“ISKUL NA MAY BUKOL”


Today, June 13, a throng of young Filipino students will start to march towards schools. As would be expected, the opening of the school year brings about mixed issues and muddled concerns to everybody (students, teachers, businesses, transport sector, politicians, parents.. and at this present age, the grandparents! Picture how a grandparent would wait for hours in the waiting area of the school excitedly searching for a beloved grandchild amidst the crowd of free-spirited students). Noticeably, the Filipino psyche has this penchant of turning this circumstance into some kinda of a fiesta feel. It could be described in 4 C’s: crowded, colorful, costly and “chismis-filled” event.

K-12 READY… HOW READY?

A curious look would be at a good number of students who will be ushering themselves into a rather new and unprecedented adventure- the Senior High School! They will be called Grade 11 pupils. Nationwide, they could number to 1.5 million. Concomitantly, a curious gaze could be on the teachers (especially in college) who would be losing, generally, their jobs as a result that only a handful could actually enter college level this school year; and in another year to come, there will no longer be freshmen at all in college. Not to mention, not a few parents are wary perceiving that the added years to the education of their children is nothing else but an added burden (financial, more especially) to their already heavy loads. Moreover, do additional years in education would also mean readied classrooms, textbooks, and the like?

Despite this antsy feel and seeming uncertainties ahead, K-12 has already paved the road towards transforming Philippine education. It is intended to better equip students to become useful and relevant to the society by way of an employment. It is structured to align us with international academic standards. In other words, K-12 has the potential to bring about comprehensive makeover into the lives of every Filipino through quality and standard academic culture and practices. Hence, it promises to bring the landscape of education into higher grounds.
Give K-12 a chance.

“STATUS QUAESTIONES PALAWANENSIS”:

Perhaps it could be said that if you want to know the state of the place you just have to observe the state of a school in that locality. Or, by knowing a particular school you could already form a conjecture of the state of a society that holds and serves that school. In other words, school reflects society. It is a microcosm of whatever there is the community, and culture in general. For example, a school that does not exercise punctuality can never produce a government employee who reports to the office on time. A studentry where cheating is rampant will eventually turn to become a cheating workforce. Ever wondered why Philippines has become so corrupt? Perhaps we could take a peep into the window of our classrooms and school offices.

And so, we ask – How are the schools in Palawan? Are we seeing a transforming and transformative education in our place? If a school is a laboratory, are we in fact producing something which is relevant and beneficial to the community? Given that Palawan has already been recognized in the international level ( in particular, the tourism phenomenon and the Spratly issue), how do the schools manage to be at the forefront before this global centerstage. With its peculiar diversity, how does an academe initiate and innovate approaches to strike the balance between development and care for the environment?

Of course, the answers to all “quaestiones” will significantly depend on “status Palawanensis”.

BUSINESS AT STAKE:

My exposure in the private schools (Catholic schools), both as teacher and administrator, has allowed me to view Philippine educational system with a different perspective and a mounting challenge. To say the least, private schools are facing an uphill battle against government schools and schools owned by the so-called business tycoons. What reasons do Henry Sy, Lucio Tan, the Ayala Group, the Yuchengco Group, among others, have that they are now into buying schools and universities? Certainly, there must be business in education; quite literally, investing in education. On the other hand, this takeover of moneyed businessmen could upgrade school’s learning standards and could benchmark with schools alongside our neighboring countries. And on the side of public schools, private schools have become mere training grounds or passageways for higher-paying DepEd schools. A regular DepEd teacher receives P18, 549.00 as monthly basic salary. It goes without saying that this amount is way above an ordinary private school teacher gets. For private schools, the challenge supersedes sustainability. It has become a matter of survival. This could be a classic case of rising to the occasion on the part of private schools.

THE NOBLEST PROFESSION:

While teachers could indeed be underpaid (read:demoralized), still their task is one of high respect and of utmost honor. Pope Francis has this to say: “The influence of an educator, especially for young people, depends more on what he is as a person and the way he lives than what he says.” Furthermore, the Church affirms that “Beautiful indeed and of great importance is the vocation of all those who aid parents in fulfilling their duties and who, as representatives of the human community, undertake the task of education in schools.” (GE#5)
Hence, it could be said that teachers are signs of hope for the world for obvious reasons. One primary reason is that they teach because they see hope in students. Every teacher bears hope… Enough said…. Hail, teachers!

Back to school!!… Welcome School Year 2016-2017!

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