their prospective employers.

But many of them are completing their papers to get their Transcript of Records (TOR) sealed with a red ribbon and immediately fly to work on foreign lands with thoughts behind their minds of a better life.

The exodus of many of our compatriots and most saddening of our fresh graduates in the past recent years is not something remote. Rather this phenomenon that results to the breakdown of our country like termites eating the very foundation of a home comes from a system that we were first forced to live with and now condoned to have; a culture that we now call our own. And the growing numbers of the best and the brightest that we have leaving our country to get what they deserve is only one of the serious problems that this windmill brought us about. And have we taken ourselves on this ride?

My heart is always torn into many shattered pieces whenever students approach me and say, “Kuya, I am going to stop from going to school. My parent cannot afford to pay my tuition anymore.” Or whenever I am faced by words from other people everytime I share about the topic of education for the poor; peppering me with sharp words saying “How can you say that you are for the poor when your tuition fee for a nursing course for one semester is P70,000?” I am not an apologist, and I have no other recourse but to give the affirmative to their opinions.

I came across this table of tuition fees from a financial planning blog, and hope it will give us at least a peek into the windmill of our educational system.

Looking at the table, though it may not be that accurate, we are still seeing a problem that the educational system of our country has espoused for the longest years. With high tuition fees skyrocketing to amounts unimaginable to millions of Filipino youth, having a good education is now mostly nothing but a daydream if not a nightmare.

Imagine this scenario: One of our students takes up a nursing course that she has to complete for four years (and now the Commission on Higher Education wants to extend it to a 5-year course). Every semester she pays P70,000 for her tuition fee of which when she reaches her 3rd year and 4th year, her tuition fee dramatically increases to P80,000 per semester! These numbers of course excludes all the miscellaneous fees and other expenses the she has to incur during her studies. If I may compute, one of our student is going to pay approximately a staggering P600,000 as tuition fees alone for her four-year nursing course. I could have already sold all my kidney and internal organs to foreigners but could not yet have this amount to send a child to school for a nursing course. Maybe selling some illegal drugs would do? Hmmm…

This scenario which is not far from reality breeds the following problems and issues in our educational system which should have been aiming to educate our young for nation-building.

1. Because we only want to give quality education as a lasting gift that no could steal from our children, we are forced to send them to these expensive (and almost always Catholic schools) which let us all admit are really the best that we have in the country. And since the government is only giving priority to kickbacks and commissions on government projects, our educational system has been left on the hands of the giant schools and built and culture of “elitist educational system”.

Suffice it to say that this has widen the gap between the reach and the poor; with the poor looking up and rich staring down to the millions of people who are living at the fringe of the loot.

2. This elitist educational system which certainly is a spring of so many prevalent issues in the country that has forgotten to build its own nation leads to an elitist system of job seeking and giving. Many may argue but so many companies mostly if not, only accept graduates from our local Ivy League schools. They are those who work from cubicles and board rooms and those graduates from some unknown school located in a far-flung barrio infested by NPAs end up doing the dirty work. This may not be the general rule in the workplace but it is the prevalent system that the lowly has to endure.

3. The exodus of our young talented and skilled people is mostly also results from this system of education that we have come to embrace. Let me go back to the scenario I presented above. After graduation, that student of mine after passing the board exam went on the work for two years in a private hospital here in the province in order to gain experience and go abroad. Her monthly salary is a meager P10,000 as a nurse! And this will still shrink down after all taxes and other payments are to be deducted from her pay. And for sure, it is always a melodramatic moment whenever she takes a peek at her pay slip; that if she even tries to take a peek at it.

After she spent more than half a million pesos for her education to become a nurse, after her parents sold some of their farm lands and livestock, and barrowed money from some 5/6 men on scooter, this is the salary that she only has to receive. Common sense and our innate disposition will naturally drive us for the best and just that we deserve. And there is nothing else than going abroad for which my Aunt who is a nurse in the UK receives £1,800 every month!

Education so they say is an investment, and investors are clever, not lunatic or chimps, to put on the table hot cash and leave the room empty handed; at least they need to get even. Parents toil their hearts out to send their children to school not to indulge from the labors of their children when they already have their own jobs but to make sure that their children will live the good life, far much better than what their parents endured.

4. Sad to say, I could see that this system of education that we have, because of the sheer incompetence of our government is something that we have come to embrace and espoused as ours. It has become a culture that is eating up the very fiber of our nation economically, morally and intellectually. The effect maybe is not as scary at the present but the continuous silence and denial of the government that is primarily tasked to pursue the equal good for both the rich and poor, will lead us to a day of reckoning of the things that we permitted to happen and the things we have come to accept and our excuse of helplessness or disenchantment would not suffice.

We will be slaves of our own making only until the day that we force a systemic change that should start from the way we teach our youth. The great Jose Rizal was totally right saying that the youth is the future of the motherland. And without the conscious effort to bridge the gap between the rich and poor that starts from our schools, playpens, churches, governments and homes, we will continue to called a nation of servants, with our brightest ending up as domestic helpers; something that they don’t deserve, a name that we don’t deserve, but contains morsels of truth in it.

We deserve something more, better, just nobler.

You may or may not agree with me, but this is just some of my ramblings while chirping tweet, tweet, tweet on my sleep.

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