I was watching TV when I encountered again this advertisement that advocates, "Karapatan ng mga bata ang makapag-aral". It is the right of children to have education. But given the quality of education that we have in our country. I think it's best described as "It is the right of children to have poor quality education."
There is this Imbestigador feature entitled: "JUAN TANGA?" and I'd like to refute the statement of the then DepEd official. I think she said something like: "Kahit poor ang quality may matututunan pa rin ang mga students."
This remark, coming from an official of DepEd, is truly refutable! If the government is satisfied in giving poor quality education to our youth, well there those who are not! How can we expect great outcome from them in higher levels especially in their tertiary education if the optimum amount of education that we give them is out of par? Even though they excel in that less excellent education, they are still behind in terms of their lessons that are crucial in college.
It is a known fact the quality of education in the Philippines is on a downward spiral. Its slow but it is indeed going down. There are multitude of reasons why this is happening. I'll break some of them down later and try to give my thoughts of possible plans to alleviate our sinking education cap.
I would like to say a disclaimer though, I am not quite sure that the solutions that I'm going to present will work. Those are just steps that I thought will somehow help aid the problem. Also, I am pretty biased because I'm a pure blooded Manileño so I focused on the development of Education status here in Manila concerning the public schools.
Like I said earlier, there are a number of reasons why our education system is on the downturn. There is the physical reason, then the psychological reason, and lastly the implication reason.
The Physical reason I'm talking about is about the inadequacy of classrooms, the shortage of teachers, and the ever so increasing number of students annually.
Let's face it. There aren't enough room to accommodate the massive influx of new students in public schools. These are the newly enrolled not-too-well financial status family students and the newly transferred just-become-not-too-well financial status family students, and their numbers are increasing every year according to the news. There was once this feature saying that children from grade school need to seat by three in a two-seater desk so that all of them can seat. If they what to participate in the discussion and recite, they need to stand on desk and walk towards the blackboard and step on the path of desks in front of him while his classmates in front need to bend their head so the reciting student can pass. Well, they are the lucky ones, the unlucky ones are forced to sit on the floor just so that they can be part of the class. Others, just settle outside the classroom and irritably stands and peeks into the windows so they can be called part of the class.
According to some teachers that I have talked to, the optimum number of students in a class is 30-45. But unfortunately, this doesn't happen in reality. Students are crowded in hellfire oven called their classrooms so that the school can accommodate all of them. This is why I am AMBIVALENT with the school's action to not to accept late enrollees. yes, I also believe that everyone has the right to education. But this is shadowed by the fact that most of our public schools don't have the capacity to give quality education to all of their students and with surplus of students, I believe that education capacity has just crumbled.
At the same time with the large number of students, there is a shortage of public school teachers. Well the profession itself is not that attractive financially to begin with and the thought of handling a class of 60+ misfits is just a nightmare. I really cannot blame our people if they choose other options rather than joining the academe. Aside from still having INCOME TAXES, they often have their bonuses late or even none at all.
I somewhat blurted my psychological reason earlier. Since we are in hard times, most people would like to choose greener pastures in terms of their career. I think being a teacher would be in the waaaaaaaaaaayyyy bottom. This is a big problem in our country because we have a surplus supply of Nurses but we still don't the sufficient mark in the teaching profession.
Well, corruption of funds is still the mitigating reason why our education system is in such spiral abyss. The country's budget every year for education represents the largest chunk of pie, its even larger than the other chunks combined. But our country still suffers in terms of education quality and still has a lot of deficiency in deployment teachers and facilities.
I believe that only Teachers who had substantial enough of time as a teacher are the only ones qualified to sit as Department of Education Secretary. People chosen to sit as DepEd Secretaries have Ph.D.'s but only in Management and not really in Education. As the cliché goes, Teaching is not a profession but a vocation and I think it applies also that being the DepEd Secretary. he/she is somewhat the Principal of all the Public Schools in the country, so he/she as a teacher should know what to do and what are needed to be done to enrich once more our educational cap.
Study and work
I would like to suggest a Study and work program in all Public Tertiary institutions that offer Teaching courses. In this program, students are invited to study to become teachers and then pay off the fees by either giving the required sum or working as a public school teacher in a required number of years.
As early as the 4th year of the program wherein the 1st recipients of the program are now Seniors who are in their Practicum year. This will give a supply of teachers for the 1st wave. Then when these students graduate and become full fledged teachers, the 2nd batch will be practicumers and the cycle goes on. This will give if not ample, a steady supply of teachers for Public schools.
Well, I'm not limiting it with Public Tertiary Schools. It would be a good program to implement also in Private Institutions. I got the idea from a book actually, it's a John Grisham book. In the book, Harvard Law School offers to forget all the fees incurred by law students if they spend 3 years after graduation to help those in need by offering free services to them. I think it's a good project and a great way to help the community.
With the advent of technology, a crate full of distractions is readily available to the students. I strongly believe that we should also use technology to boost their learning experience. This, of course, will be limited by our country's financial capacity to surplus computers for public schools. But as a biased statement, I would like this to be implemented first here in Manila. It is very sad to note that not all public schools here in the Philippine capital are equip with such facility.
Learn to apply new teaching approaches. Since things have changed from then to now, using the same strategy will not be able to call their attention to learn. Aside from the few species that are willing to learn, the class will be boring and cutting-material.