Suggestions on Educational Reform in the Philippines

Many who read this blogsite and allied sites may agree that the educational system of the Philippines is in a terrible state. I read some months ago about 58,000 nurses applying for only 10,000 slots in the government. Another one was that around 88% of those who took the civil service example flunked. And we know what gaffe the Department of Education recently did. All these mean something is wrong. Most of our current local graduates seem dim in their knowledge and language skills, as well as even just basic thinking skills.

Part of this, perhaps a great part, owes to the problems in the country’s educational system. Thus, educational reform is needed, and has been called for by so many parties. What are among the reforms we may consider?

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Biased Historians

First problem in our educational system is the use of biased material. For example, our official historians since the Marcos era were Teodoro Agoncillo and Gregorio Zaide. However, just because they were made “official” does not mean they are necessarily right. Renato Constantino is another popular writer thought to have biased historical writings.

Some today teach in school history that the Philippines is an example of the success of the power of the masses. Former ambassador, government official and Far Eastern Economic Review writer Rigoberto Tiglao wrote that the power of the masses is a myth. The power of the masses is actually influenced by the elite. As explained in Nick Joaquin’s book A Question of Heroes, the Filipino Revolutions against Spain and against America were doomed to fail because the elite, the ilustrados, who were the real power behind the revolutions (The Cavite and Manila revolutions), buckled at the last moment.

Official history lessons are usually not revisionist. In our case, I believe we adopted the revisionist stance when we took on Agoncillo’s and Zaide’s ideas. Their ideas have led to today’s graduates being fiercely anti-foreign and antiquated in thinking. For example, Agoncillo promotes primitivism. This is the idea that the true Filipino culture is the bahay kubo and the old tribal bahag (loincloth). However, with better historical analysis, the bahay kubo is not unique Filipino culture. The equivalent of the bahay kubo can be found in Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia, which have the same climate and materials as the Philippines. He also seems to hint that all foreigners are harmful and their influences must be purged from the country.

Another erroneous notion is that Jose Rizal supported the indio culture. Not true. Most informed historians know Rizal loved Spanish and European culture, and wanted the indio to be “Hispanized.” Translating it to today’s times, the “Filipino” of today should take on foreign culture. That’s why those who say we should remove all foreign culture and that Rizal wanted this are wrong. Rizal wanted the people of the Philippines to take on foreign culture because it will help bring them up to a higher level and make them better equipped to deal with the world.

Much of what can be termed “Filipino” has foreign influences. For example, many colonial-era houses, using native materials, can be termed uniquely Filipino, despite having obvious foreign influence. Thus, it would be unrealistic to carve a Filipino identity by ridding ourselves of foreign influences. These are as much a part of our culture as the local things.

My proposal is thus to pull out biased textbooks and materials from being “official,” and put in the more balanced works, such as from Alfred McCoy, Nick Joaquin and William Henry Scott. Perhaps there are better works in the offing. But the anti-foreign attitude is the most important thing to remove.

Erroneous Textbooks

Speaking of textbooks, perhaps you have heard of Antonio Calipjo-Go, academic supervisor of Marian School of Quezon City, who has pointed out numerous factual errors in many of our local textbooks. Perhaps we need to be more stringent and watchful on the content of our textbooks. Perhaps Calipjo-Go’s suggestions to the DepEd should be seriously considered.

Curriculum Issues

The curriculum of the Philippines seems to be sorely lacking. For example, some people lament the lack of effective ethics (or GMRC in some schools) and critical thinking subjects in school. A total review of Philippine educational curriculum issues is needed. Instead of adding more years, it may be that the curriculum is wasting time on some subjects that are needless, while others are lacking.

Now we hear of Science struck out of first grade curricula. This move by the Department of Education is a bad move, as it is based on a bias: that science isn’t fun. It also reflects the attitude that popular TV networks have: go down to the audience’s level. This is wrong. An educational institution should not go down to the audience’s level. It should try to bring them up. It is not a TV network. Also, the subject of Mother Tongue seems to me one of the most ridiculous ideas as a dedicated subject. It could be incorporated in the modern equivalent of social studies. It’s a given that Filipinos will use their mother tongue anyway. Science should be retained in all levels.

“Be Proud of the Filipino Race.” To think that this is part of the so-called Rizal Values Campaign. But I doubt that this is something Rizal himself will actually support. Perhaps this is again the effect of Agoncillo’s and Zaide’s biased influence on the educational system. It’s time to work on those.

Educational Hoaxes

One of the more appalling problems in education is the acceptance of hoaxes as actual fact. Those really educated should know better than to accept these hoaxes.

One is the Code of Kalantiaw. It was once thought to be a real law, made by a datu at about the time of the Medieval Age. But later on, it was exposed as a hoax, or perhaps fiction that was mistaken as fact. We need to watch our educational content to see if we’re being taught the right stuff. No wonder people like Antonio Calipjo-Go are hopping mad.

Song and Dance rather than study

Our local entertainment may share the blame in the poor quality of our education these days. This is because of the observation that more children want to sing and dance rather than study. They have programs like where the child was made to dance instead of crying. There are also programs where stories are told of people stopping studies and then making it big in singing and dancing – causing others to mistakenly believe that they have to stop their studies to make it big in showbiz.

And thanks to these programs, some children are being channeled into prostitution and slavery by being hoodwinked to think that they are going for some great show and dance venture. The Philippines’ reputation as a ‘sex tours’ country (quoting Adam Carolla), is not without basis. Unfortunately, Philippine media also needs reform to aid in improving the quality of our country’s education.

Corrupt Faculty and Administration

Yes, corruption is certainly a problem, not just in government, but even in society and our educational system. Education officials who list ghost schools or other items in order to get budget allocation to pocket. Biased teachers who send people to anti-constitutional reform rallies for a grade. Forcing a student to buy some wares they are selling for a grade. Making students like a Facebook page to generate cooked votes for personal reasons. There are among the many ways corruption among school personnel happens.

This may disillusion some students, but others makes the excuse that “we need to do this to survive.” Thus, ethics goes down in the country.

English Please

Fellow blogger Benign0 also proposed the use of the English language as the sole medium of instruction. I believe that the bilingual policy as instituted under the first Aquino administration (bad programs mostly seemed to have started from that time) aided in deterioration of our educational quality. The premise of this bilingual program, as I heard, was that students were allowed to use the Tagalog word should they not know the English. Sadly, it means the students will not know the right words in English, and will thus be lacking in knowledge.

Even if everyone in the Philippines adopts Tagalog, people of other languages will complain. Some may even fear that adopting Tagalog may cause other languages to die out. As I said before, English is a neutral language. It won’t favor any tribal party. Thus, Benign0’s proposal to make only English the official language of instruction stands well for me. Of course, teachers should be made free to use the local language in their local areas where applicable.

Equity and Ownership… and the means to increase quality

Finally, I have learned that Filipino educational institutions can only be 100% Filipino-owned, like media, shipping and a few other industries. This raises a stink for me, as media and education are two of the most influential factors in the development of culture. If we have defects in our culture, we can trace them to our educational and media influences. So if media and education are locked against foreign equity, does this reflect a deliberate effort to use these two areas for propaganda?

Thus, opening education and media to foreign institutions may help introduce improvement in our educational system. It may also change media content that is causing our students to prefer singing and dancing to being serious about their studies.

Certainly, a lot needs to be done to raise our educational quality, and this can help provide means to help improve the lives of our people. There are things being done now, but are they the right courses of action? Using this article as a basis, they may not be. But hopefully, someone will listen and finally implement the right reforms in our educational system.

78 Replies to “Suggestions on Educational Reform in the Philippines”

  1. Students these days also have to power of the interwebs readily available at the tip of their fingers. Why, even elementary kids have smartphones which are light years ahead of mine, lol.

    Whether they use them to aid their studies or keep up with their showbiz idol, that I do not know.

  2. Lalo tayong hndi nagkakaisa sa mga sinasabi mo. Pbyaan mo nlang si Tito Noy. Alam nya ang mga gngwa nya sa pamahalaan at marami ang nagtitiwala skanya. Maganda ang K+12 at makakasabay na tayo sa ibang bansa.

        1. at ang problema sayo masyado kang bias kay Tito noy mo.. try mu kayang magbasa tungkol dyan. at kung iaasa lng natin kay tito noy mo ung bansa natin, duh? anong mangyayare? bkt porket may nasa power cya eh cya ng tama sa lahat ng mga bagay? ndi ah, may karapatan tayong magsuggest at gumawa ng action if necessary if ang buhay natin at ng ating mga anak is in danger(whether physically, socially, mentally, spiritually and etc.)

        2. OK lang kung makinig si Tito Noy sa akin, o sa mga katulad ko… problema nakikinig siya sa mga buwaya. Eh, sila yung mga naglagay sa kanya dyan.

        3. And again with the pnoy delusion. Enough already because you’re making yourself more stupid and he’s not your god.

    1. You heard these guys? What’s the use of K-12 if they take out SCIENCE as a subject?

      Proof is that your Tito Noy has NO BALLS.

    2. talagang ndi tayo magkakaisa kung may pinapanigan kang isang group of people lng. i know that you cant please every one. but you can respect them. kaya dapat neutral laht ng ipapasa ng bansa. K+12 is such a dumb, futile and illogical step taken by the government. dapat sinulusyonan muna nila ung shortage ng classrooms, teachers, proper and reliable textbooks and etc. at mas pinagbibigyan nila ng pansin at pera ang national defense?! duh???? anu to nasa war era pa tayo? try kayang ndi maging bayas sa mga katoliko ang government natin, at tignan natin kung anong sasabihin at gagawin ng mga kapatid nating muslim.

  3. Our History books are biased, and those in power, encouraged these authors to portray them as heroes…When we were a colony of America…the American colonialists, featured historical imbalance in our books.That they were benevolent colonialists…Admiral Dewey’s Battle of Manila Bay, was like Americans liberating the Filipinos , from the Spaniards…in truth: we were sold alrady by the Spaniards, in the Treaty of Paris…When Marcos was in power…Marcos and his Martial Law were featured as good thing…When the Aquinos are in power…they are featured as fighters of Democracy…which is far from the truth…Japanese KALIBAPI collaboration of Benigno Aquino, Sr. was erased in our History books. Benigno Aquino , Jr. ; M.V Karagatan incident was not told…Cory Aquino was featured as a Saint…Kris Aquino as a good daughter; and Noynoy Aquino as a good Presidential hopeful. The victors write the History books…the vanquished, are demonized…Be a student of History, with an open mind…Educate yourself…Our educational system really sucks…

    1. Alangan namang ilagay mo dyan na mas masama pa ang budhi ni Tito Noy kesa kay Marcos. Mas maganda kung nakalagay ay naibalik ang kalayaan ng bayan mula kay Marcos sa pangunguna ni Tita Cory.

      1. alam mo ba talaga at lahat ng ngyari nung time ni marcos at time nila aquino??? ako ndi, but it’s much better if we don’t linger any more to the past’s lies and hoaxes. sure ka na ibinalik nila tayo? or mas lalo tayong pinahirap? well im in no position to say these kinds of things kasi ndi ko alam. pero if your tito noy is really doing things then were is it???? the impeachment of chief justice? the hide and seek incident of CGMA? the “Proper negotiation” of the hostage taking? or his visit in the us and eating hotdogs? or his messed up lovelife? if he is really doing something atleast half of the hungry are well fed, half of the unemployed are employed, half of the people in the “baluktot na daan” are guided back to the right one and etc. but nooooohhh.. take a look around. 🙂

      2. I wonder what will happen if I’ll bring you back in time when you’ll actually see with your own naked eyes and ears about the evil plans of your precious president and his oligarch mafia for our country? If you still gonna crazily deny it then you really need to be sent to a mental hospital.

      3. ayan na brought out na naman ang pangaan ni apo.FOR YOUR INFO LANG HA!THE EDUCATION SYSTEM SUCKS!SA PANAHON NANG LINTIK NA ANIMAL NA TITA CORRRRRRRRRY MO!PINA LITAN ANG MGA INFORMATION SA LIBRO PARA SILA ANG MATULAK NA “ANGELS”KUNO!then what?yan ba ang pinag mamalaki mo?shunga karin noh.try to ask your self bakit gani ang reaction namin ngayun sa TITO NOY MO!?hindi kami”<magagalit!" kung tama ang ginagawa nya<angol!

  4. I also remember this whole theory taught when I was in grade school of how the Philippines was settled by “waves” of migrations, first the Aetas, then a bunch of Indonesian tribes, then Malays or something like that. Someone also told me that Rizal was put up as the “national hero” by subsequent rulers after the end of the Spanish colonial period because of his pacifist effect on the natives; to turn them into more docile subjects..

  5. K-12 would have been good if they reshuffled the whole curriculum with subjects that would be more beneficial as stated in this article and that they didn’t remove Science as a subject and earlier years.

    An yeah, I noticed that some educational institutions were capitalists like the local media, which is depressing.

    1. Inalis nga ang Science sa grades 1 at 2, at ano naman ang ipinalit? Pag-aaral ng teokrasyang katekismo na binalot lang sa pangalang GMRC!

      Sige pa! Magpa-ikot ka pa!

        1. and talagang hangal tayo kasi andyan pa yan. dapat kung talagang democratic ang bansang pilipinas dapat hindi iyan bias. dapat ndi based on christian?catholic doctrine. and you call us bobo? 🙂

        2. Bwahaha! Resorting to ad homs now? You sir are an ultra-nationalist psychopath who should have no place in the enlightening of this nation.

          Seriously, do us a favor and go commit seppuku while it’s still early!

    2. Why not take out Math and English (in grades 1 and 2) and replace it with “the heroism of Ninoy and Cory” and “virtues preached by HRH Kristina Bernadette”?

      Obviously, there’s a reason why there are Science subjects in Grades 1 and 2, and it’s not to burden us nor to turn our brains into scrambled eggs.

    3. Isipin mo, sa tinatagal tagal na may science ang grade 1, 2 at first year ngayon nila inaalis para mas madalian ang mga bata? Bakit? Paatras ba ang pagdevelop ng mga utak nila at kailangan padalian ang level of difficulty ng pag-aaral?

      Yun ang isang ayaw ko na ginagawa ng iskwelahan na binayaran sila para ituro pero ang ginagawa dinadalian at hindi kinukumpleto dahil kuno di kinakaya ng bata. Panu mo nalaman? Kesyo nagtatanong sila? Masama bang magtanong? Ang problema kasi dito e hindi nakukuha ang “value for money” sa edukasyon kung parati natin papairalin ang pagpapadali ng “pasakit ng pagaaral” ang bata.

      Anu yun, lahat honor roll? Para san pa bigyan ang bata ng insentibo ang bata para gumaling sa eskwela kung lahat naman e pantay na sobrang dali? Anu yun, paglabas na lang niya sa mundo iisipin niya na lahat madali at dun pa lang siya makakaranas ng pagkasawi/pagkatalo/pagkakamali sa kanyang trabaho kung kelan pa nasa posisyon siya na asa trabaho siya?

      Sobra na ata ang pag-“baby” kung ganun lang ang objective. Pagpapadali? Nakakatawa. H

    4. What’s the matter vincensus ignoramus? You always got F- on your Math and Science subject? Tamad ka siguro mag-aral ng mga iyon kasi puro tito noy na lang ang laman ng utak mo.

  6. Valuable propositions.
    I have some contention on some points however:

    1. On the proposal to exclusively use the English language in instruction.
    –>Other crucial areas, such as Science, Mathematics, and critical thinking in general, are, in some instances, better absorbed and appreciated by young children (who are yet to be extensively exposed to a foreign language) in their local dialects. Thus, I believe a reasonable mix of the local dialect, the official Tagalog-based Filipino language, and English can be tolerated in these critical subject areas, the importance of which far outweigh the need to be proficient in a foreign language. Command for the English language should be developed under a separate subject.

    2. On the author’s argument against the need to establish a Filipino Identity.
    –>For a developed country to continue being such, it is imperative, under the inevitable trend of globalization, to keep up and not be too stucked-up on the need to protect its national identity. However, in order for a developing country like ours to be able to establish our position amongst the many nations, it is vital to have a strong sense of ourselves. Kumbaga sa interpersonal scale, ang strong sense of self ay kasing halaga, kung hindi man mas mahalaga, sa ability to blend within social circles.

    1. I don’t think the author is against establishing a Filipino Identity. This is what he said:

      Thus, it would be unrealistic to carve a Filipino identity by ridding ourselves [of] foreign influences. These are as much a part of our culture as the local things.

      In other words, he wants a realistic identity, one that recognizes foreign influence.

        1. Tama na junk food Vincenzo.. San mo naman napulot yan sinasabi mo or comment mo? Wala naman sa diskusyon dito yan e…

          Are you high? hehe!

        2. If your talking about the likes of a British cop working for the Hong Kong police then you’ll gonna need them for you to discipline because all you did was nothing but childish whinefest with da pinoy prayd.

      1. ^ your kind ensures that proposals stay and proposals since you guys oppose the kind of change that will expose the wrongdoing of some supposedly saintly characters.

      2. Mas lalong walang mangyayari pag sinundan ka namin, walang critical thinking at rational thinking kung anu ang pwedeng maging epekto ng “proposals” kuno.

        Kung tanggap ka lang ng tanggap, e baka pinakain ka na ng basura hindi mo pa alam.

      3. at ikaw toast ng toast sa mga ginagawa ng government without even questionaing its validity and reason why this should be implemented., 🙂

      4. At tulad mo, mas-lalong magiging bobo ang mga pinoy dahil sa pagkulang sa pag-iisip. Anong gusto mong mangyari? Maging subject na lang nila sa eskwelahan ay noontime shows, pinoy prayd, ang “kagalingan” ng aquino mafia lalo na ang tito abnoy mo at kung anong kabobohan?

    2. The problem kasi is that baka hindi adequate and vocabulary ng local language para sa mga technical terms. Pano kaya magkaroon ng compromise? 😐

    3. The problem kasi is that baka hindi adequate ang vocabulary ng local language para sa mga technical terms. Pano kaya magkaroon ng compromise? 😐

      1. The compromise, precisely, is that to tolerate a mix of English, Filipino, and a local dialect. During discussions, it should be allowed to switch between any of these languages, depending on which is more appropriate and descriptive.

        1. like putting things into context, on local languages, first, then switching to English once the discussion goes deeper and technical

  7. Really strange how Vincenzo is so passionate about attacking this article yet he clearly strays away from those regarding the impeachment… Or is it? 😛

      1. Yup, looks like one of the rooms in Yuchengco.

        Since we’re talking about school curricula, I admire the system used by Germany. As early as elementary, students are already guided into tracks depending on their interests and competencies.

        Certain people go on to the University after their equivalent of high school while others go on to vocational school or art school.

        There exists no prejudice for those who end up in vocational school, which is a reality that seems impossible here in the Philippines.

        1. that’s true. Our tertiary education is specifically catered to white collar and professional jobs, with vocational courses just on the sidelines.

  8. Taking out science in the school curriculum especially in the early years will put us back into the dark ages once again where creationism, superstition and fanaticism will again rule in exchange for the more scientific approach of evolution. We do not want our children to always point to a supernatural deity for answers they do not know. Don’t we?

  9. as long as i can remember, when i started reading GRP posts, this guy vincenzo, has been writing one liners in praise of his tito noy…is this guy for real? i mean, i haven’t read any other posts like his…is he some kind of an agent by the yellow army to rile the other posters here? sometimes his posts are so inane, it hurts to read…and the use of jejemon or texters language just shows that the light is on but nobody’s home..pathetic, really

    1. This Vincenzo troll is always here in this blog and he always spews yellow crap which doesn’t make any sense. This guy might be some kind of loser that enjoys trolling people but can’t take the heat when being counter trolled.

  10. Chino,

    Ang haba ng isinulat mo ha.

    Anyway, why don’t guys block the Vicenzo guy dito? Naliligaw lang mga usapan nyo dito sa comments section.

    Parang every other comment na lang anti-VBA.

    On your topic:

    1. Math and Science should be prioritized in the educ program.

    2. I think finding ways to make kids love math at an early age is key. Science works better with a good love of math.

    3. While we’re all alarmed with the loss of first Grade Science, what’s inside the original lesson plan ba? I was a Catholic school boy and I didn’t have first grade level science. Personally, my love for science grew because of experiments. I also did a lot of “experiments” out of school.

    1. Haha, haba nga because I long wanted to get this off my chest.
      And yes, the removal of science itself points to another issue… what is the view of this administration towards science, that it is cruel? Masyadong nasanay mga bata sa Wowowee, and thus they find science boring. At least Voltes V inspired me to love science.

      1. Voltes V taught me that boxes can fly and electromagnets can lift heavy shit. In real terms today, electromagnetism is in trains, right? A good dose of imagination is needed with science. I remember watching a documentary about spy movies. There was even a part there that mentioned something like the CIA looking for inspiration for their gadgets in James Bond movies.

        Kids need to start with science in practical terms, the world around them. Science in textbooks, married with a lack of imagination, is boring. So what am I saying? Maybe the teaching approach needs some upgrading, not just the curriculum. Not everyone has a natural curiosity about finding out how the things around them work.

        I think that even basketball can be a useful tool to teach math and statistics.

        As for Wowowee, it can be useful for social sciences…and mind control. 😛

        1. I never really nitpicked on the plausibility of Voltes V’s mechanics. I thought it was cool. LOL

          Hey, you’re right about the teaching style, that’s something I forgot to address in my article, despite it’s length. Most Filipinos teacher just read off the book and lecture. These days, there are so many video presentations and interactive programs that could make things more interesting. And to implement those, we need technology. Sadly, that’s what this country lacks so much of on a large scale.

        1. Lets not forget the squeaky voiced spokesperson that can’t even do anything without messing up big time.

    1. and last but not the least, have a rabid and idiotic yellowtard attempt to troll GRP while the impeachment is going on but fail miserably.

  11. This suggestion is very feasible, especially my fellow youth because a cancer of ignorance if orming. The DepEd’s move was very wrong. They want to brainwash the populace and the inheritors of this generation. this society is indeed, full of flaws,ignorance and defects!

  12. Because of most of the things that I have been reading, especially in the net, which are mostly contrary to what I have learned in my elementary and high school days, I’m suddenly having the urge to become either an elementary or high school teacher, especially in social sciences.

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