Education Freebies for the Poor? What the Fudge?!

First of all I would like to request my readers to look at this funny video below from the show Bubble Gang.

Funny, huh? But let’s think about a certain angle for a moment. Suppose that you are a student in a public school and you (or your parents) saved enough money to pay for your school’s overseas fieldtrip to Europe. You are excited about the trip as this will be a great opportunity to see and learn about Europe’s cultural wonders. Then you suddenly hear that in order for the poor students to be able to enjoy and learn from the European experience as well, the school will pay for their trip. How would you feel about it? Does the benefit of educating everyone (especially including the many poor students) outweigh the cost of your (or your parents) sacrifice of working hard and saving earnestly to pay for this trip? Does that even spell “justice”? If you think that it sucks that you have to pay for something while others get a free ride just because they do not have enough money for it then you are not alone. I also think it sucks! Yeah, what the fudge, right?!

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stfapI don’t mean to sound so “anti-poor” but I just don’t see the long-term and sustainable benefit of the government subsidizing higher education for everyone especially the poor. If subsidizing the poor was meant to level the playing field because without it, those with money will be the only ones to get access to higher education, leaving the poor folks behind, then this form of affirmative action undermines the very concept of affirmative action. Affirmative action was meant to make a system (or institution) more inclusive towards individuals who have been discriminated against based on factors they have no control over (such as race and gender). Socio-economic status is something that can be worked on. It’s not that if you are born poor that you will always be poor all your life. Unlike being black where you will always be black (unless you are Michael Jackson), there are avenues where socio-economic status can change.

Now let’s suppose that the State provides higher education subsidies and university/college admission preference based on income. This will mean that all folks belonging to the low socio-economic class (e.g. C and D class) will have the advantage of getting into State colleges or universities, leaving the class A and B folks underrepresented. How would the disparity in representation achieve the purpose of affirmative action if affirmative action was meant to promote equal representation? More to the point, if affirmative action in the form of subsidizing the poor will mean more opportunities to develop and tap the many talents, intelligence, and promise of people from various perspectives and abilities, then how can using income as basis for subsidy achieve this? Are we saying that talent, intelligence and promise are specific only to poor people?

Let’s go back to the question of whether the benefit of subsidizing the higher education of the poor outweighs the sacrifice of those with money to pay their own way. Suppose you are a poor parent who did not have a college education and you are working as a blue collar laborer. You have kids who are in school and you want them to finish college in hopes of turning them into professional white collared workers with a significantly better income than yours. There is nothing wrong with this dream. In fact, this is a common dream amongst poor parents wanting a better life for their kids. So if the poor blue collar parent works hard and dutifully pays his taxes in his quest to achieve his dream, he is, in effect, paying for the tuition of future white collar professionals (through his taxes) regardless of whether these future white collar professionals are his kids or not. But here’s the question: Why should the blue collar parent pay for other parents’ “future high earner kids” outside of his own volition? Heck, can’t we ask the same question about rich parents as well? If the deed is voluntary then I see no issues with it. However, taxation is not a voluntary matter in our society; it is compulsory.

Militant activists are always ranting against increasing tuition costs and at the same time calling for more government subsidies for (higher) education. That is fine and dandy but how exactly can any government prevent the increasing cost of education (in general) if the government will continue to pump in more subsidies? This is like printing more money into circulation to address the problem of a recession; the problem that will come out of it is called inflation! What do you think will happen if subsidies continue to increase? Wouldn’t this encourage more folks (especially the poor majority) to seek college education? With more demand for college education, given a finite and limited number of “reputable” State Colleges and Universities, is it any wonder why the cost of post-secondary education is continually rising? Militant activists might want to consider looking at the law of supply and demand for a change.

Another thing to consider is that not everyone (yes, including the poor) is ready or suited for college or university. Just to accommodate these folks who aren’t exactly college material, we have State Colleges and Universities that offer degrees for fields that really should not take four years of bachelor’s education to finish. I mean come on! Do we really need a four year degree in Hospitality Management , Welding , Refrigeration and Airconditioning , heck even Hotel and Restaurant Management? So basically we are flooding the State Colleges and Universities with degree programs that would enable more people to get college degrees for the sake of accommodating those folks who probably wouldn’t be able to academically compete with folks going for degrees in, say, Biology, Math or Law. Sure, more people (including a lot of poor people) will look good having college or university degrees but the standards for a college or university degree has been lowered just to make more people look good. It’s like lowering the basketball goal post for a team with shorter players so that they can make more shots and slam dunks. It will make them look good but that would not necessarily mean that their basketball skills are any better or even equal to the taller team’s skills.

Look, the suicide of that young 16 year old student from the University of the Philippines (UP) in Manila last month was a tragedy. There is no question about that. However, I think to use this tragedy to justify affirmative action in providing free higher education for the poor (or increased subsidies for the poor), stands on shaky grounds. If one could not enter a college or university because of the color of his or her skin or because of his or her gender, then that basis where the victim has no control over, can justify the call for affirmative action. But socio-economic status can be changed, although I recognize that it may be very difficult for some folks to do. Who said poor (but college ready and suitable) students cannot save by studying in a part-time mode while working on the side? Who said poor students cannot avail of grants and loans from private financial institutions and philanthropists? Speaking of which, wouldn’t there be more interest amongst private philanthropists to support promising, low-income students if the government were only out of the student aid business?

Subsidizing the higher education costs of the poor certainly sounds good and would certainly enable more kids to attain college or university degrees, making them look good. However, continuing to increase these subsidies may end up being more harmful for the general population through education cost inflation and lowering the bar for getting a college or university degree. In addition, not only would it spell an unfair burden on taxpayers it may also result in underrepresentation of the middle and upper middle class at State colleges and universities. Moreover, a blanket subsidy for the poor may undermine the benefits of competition. Sure, it is always convenient to “tax the rich” and say that making them pay the full price (or more) of education will not be very detrimental for them. But where is the justice in financially penalizing one group of people merely for the reason of their financial success? I say the government should move away from the educational dole-out business and move more towards the free market forces and encourage more private philanthropic support for low income but deserving students, perhaps through tax breaks and other incentives. Otherwise what the fudge?!

[Photo courtesy Philippine Collegian.]

86 Replies to “Education Freebies for the Poor? What the Fudge?!”

  1. On a side note, it’s absurd for activists to crab-ass about “increased government subsidies” for education, when they themselves vandalize and/or destroy school property for their protests.

  2. It’s about time we privatize some of these institutions so we can save up budget and uplift the economy that was once ruined by a jailed expresident.

    1. Lies. Gloria never ruined the economy; she uplifted it. The facts are there. Do you think many of here will bite your Yellow Propaganda?

      Stop the demonization. Only demented and insane people will resort these kind of actions.

    2. Thanks for reading, Eduardo. We could probably discuss the pros and cons of privatization of some of these institutions without having the need to demonize any former presidents (jailed or otherwise).

  3. STFAP at UP was implemented when I got into my junior year. I was lumped into the bracket that required full payment. Mainly because my family is middle class and both had steady employment.

    Here’s what it was like for my friend, G who belonged to the batch that came in after my class:

    The first semester he applied, he was granted a full scholarship with allowance on the basis of his parents’ declared income and the report of the university’s “investigator” who conducted an interview and site visit at G’s home. They were farmers from southern Luzon. Pretty simple and straightforward.

    The second semester was a complete turnaround. G was being asked to explain why he had applied for a full scholarship under STFAP even if his circumstances did not merit the subsidy. What the…? We were all puzzled by this. Our barkada had taken a side trip to visit his parents during a research project in the area. They weren’t exactly turning a profit.

    It turned out that the STFAP review committee had “randomly” selected G’s family for a follow up visit to verify if his declaration conformed to the statement he originally made the previous semester. And the “investigator” reported that G’s family had made some “improvements” on their property and had made certain acquisitions that proved they were no longer destitute. What were those “improvements?” They repaired fencing on their property and reconditioned some farm equipment. What were the “acquisitions” that pushed them to a higher STFAP bracket? They bought a second hand refrigerator and an electric fan. Apparently, what the majority of us consider basic necessities are elevated to luxuries for the narrow interpreters of the STFAP implementation.

    It took the better part of the second semester for G to sort out his problem. Something which wasn’t even his creation. Time which should have been spent studying.

    I don’t know about you but I don’t think the likes of that STFAP committee should be given the right to decide the fate of so many vulnerable people.

    1. I think that’s one big problem with relying on subsidies. Basically you have limited control of your fate because of government or state university/college administration intervention. There is always the potential for changes in one’s condition because of government or school admin policy interpretations thus significantly affecting a person’s life, just like what happened to your friend. Paying for one’s own way gives a better peace of mind and more control of one’s condition. Of course it’s not easy for poor folks to have the money to pay for their education. But there are certainly many avenues they can explore. Avenues such as grants and loans from private foundations or even merely attending college part-time while working. They can also try borrowing from family and friends. These certainly help diminish the impact of low income. But on another front, who even said all kids have to go to college? There are apprenticeship opportunities that allow unskilled workers to obtain training by accepting initially low wages. These opportunities would probably be more common if it weren’t for minimum wage laws and mandatory college education for entry level Joe Jobs. I mean why would one need to have a college degree for an entry-level vacuum cleaner salesman for chrissakes? Anyway, thanks for reading, Johnny Saint! 🙂

      1. The thing that really gets me is how arbitrary the whole process was. Time for another anecdote.

        I waiting in line at the registrar’s office during 4th year enrollment. To the side of the line was a table with piles of STFAP application forms laid out. Two employees from the university registrar were tasked with the evaluation of each student application. After reviewing the form an examiner would toss the form onto one of several stacks in front of them.

        I overheard a conversation that went something like this:

        “Pare, tingnan mo ‘to. Nag-a-apply ng full scholar pero hindi ‘ata kumpleto info n’ya.”

        His colleague asked “Ano kulang?”

        “Eto, walang salary sa tatay n’ya.”

        “Ano trabaho?”

        “Seaman. Nasa abroad.”

        “A, ganun ba? Full payment ‘yan. Diba malaki kita ng seaman?”

        They tossed the application form on the stack for students paying full tuition.

        Outrageous! How’d you like your fate to be decided by two catatonic clerks who couldn’t even be bothered to read the whole application form because their primary focus is how long before the carillon sounds 5pm?

  4. I am sorry, but this is the most st*pid article I read, I would understand if the author belongs to the elitists group Ayala, Cojuanco, Lopez et al.

    Education must be a right, if others don’t have access this right then it must be reached out to them. Education is the key to uplift lives from Poverty, corruption, illiteracy, ignorance, unemployment and etc.

    Education is all-in-one investment for our country, for the people, for morale, for dignity, integrity and for this technological world and more. There is no need to envy about education if others have it free or less expense. If you think as a country competing the world, there is no time to be selfish brat, education must be free to end poverty, illiteracy and our long term problems.

    All the developed countries in Asia like Singapore, Japan, Korea,China and etc started from investing intellectual capital. Too much dummies in our country creating stupid voters and politicians. Our society is young and immature and education must be a move for our country as a whole.

    1. The Philippines has long been and in many respects still is one of the most literate and educated societies in Asia. Yet it is among the most impoverished and least-promising of the lot. So the whole notion that education is the silver bullet should be re-evaluated along with the moronic notion that Internet access is some kind of human right as some “social media practitioners” would like us to believe.

      1. Internet access is actually becoming the FIFTH UTILITY — akin to electricity, water, transportation and communication, and waste disposal. This is the way it should be handled, not as a “human right.”

        As it happens, the unequal nature of most Internet access worldwide goes against the very notion of a “right.” As long as download speeds are much faster than the users’ upload speeds, we are prevented from properly utilizing the Internet; we are prevented from using it as an infrastructure for whatever we plug into it.

      2. I am sorry Sir! Perhaps you live near university campus. We are ranked 7th out of 9 ASEAN countries, our mathematics and science are consistently somewhere in the bottom list. We are 84th in the world. We ranked only in business English, but our universities, not — if we talk about quality of education too. Dropout and number of tertiary students decreased as I read from CHED. I have known intelligent society, like Australia, UK, Singapore and many more. But us, look around the slum areas.

        We are able to argue like this because I think we are at least educated. As for myself, I was an independent student and availed low tuition fees from a university, so quality jobs are easy for me. Education direct my understanding to discipline and not easily be persuaded by propaganda. Some of my colleagues were poor as well but scholars and now they got nice jobs and being productive to the society, majority of them finished PhD. If it was not for education I don’t think people will get to NASA and able to innovate high-end technology like Korea.

        Now, if you think education is not the silver bullet… tell me with your utmost intellect, what do you think is the silver bullet for our country?

        1. @vince: Dude, there is no silver bullet. Education, like any form of capital (such as money), is only as effective in the business of improving lives as the ability of their wielders to apply or invest them wisely.

          The Philippines, for example, enjoys a windfall of remittances from its army of overseas workers to the tune of 10% of its economy. Yet we constantly wonder where all that money goes — certainly not in brand-building, employment creating, sustainable industry of consequence. You’d think returning OFWs would bring back home with them some of the insight they’ve gleaned from being part of the winning societies that hosted them for years. Yet the best any of them could come up with as far as settling back into their homeland is to buy a jeepney or a tricycle and add to the already enormous mass of rust and grease that clogs Manila’s streets.

          The least they could do is plant their dollars in savings accounts so that the banking system can channel these to businesses that need the funds. Instead, much of that gets pissed away on their kids’ insatiable demand for celphone load, karaoke machines, low-profile 15-inch tyres, and imported Chinese trinkets, just like whatever is left of the country’s capability to educate its wretched population gets pissed away on doctors that magically transform into nurses, engineering students who go off and work as maids in Hong Kong, and lawyers who go on to a lucrative career of fooling people into voting them into office to earn a living skimming pork barrel funds off accounting books.

        2. According to the Commission on Overseas Filipinos only 6.8% of the OFW remittances are being spent on investments. The majority goes to debt repayment and, as benign0 points out, goes to consumption — basic goods and previously unattainable luxury items. Virtually nothing goes into savings.

      3. So far you only explained 10% OFW remittances that increase our household consumption and peso rate, creating positive chain reaction to other GDP equation variables except export – import. However, you haven’t given your own silver bullet solution to salvage our country’s intellectual crisis and poverty.

        I will be pleased to hear your idea if you formulate brilliant solutions that can easily be understood by all Juan Dela Cruz without so much acquisition of education. An idea or solution that can advance our country into intelligent ones making us ready to face technological age as the era of economy and trend.

        1. “Discipline is the silver bullet” sounds legit. But, look the slums around, the rubbish, the motorists and many more. Try to tell slumboys without a punch on your face. Every one heard about it and desiring it everyday, placards and signage everywhere, we never lack those–it’s been our age problem ever since. Discipline can be effectively practiced through iron fists laws and enforcement. Education can make it easier. Basically, for educated people, discipline comes naturally.

        2. You’re just making excuses, take for example Japan after the tsunami hits them. There is literally no law enforcer to enforce the law but they still choose to follow it.

          And saying uneducated people lack discipline is kind of narrow minded.

      4. Hi Benigno! I also do not believe that there is a silver bullet that can solve all of our problems. This is tantamount to oversimplification or even hasty generalization when a general rule or idea is formed by looking at only a few cases which aren’t necessarily representative of all possible cases. Thanks for reading!

    2. The opposite is actually true. It is VERY elitist to insist that an education should be dispensed from on high the way a king would do. Learning alone does not ensure that society will develop to become prosperous. Proper education is only one brick in the foundation that includes the rule of law, entrepreneurship and innovation. “Dispensing” education is the kind of flight-of-fancy, head-in-the-clouds, entitlement thinking that retards the growth of society. For starters, how does one go about PAYING for the education that is to be dispensed?

    3. I’ve head someone say, basic education is a right, but higher education is a privilege. Sounds reasonable to me. Besides, common sense should already be covered in basic education.

      1. Ever meet any of today’s new graduates? Most of them haven’t the sense to come in out of the rain. Makes you wonder how they ever graduated. 😉

        Regarding tertiary education. The idea it should be a “privilege” is a misnomer. With enough money and influence even the most inept, maladjusted miscreant can get into a college. Or, at the opposite end of the scale, the most destitute can get into college on programs that favor the poor and the disenfranchised.

        Why don’t we look at it this way: CHOICES for CONTINUING EDUCATION should be MADE AVAILABLE. University degrees for those who desire the privilege and polytechnics for those who don’t necessarily wish to pursue a college career.

      2. Actually what I said was basic education is a right, higher education is a qualified opportunity. The opportunity is available to everyone, IF they can meet certain qualifications. If you’re poor but have demonstrated academic excellence, there should be options (which can take many forms, and don’t necessarily have to be flat-out subsidies) made available to you; provided, of course, you meet the qualifications of following the proper steps, filing the right paperwork on time, etc. etc.

        I hustled for every bit of financial aid I could find – some of which I didn’t finally pay off until 10 years later – and worked full-time to get through school. The only “right” I ever assumed was the right to make the choice to do all that in order to study what & where I wanted. And that’s how it should be.

        1. Hi Ben! The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights is with you on your take regarding basic education. I also agree with you that poor but deserving folks should have options to take outside of government subsidy dependency. I was fortunate not to have to apply for a student loan or hustle for a grant as my parents were able to pay for my tuition. But I did work while I was studying in college to cover my other school expenses like books and other fees and my other personal expenses. There was even a time I worked 3 jobs while I was in college (worked early morning stock duties at a grocery store, worked at night at Pizza Hut and worked weekends at a gas station). My own income eased up the financial burden of my parents and the government as well. For grad school I paid my own way through my own income from work. I wish I was a great student back in high school so I could have had scholarships. But I was just an average C plus student back then with a lousy study ethic. But just because I didn’t have scholarship options and just because I didn’t want to deal with student loans, these did not stop my college endeavor. Like I said, there are avenues to consider even for mediocre students like me.

    4. Hi vince, thanks for reading. I’m sorry to read that you did not like the article. However, for such a stupid piece, you seem to have been so riled up about it and inspired to argue against it. If you must know, I do not belong to the blue blooded bunch you mentioned. I’m just a regular schmoe and except for my first 2 years of elementary schooling, my entire academic life belonged to the public school system (in the Philippines and in Canada). I just don’t understand why you would expect such a stupid article only if I belonged to the elites…. as if such opinions I gave are pre-defined only to come from the elites.

      Anyway, so you assert that education must be a right and thus, it ought to be free. Okay that’s fine and I respect your opinion. But according to our laws, we also have the right to travel. Does this mean that the government ought to provide us free airline tickets to anywhere in the world we want to travel?

      I am not suggesting that education ought to be off-limits to the poor (or anyone). The article wishes to explore the question on why does it necessarily mean that higher education should be subsidized? Beyond your rhetoric, I think what Johnny Saint and Benigno pointed out are valid arguments and cases that point out that subsidizing higher education is not really the “silver bullet” as you suggested. Essentially, you are telling us that:

      a. Education must be a right.
      b. If others don’t have access to this right then it must be reached out to them.

      Now, how exactly is it necessarily a “must” for this right to be reached out to those who don’t have access to it? Again, our laws state that we have the right to travel. Does this mean that the government must reach out free airline tickets to those who do not have access to them? Besides, saying that education “must” be a right does not mean that it IS a right. It merely suggests that it “ought to be” a right. So perhaps you can tell us exactly why education is a right, vince.

      Ah yes… because education, as you asserted, will ultimately solve all of our country’s problems. Is this your explanation why you think education must be a right? So basically you are suggesting that the rightness of something is based on the benefit it promises? I heard taking LSD can inspire people to unleash their artistic talents. Does this mean that taking LSD must be a right and the government ought to give free LSDs to people who don’t have access to it?

      Sorry, vince… I don’t buy it. While your rhetoric sounds good, I’m still not convinced why higher education must necessarily be provided free to everyone (including the poor) by the State. Look, you can call me a selfish brat… but selfishness ain’t necessarily a bad thing, ya know?

      1. It appears to be a disagreement on the scope accessibility of one’s right to education (and for that matter, every conceived human rights). Does it include the government providing such rights with out cost or the government ensuring no one is barred from accessing such rights (well except when one forfeited his rights :).

        Hector, your analogy with rights to travel and the government subsidizing plane ticket help clarified my question. After all, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

        1. I’ll say it again:

          While education is not necessarily a “basic human right” nor should we contemplate declaring it as such, MAKING CHOICES FOR EDUCATION AVAILABLE should be prioritized by both the public and private sectors. Why? The answer is simple. It’s just sensible policy to do this if you want to create a prosperous, progressive society. Adopting this strategy allows the nation to instills the right attitude in its people, trains them to be capable of interacting and working with their fellow citizens and foreigners, and cultivates the skills for innovation and entrepreneurship necessary for succeeding in the world.

        2. Hi Onesimus! Yes, I think some people take education as a right just like every conceived human rights such as the right to life. By the way, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 26) states:

          “Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.”

          Notice that although it states that everyone has the right to education, there is no blanket coverage for its free provision. Sure it is free in the elementary and fundamental stages, but technical, professional and other higher education shall only be accessible (on the basis of merit) but not necessarily free. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is clear on the minimum distinction on which level shall be free of charge. The mandate for higher education only refers t to access to it, not its free provision like elementary education. Thanks for reading! 🙂

      2. @Hector Gamboa, I appreciate your humility and perhaps I have to apologize for being offensive and vandalizing your piece. Personally, I envision education and implementation of the law together can mold the people and the country as a whole.

        I would like to sort out my point why education is the key, in our society as a whole:

        Consider all the problems and its basic solutions or needs:
        (1)Electricity – electricians.
        (2)Infrastructure – engineers.
        (3)Transportation – engnr/mechanic
        (4)Telecommunication – wireless tech/telephone experts
        (5)Computers and Internet – IT experts, webpage designer, programmers and etc
        (6)Health problems – doctors.
        (7)Knowledge – educators and professors.
        (8)Boredom – entertainers/movie makers.
        (9)Flying abroad – pilots/aviation control.
        (10)Food – agriculturist/farmers.
        (11)New stuffs – innovators, inventors and scientist.
        (12)Economy – economists.
        (13)Mathematical data – statistician/mathematician.
        (14)Clothing/fashion – tailors/fashion designer
        (15)Behavioral – psychologists/theologian
        … I can go on and on to our problems and corresponding solutions.

        Each solution has corresponding expert for it. If we think as a whole, an average Juan dela Cruz can be trained for each profession/expertise. The school has the facilities, know-how, hands-on experience to create such work force.

        This is not only my idea, this is similar to the idea of Fresco’s Venus Project. He is a reputable scientist and a visionary person. He devote his career in building simulated hi-tech society. I believe on a resource-based economy that capitals on intelligence and true solution.

        Australia and UK have a closer system to this, where they delegate each force to specific problem, but not really as ideal as it is.

        Here my argument about education starts ……

        1. Hi vince! No worries. I’ve been around for a long time to recognize that in most cases people really do not mean to offend someone. We just get carried away by our emotions for things that we feel passionate about. So me (or my article) being called stupid probably merely means that my reader just doesn’t agree with me. Critiques to my views are okay with me as it shows that I have provoked the interest of my audience. So no worries.

          Okay… so on with your list of problems and solutions… the thing is, vince, I (nor anyone else, I believe) will not argue against the value of developing and molding experts to solve our problems. The question is, why does it have to be necessarily free?

          Look, the fact that education can be productive (or even enjoyable) does not necessarily mean that government should subsidize it. I mean if education increases one’s earning potential, people can recognize this and get education on their own. I would be more convinced with the justification to subsidize education if individuals collectively choose less education in society as a whole. But I doubt that is the case. I’m sure even the poor in the Philippines have the desire and motivation for education – that there is an inherent demand for it. The problem is that a lot of them just cannot afford it. But is this a show-stopper? No! As I argued, there are various avenues to take to overcome such a roadblock outside of government dole-out dependency. There’s private loans from banks… there are grants or scholarships offered by private foundations for low income but deserving students. One does not even necessarily need to go to college to get trade skills as there are apprenticeships that allow unskilled workers to get training by accepting initially low wages. One can also opt to attend school part-time and work on the side in order to save. One can also borrow from friends and family. I mean with all these (and more) the necessity for government subsidized education is reduced.

      3. Vector, your analogy about the right to travel and education does not really connect directly. The right to travel is a personal decision for personal purpose of a person, while the right to education is actually for the best interest of our society, country and individual development in order for us to be productive. It is primarily the best interest of the country. Education is a solid foundation, an investment or a necessity for society to create solutions for each specific problem as what my “duality” mentioned above.

        I tell you, uneducated person or those people with less access to education can’t argue like ours. I think education put you where you are now and most of us here. I myself and my colleagues are a solid proof.

        1. And you are saying that education is not a personal choice? While you can argue that education is for the best interest of our society, I do not see how you made the logical jump by suggesting that education is for the best interest of our society therefore it is not a personal choice.

          Your premise: Education is for the best interest of our society.

          Your conclusion: Education is not a personal choice.

          You see the problem, vince? Your conclusion does not follow from the premise. Your premise describes the value of education for society but your conclusion tells about what education is (or is not). Do tell, how does what is best for the interest of our society really establish whether education is a personal choice or not? Are you suggesting that personal choice is defined by what is not for the best interest of our society? So in effect you are suggesting that no one can make personal choices that would be good for the best interest of our society? Sorry vince, I still don’t buy it.

        2. “I tell you, uneducated person or those people with less access to education can’t argue like ours. I think education put you where you are now and most of us here. I myself and my colleagues are a solid proof.”

          Again, that’s a very elitist statement. Are you saying that those who did not have the privilege of a formal education such as yourself are thoroughly incompetent? Not worthy of reading your comments or participating in this discussion?

        3. I see how you look at the problem and I admit that our perspectives are difficult to converge.

          My views are gestalt or holistic and I look at things in a big picture. In mathematics, I look at it as a normal curve of Euler. As part of our training, we don’t see individual point in the curve but rather cluster of points, but we are more concern to the effect of the curve by applying such variables with constants.

          In a gestalt point of view about education, we only see the big picture and how “education” shape or alter the average curve, making it a necessity or a right or a privilege for the whole. There we set-aside first a unit’s decision, choice or status before the whole equation/standard is set.

          Ideally, the government should subsidize education; since there are possible shortcomings or irregularities, then this is where the conditions and terms are being made. In this point no one is deprived of education unless he/she mess it up.

          In my duality of “problem-solution principle”, it is evident that education is necessity not only for individual but for the whole, and that is where right starts for everyone in an ideal government that thinks of the citizens and countries’ welfare. Any individual (collective) discrepancies or irregularities well be dealt accordingly by given conditions and terms.

          About the flight fare and education as rights, we just look at it in different perspective, we are just simply arguing at different extremes. I think it can only be constructive if we do like, I build the whole and you make a breakdown of the whole to reach an ideal system. But that takes loads of arguments and adjustments.

          It is so hard to convey all my points here and I think so are yours. It takes bottles of beer and collaboration of thoughts. But I admit that my holistic perspective is not applicable to our government nor any ideal one applicable to it (in exaggeration).

          As long as we can’t get over this monetary-economy that is built in profit, debt, inflation and etc, we will never understand the importance of resource-based economy which basically profits on intellectual capital and human/natural resources.

        4. @Johnny, I can’t imagine our system without silver bullets, it would be a hopeless world to live.

          I believe that there is and that gives one’s hope. My duality of problem-solution principle is a candidate.

          Consider each basic problem, then there has been corresponding solution as suggested on the right-hand side column. Consider a solution as specific silver bullet for a certain problem. Then we can get groups of silver bullets specifically solve resp problems.

          Education is like a gun where we load the bullets and aim then shoot it to specific target. Education can train more average Juan and above average Juan to become specific silver bullets and be productive in the society.

          Though this sounds idealistic, but there is still hope if we have proper reform. Most articles suggest solutions or opinions for a flaw system to begin with. We can’t solve the same problems with the same mind-set where the problem was created; patching it up with the same old schemes only making it worst.

          ***About uneducated people, I mean the ordinary Juan in our country, representing the masses at the bottom of the pyramid of society. I don’t think they understand hyperinflation, fractional reserve, money creation or simply the terms in English that we brought up here. Though there are exceptions of course but in the whole set of data, they are called outliers and they are simply omitted in a sample or population.

    5. I agree. I find this article disturbing. It draws upon conservative ideas from America which are not at all suitable to the inherently inequitable social structure we have in the Philippines.
      I am a product of UP. Without this subsidy, I wouldn’t have completed my university education and landed a job which in turn enabled me to help my family.
      The Philippines is unique in Asia for having the most privatized higher education sector in the world. Unlike our more progressive Asian neighbors which heavily subsidized (and monitored the performance) of state universities, we have allowed the establishment of the thousands of private colleges and universities, many of which have questionable standards of quality. I’ve noticed that we have a lot of college graduates who can read but cannot fully comprehend, can memorize but cannot analyze and apply. Much of the problem can be attributed to the sorry state of our basic educational system but our highly privatized higher education has not helped us either.
      Subsidizing universities like UP will not result in the underrepresentation of the upper/middle class. In fact, majority of students in UP come from the upper/middle classes and have graduated from private high schools. Since admission is based on a standardized test like UPCAT, it does not discriminate the rich but in fact advantages them (Rich kids can enroll in UPCAT review classes to prepare themselves for the exam).
      There’s also another fact that the public does not generally know about UP: all students regardless of their STFAP bracket are highly subsidized by the government. If the rich students were to be required to pay all the expenses incurred by the state to educate them, the tuition fees at UP may even be higher than those in DLSU/ Ateneo.
      One may ask, why is it expensive to run a public state u like UP? Since it’s a public institution, it needs to offer courses that may not be popular to students but are important to the welfare of the country (e.g., archaeology, Islamic studies, rural development, agriculture, etc.). Secondly, UP is a research university. It is not limited to teaching. In addition to teachers, it also employs research personnel. It also runs a large public hospital — the PGH. This is what makes UP and other research universities different from your typical private colleges and universities in the country. Discovering knowledge or creating technologies is as important as teaching and actually enhances the latter. Teachers who conduct research are able to impart their findings from their studies instead of echoing what they have simply read or solely relying on the idiosyncrasies of their experiences.
      I wish more businessmen would contribute more funds to public education. Even in their “highly” subsidized state, SUCs are still struggling, including UP (which recently has gotten into privatization efforts like the STFAP and the Ayala Technohub in Diliman). Want to know? Just ask how much a regular professor in UP makes.

    6. You must have misinterpreted “education” to think that tertiary education is necessarily part of it.

      University schooling is a specialization. It is not a right, but a privilege. You won’t die if you won’t go to college. You won’t suffer with any disease or disorder if you don’t have a diploma. It’s not the same as what healthcare and housing do.

      As long as there are lucrative industries overseas and that the Philippine government cannot promise concrete economic security to college graduates, all these demands for scholarship and subsidy will be nothing as always.

      Come on. It’s been 100 years since UP was established. When will you wake up from your dream?

    7. Education is not a right. If you think it should be free, you don’t see its detriment effect to the taxpayers and to the economy. It is not free if it is already paid by taxpayers money.

  5. Even we reach hyperinflation like Zimbabwe as long as it is invested for education for everyone, then money is well spent. Because literacy will bring us back to glory again, and this time its permanent growth for the country and for the people. Education is the key, the long-term solution to our long-term problems.

    1. “Education is…the long-term solution to our long-term problems.”

      The operative phrase being “long-term.” Do you realize the absurdity of your statement? You would subject the Philippines to the violence and chaos of Zimbabwe that accompanied hyperinflation and its economic crash, sacrifice millions of Filipinos to genocide for the nebulous future “glory” that you envision will occur maybe some time down the road.

      At best, by the time hyperinflation sets in, the “educated” will have fled to more hospitable climes. All you have proven is that you will create an environment that is so unbearable, NO ONE will want to inhabit it.

      1. I understand money creation and fractional reserve, with our budget of education if in case we undergo such debt slightly affect our peso value due to inflation. If you have a lot of savings in the bank, this is something not to panic about. I only inject some metaphor into it.

        Our government instead cut or slashed the budget of SUC’s to prioritized short-term ones, not on human development or intellectual capital. I think in some ways your statement contradicts to your argument… if we are educated society, most likely we can reduce crime, poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, gullibility and undisciplined individuals… I don’t see chaos there.

        If you think I invade your site, then I am sorry for that… I am a person who envision education as the solution to our country’s intellectual crisis because it is pathetic to see more Phil DH abroad instead of engineers and scientists or even in our country.

        1. We’re all looking for solutions.

          Zimbabwe is definitely NOT the model you want to follow. In 1980 Zimbabwe — as a means of repudiating its colonial inequities — made education free in government-run schools. Education was declared a basic human right in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe has an adult literacy rate of approximately 90% which is among the highest in Africa. However, since 1995 the adult literacy rate of Zimbabwe has steadily decreased. Zimbabwe’s education system was once among the best in Africa; it currently suffers from a detrimental decline in public funding in conjunction with hyperinflation and political unrest. Until the mid 1990s, Zimbabwe had achieved primary education for all and secondary education for the majority (65%). In the mid-90s there was a national pass rate of 72 %. In 2007 it dropped to 11%. This culminated in the cancelling of the school year in 2008. Teachers have gone on strike in recent years over low salaries, poor working conditions, political violence and election results, further exasperating the situation.

          What was perhaps the most educated nation in the region created one of the worst humanitarian crises the world has ever seen. And to what do they attribute the cause? An ill-managed LAND REFORM program. The land upheaval brought about much destruction, joblessness, hunger, and political violence. The independent farmers to whom the confiscated land was given to had very limited success at replicating former levels of production. This highly educated populace then proceeded to engage in electoral fraud and racial violence. Today it is one of the most dangerous, volatile regions on the planet.

          Where was the benefit of free education in Zimbabwe?

        2. “…if we are educated society, most likely we can reduce crime, poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, gullibility and undisciplined individuals…I don’t see chaos there.”

          Again — why didn’t this work in Zimbabwe?

          For that matter, why do educated Filipinos still vote in crass, undisciplined, vulgar and inept public officials?

          You have to broaden your perspective.

      2. Well I only sight Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation as a figure of speech. I am not telling how they governed their country. If we talk about education as the capital, Singapore, Japan, Korea and China were my examples.

        To be real, OK we can’t get the fact that we are really exporter of human resource (OFWs)due worst unemployment in our country, unfriendly economic environment for foreign investors and worst DFI inflow in 10 ASEAN countries.

        But I don’t think you are happy to hear Filipinos as servants abroad, like europeans and middle eastern commonly call us DH. Instead, if we have access to higher and quality education we could have many engineers, doctors, technicians, educators, IT experts and scientists abroad instead of DH and chimays (downgrading to our part)and be leveled to chinese, japanese, koreans, singaporean overseas workers.

        If we are educated ordinary Juan can understand PSE and how to enjoy hot money inflow. Or people are innovative enough in all aspect in life. In case of character development through education, I already stated above.

        1. And I described the situation in Zimbabwe as an example of how completely free education did not prevent the collapse of the Zimbabwe economy. More likely, it contributed to that collapse.

          All these points you mentioned — no one here is disputing them. The point of contention is the insistence that education — being the end-all and be-all solution — should be made free of charge to create a prosperous, progressive society. Going back to Zimbabwe (your metaphor) it is evident that the EXACT OPPOSITE happened. It resulted in (or at the very least failed to prevent) fraud, corruption, desperate poverty, violence and skyrocketing deaths.

          Education is PART of the solution to building a civilization that lasts. IT IS NOT THE ONLY SOLUTION. To date the most successful societies have in common four things: proper education, rule of law, entrepreneurship and innovation. These factors feed off each other. They encourage specialization, movement towards more developed, urbanized living, and higher levels of education. This type of society is also characterized by broad-based economic development with a populace that is articulate, exercises their rights freely, and are economically independent i.e. well off. See the difference? The focus is on the society and its values; not singling out and isolating one part of the equation alone.

    1. Probably goes with pride. “I have the right to have this because it makes me proud!” Drop the pride, you have one problem fixed.

  6. A sound and quality education system that is also equitable requires that entry is based solely on academic achievement and that any with the required level of achievement be given the opportunity. A rich dumbass shouldn’t have a position in a university simply because they are rich. A person with good achievement shouldn’t be excluded because they are poor. Barriers to education do perpetuate barriers to opportunity.

    1. Hi David! I like what your merits based approach. Yes, a rich dumbass shouldn’t be in a university just because he is rich and a poor dumbass shouldn’t be there either just because he is poor. Thanks for reading!

  7. I’m good with the government providing free education if it comes with conditions.

    1) A maintaining grade (90 or higher)
    2) They have to serve the country for an amount of time equal to the number of years spent to complete their course(s) in a job related to their field of study
    3) To prematurely end the contract, the student must pay the remaining amount spent on their education + 12% interest
    4) They will not be allowed to leave the country while serving unless they place a bond equal to the amount in item 3)
    5) Should they fail in keeping condition 1, the scholarship will be terminated and they will have to comply with conditions 2-4.

    Basically, the DOST scholarship except it’s open for everyone.

    1. yap… and to add up… the DOST scholarships enrolls students on SUCs and other “Center of Excellence/Development” institutions recognized by CHED 🙂

    2. Hi Johndoenymous! Well, I guess with such conditions, the recipient of the free education will have to (temporarily) surrender or sacrifice certain rights such as the right to choose. Also, it may be okay if the student can choose whatever degree program he wishes to take but I think the government will tend to pick certain programs a scholar must take. Tough luck for someone who wishes to major in the paranormal or something really pathetic and useless. 🙂 hehehe Thanks for reading! 🙂

      1. Hehe, true indeed. It does explain why only DOST is offering such a program and as scalaberch mentioned, such scholars may only enroll in the best schools for their course.

        Though it is cruelly funny for the government to practically enslave someone for a time for studying something ridiculous.

    3. Add this:
      6)Technical elective subjects/trainings/seminars in High School as supervised and approved by TESDA
      7)Adding Liberal Arts/Social Sciences in Elementary School Curriculum to improved critical thinking training

  8. The author misses, or ignores, the fact that, in many instances, being poor is the result of being discriminated against because of race, religion, and sex. Not because being poor is a separate issue as the author seems to be stating.
    The entire 3rd paragraph is even further removed from reality that I wonder EXACTLY who let this article get published? ONE big reason that ‘poor’er students make up a larger part of the student body in state schools is because ‘rich’er students go to private schools.(***A SAD SIDE NOTE IS: state schools, because of their state funding are, usually staffed by lower-paid faculty and are considered to be ‘inferior’ to private institutions and TOP employers will usually want the private school graduate over the state school graduate.”Hmm, should we hire the guy from Harvard or the guy from Alabama State?”.). To suppose , as the author does in the form of a question, that ‘intelligence, talent and promise are specific to poor people’,UH….WHAT?
    the 5th paragraph states a case(and absentmindedly blows the statement out of the water,HA!) for not increasing subsidies because the cost will rise due to supply and demand economics, but in a state school the tuition, and most of the costs at the school, are regulated by the state, PASS THE FUDGE?OMG.
    Being against aid to students is anyones’ perogative.An essay like this neither supports the argument for the cutting of the subsidies, nor does it provide an argument to fund the subsidies. It is just an essay full of statements that do not support each other and assumptions with basis in facts.Kinda like fantasy.(lowering richer students attendance at state schools is a danger,BWAHAHA! what the fusge?)OMG!
    I want to mention that EVERYONE pays taxes and income tax is not the only tax that funds educational spending by the state. It is usually the lottery that funds the state school systems, in the countries I/we have lived in anyway. In a country where the wealth is sooo heavily concentrated in the pockets of the few, throwing an educational bone to the massa is a crumb off the table.

    1. Hi Glenn! Cute rebuttal but I would prefer to just focus on the substance. Anyway, I disagree with your take that being poor is the result of being discriminated against because of race, sex, or religion. Take race for instance. There are lots of white people who are poor as well. But does it follow that just because they are white that they are discriminated? No, in fact, I bet a rich person with a black sounding name such as Lakisha would probably be at a disadvantage for being called for job interviews compared to someone with a white sounding name. This discrimination does not necessarily have anything to do with being poor.

      You are correct in saying that the rich kids tend to go to private schools. That is certainly evident in the Philippines. You are also correct in suggesting that the quality of education in private schools tend to be better than the public schools. Reasons such as low teacher salaries in public schools and low government funding for school needs are certainly factors why our public schools are falling behind in terms of quality. But I submit that socialized education contributes to the degradation of quality in state schools. In socialized education, the government controls annual school budgets in public schools. Public schools bear accountability to government for each centavo being spent. With very a limited budget, as is with the case of the Philippine government, there is very little room for teacher salary increases and facility upkeep. More to the point, public school accountability to government threatens to stifle institutional autonomy. Is it any wonder why the good teachers look for greener pastures such as private schools?

      Yes, I maintain that the cost of education will continue to rise because of the inflationary effects of pumping in more subsidies. Yes, we can look at supply and demand for this one. You see, there will be an increased demand for higher education if such is given free of charge at the public colleges and universities. Ordinarily, increase in cost would be restrained by consumers’ willingness and ability to pay. But as government subsidies help absorb tuition increases, the constraint is lifted.

      I think you missed the part when I said that I am for the government moving away from the dole-out business. I am more in favor of leaning towards free market forces and encouraging private philanthropic support for the poor but deserving students. So contrary to your critique that this piece neither supports cutting subsidies nor funding subsidies, I think I was clear that I am for cutting subsidies. I supported my position by stating the problems I see that comes with subsidizing higher education. Oh by the way, the issue I raised was not about the danger of having fewer rich students in public schools. It was about the purpose of affirmative action being defeated as a result of the disparity in socio-economic class representation (with the poor students having the advantage if they get the subsidy benefit and admission preference just because of being poor).

      Again, while I do agree that mandating the rich to shell out the full amount of tuition will probably be not detrimental to them, the question is: Where is the justice in requiring rich people to pay and letting the poor get a free ride?

      Thanks for reading!

      1. I do not have all the answers but I do have a question that is pertinent to the idea of philanthropic participation in the school system.
        Do you really think that wealthy people are going to hand out anywhere near the amount of money that the state will, that the state actually does when they pay for some poorer students educations? I do not think so.
        Rich people need poor people to stay rich. The exploitation of the poor is like a business in many ways. Every single business is nailed down in the Philippines and the poor have no hope to prosper. Hence the mass exodus of OFW’s.
        As I say, the state the Philippines is in right now, with the wealthy getting wealthier and everyone else slowly getting squeezed, or thrown, into the poor house is going to give rise to some nasty consequences for those doing the squeezing/throwing. Socialism is deemed evil, and is usually corrupted to the point of useless just as capitalism is and therefore IDK which is worse/better.I can say that it might be better for the state, which is apparently run by the wealthy, to throw the poor a few satisfying crumbs before the poor become pissed enough to really cause some severe problems.( it is surprising that it has not really happened yet). The state/wealthy would be doing themselves a favor,IMO.

        1. Hi Glenn! Well, I do not claim to have all the answers either but this is the beauty of having a free market of ideas…. we all can get a sample of everyone’s thoughts.

          As to your question if I really think wealthy people are going to shell out money for all poor students anywhere near the State does. The answer is “No, but….”. I think what will happen is that there will be an increase in help from wealthy people for poor BUT deserving students (i.e. the good and promising students). I think this will be further increased if private philanthropists and businesses can get tax breaks from the student aid they give to deserving students. Those students who aren’t academically ready for college or university would have to explore other avenues. I think this will end up being better as it will decrease the number of students public institutions need to spend for and this will further promote rewarding of success. The idea is, if you want to get grants or help for college then you will have to do well in your studies…. you’ll have to keep those grades up. Otherwise, you’ll have to work extra hard, wisen up and start to earn the privilege of getting higher education. So basically while quantity of college and university students in public institutions may decrease, quality will probably increase.

          Just a few years ago my family helped one of my dad’s distant cousin’s kid in the province. The kid graduated from high school but they couldn’t afford college. The kid wasn’t a spectacular student but he wasn’t dumb either. I’d say he was just an average student from a public school in the province. The kid couldn’t get any scholarship or grants so our family shouldered the kid’s tuition and other school expenses for his 4 year course. If we knew he was getting dole-outs from the government we wouldn’t be helping out the kid. Now don’t get me wrong. My family isn’t rich… we’re just your average working class folks. But we decided to help out someone we thought could use the help. I’m sure there are lots of others far wealthier than my family who would be able to help out other kids.

          Now I do not share your cynicism regarding wealthy people in general. Not all wealthy folks or business folks are as evil or sinister as you seem to be depicting them to be. Businessmen do provide jobs for the poor and there is nothing wrong with having profit as a motivator. The working class folks have avenues to pursue in wealth generation as well. To keep people poor may ultimately be bad for business as these folks are most likely going to be the consumers of the goods and services these wealthy businessmen produce. It would be in the best interest for business to empower the population so that business will continue to thrive. Now government is different. Politicians tend to love Big Government and they love to use other people’s money to dole out to the general masses because they would immensely benefit from the vote when they keep the general electorate dependent on their dole-outs.


    2. Let me add, there are lots of people who are discriminated on the basis of religion, race and sex, and they persevere and still come out winners. I think it boils down to, who are too LAZY to work out their lives, using this discrimination as an excuse, or who fight on and work on their success despite the discrimination. Well, partially, but see what I said as mostly true.

  9. Education clearly is critical to a country’s development and prosperity, but is only truly beneficial, for the individual and state, if it provides a solid general foundation when young, and subsequently, high quality and appropriate vocational and technical courses at college/university.
    Educating people primarily so that they can get a better job abroad and send back higher remittances is economically, morally, socially wrong, and strategically misguided.

    “In the next few weeks, about half a million students will graduate
    from more than 2,000 colleges and universities in the
    Philippines. That would have been a source of joy for many
    people, except that based on statistics, only about 30 to 40
    percent of them would find any kind of employment, and only
    about 5 to 10 percent would be employed in jobs that match their
    course, while close to 60 percent would join the growing ranks of
    the unemployed.”
    Manila standard today – 27 march 2013

    Creative solutions, mentoring programmes, centres of excellence, the use of technology and distance learning, industry scholarships, overseas lecturers/volunteers are just some ways of spreading knowledge/education whilst increasing the quality of teaching, within budgetary constraints.

    But ultimately if there are not the right jobs/economic programmes, or people do not want to commit to learning then such discussiins will largely be simply academic.
    Even in business process outsourcing it is increasingly difficult to find high calibre staff, and certainly not people who can develop knowledge process outsourcing solutions, big data and analytics, or even the simple development of mobile apps.

    I have observed that the quality of graduates is generally very low.
    Few commit to lifelong learning and self improvement once they have finished university.
    Creativity, critical thinking and problem solving skills are hard to find.

    More funds for education may only be throwing good money after bad if the fundamentals are not right.

    1. Precisely. It’s foolish to consider the question of overhauling the educational system in a vacuum without relating it to labor laws and practices, and local industries, to make people more productive, more employable with the ultimate goal of making the economy less dependent on foreign BPOs and OFW remittances.

    2. Hi Libertas! Yes, I think you are correct. The value of education is very real. However, without the availability of the right jobs and economic programmes or commitment to continuous learning, then people would only be left to stare at their diplomas hanging on the wall. Thanks for reading!

  10. Thanks for reading, Tokwa! Well, I’m hesitant to accept the idea of one silver bullet that can cure all of our ills but discipline sure sounds great to me. 🙂

    1. It’s obvious that Filipinos so lack this. Just look at the roads. I agree with what Rep. Catalina Bagasina said on this, that lack of discipline by drivers and pedestrians is the biggest cause of traffic jams. Others can argue it isn’t so much, but no, it certainly is a cause.

  11. Education is also not simply the sole preserve of schools/universities.
    It is also a function of parenting, role models, and media. In many respect it is these aspects which establish the innate drive in individuals, and which are sorely lacking.
    People with the drive and values can, and do, achieve.
    Many with a ‘piece of paper’ only become indolent, and achieve little, despite a head start.
    The university of hard knocks has produced many successes, and invariably they cite their parents as instrumental by instilling the right values.

    “Give me the child until 5, and i will give you the man” freud.

  12. Isnt it that when it comes to needs, food/water, shelter, transportation, education and the like (sorry too tired to think more thoroughly), the government gives us access to them. Either they are providing it, or they gave someone the opportunity to provide.

    There is no fathomable reason that any of those are free. And for vince, i would ask you where any of these are completely free of charge?

    Hk, sg, taiwan, us, canada and eu all charge for transportation, shelter, food and water.

    Public school system, i really believe, should extend up to high school level. There is no reason that it should extend up to tertiary education. Ofcourse, oncw you graduate high school, you should be qualified to work with skills you gain thru elective courses or even pursue vocational

    For those that cant afford college, they explore (as posters mentioned above) grants or subsidies. This approach lifts the burden to government and concentrates/focuses efforts in primary and secondary QUALITY EDUCATION.

    You also remove the stigma that college diplomas define success. They do not and this stigma is actually the problem. They create what i call ‘diploma factories’ where you get sub par graduates.

    Ive come across a computer engineering graduate who doesnt know squat about PCs. It is sad but true. It is hard to regulate these because there are courses that dont have board exams to be regulated further. And even those with regulation, there are still those that get away with providing sub par education like those for nursing. Unless the graduate goes above and beyond what the ‘school’ offers, the graduate wont have a leg to stand on.

    Why focua on quantity, when you need quality?

    1. Interesting thought, Sphynx! There is no debate that we all have a right to life. In order to live we need food and water, for instance. The government isn’t mandated to provide everyone free food and water and as you pointed out, we do pay for these. Of course this is different if you live alone in the woods and provide for your own physiological needs. But for even if you live alone in the woods, it is absurd to expect the government being mandated to reach out to you to provide the free food and water it offers. Basically, the government is only required to ensure everyone have access to food and water but this access does not necessarily mean that it is free.

      With regards to the public school system being free up to high school, I think the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is with you on that one as well.

      Regarding diploma mills, this is a sad phenomenon in the Philippines. I have also encountered many graduates of the Philippine state colleges and universities who are absolutely clueless of their field of study. But does not really surprise me because as I have mentioned, State subsidies to accommodate folks who aren’t exactly college material encourage more of these non-college material folks. The more students get in the more workload public teachers have to deal with. With very limited government funding, leaving very little room for salary increases for teachers and school upkeep, we have quality teachers leaving the public institutions for greener pastures. (And I don’t blame them.) All of these factors contribute to the degradation of quality. So you are correct… there is certainly quantity but quality is in question. Thanks for reading!

  13. “81% of filipino are happy with their life” according to sws today – or was it yesterday and an april fool!

    why learn when life is so good.

  14. Another addition: Education is not only found in schools. Parents seem to be failing to teach their children properly, since they themselves seem to be lacking in knowledge… or the kids have become too stubborn thanks to today’s entertainment media… one which promotes dole-outs and sense of entitlement!

  15. Education is only a tool for success. We have too many educated people, working as Domestic Helpers in foreign countries. Many with high education, are underemployed. so, if you have college degree. What you do with your degree is what matters.
    Success depends on the drive of the person. No matter how you help a person, if he/she has no will to succeed. All your efforts will be wasted. Sometimes luck and right timing also plays a part…

  16. Hi Vince! I guess you are a Math major? Sorry… I am not a Mathematician and I was lousy in Math back in school. (I still am as my wife tells me 🙂 hehehe) So I’ll just say Amen to your fancy Mathematical terms. 🙂 LOL Anyway, I dig what you say about the value of education. I think our disconnect is on the question whether higher education must necessarily be free.

    Are you familiar with David Hume? He articulated what is called the “is-ought” problem. What the heck is this all about? Well, there are 2 kinds of statements that we can recognize. The first kind is called “factual statement” (e.g. The sky is blue, Vince is a human being, etc.). These statements make factual assertions, nothing more. The second kind is what we call “value judgment” (e.g. it is wrong to tell a lie or to murder, it is wrong to deprive everyone of college education.). These statements go further and state that something ought to be the case. The point in this is that these 2 kinds of statements are fundamentally different. There is a logical gap between the 2 and we can’t move from one to the other without an adequate stepping stone called the “bridge premise”. The problem is this is often overlooked.

    Consider this. Person X is told that he ought to donate one of his kidneys so that his brother. When asked why, he was told that if he didn’t, his brother will surely die. So what’s wrong with this? Well, for one, saying that he ought to donate one of his kidney is a value judgment. The reason given for why he ought to do so was a simple fact. The factual statement was that if he didn’t donate the kidney, his brother would die. Does this seem like a perfectly good reason for Person X to donate his kidney? No, at least not by itself. You see, the person urging Person X to donate one of his kidneys jumped directly from a factual statement to a value judgment. He seems to think that this factual statement alone supports the value statement and shows it to be true. But it only seems like a strong reason because he is assuming something else. He is assuming that it is better for Person X’s brother to live than to die.

    Yup, that is an assumption. It is assuming that that it is really better for this brother to live than to die, and if not donating the other kidney would allow him to die, then Person X ought to donate it. But notice something. That value judgment simply doesn’t follow from the factual statement alone. By itself, the fact that not donating the kidney to the sick brother would allow a preventable death tells us nothing about what ought to be done. You need an in between assumption. If we had a different assumption, this factual statement might not make the value judgment true at all. Suppose this person asserting Person X ought to donate one of his kidneys concluded that because of some highly unusual circumstances, it would be better for his cousin to die peacefully. Maybe the sick guy is an Adolf Hitler who has caused millions of death and would continue to do so if he survives the ordeal. With this, the factual statement would no longer be a reason for thinking that the value judgment is true. If it was better for this sick brother to die and if donating Person X’s kidney would cause his sick brother to live, then Person X ought NOT to donate the kidney.

    The point is, that factual statements alone, is not enough to give us an adequate reason for thinking that a value judgment is true. There is always a bridge premise. To show that the value judgment is true, we must not only show that the supporting factual statement is true, we must also show that the bridge premise between the factual statement and value statements is true.

    Now let’s test this on your assertion that (higher) education is the solution to all of our society’s problems, therefore it ought to be given to everyone (including the poor) for free.

    The factual statement here is that education is the solution to all of our society’s problems, the value judgment (statement) is that it ought to be given free of charge. Of course, we must first see if the factual statement is true. But as we have seen from other posters, there are valid reasons why education isn’t necessarily the silver bullet it is thought out to be. We haven’t proven that the notion that education is the silver bullet to all our problems, is indeed true. There are many reasonable arguments that disagree with that notion as you have seen from the other posters. Unfortunately, going back to the factual statement that education is the silver bullet remains an assumption or a postulate. Next, you also have to show that the bridge premise between your “factual statement” and “value statement” is true. But not only are you unclear about what your bridge premise is, you also have not proven if whatever bridge premise you are presenting, is indeed true. So you see why I’m not buying your assertion?


  17. One could not simply demand to the government free education in totality (from basic to tertiary). One would not learn to strive for himself if one will just open its palms every time to the government for everything you need. True, it is the government’s duty to educate its citizens, but one must also put an effort to educate themselves. If you want good things to happen to you, you must also be willing to give something. Its like business, you invest your money, run your business wisely, hence you reap the fruits. Let us stop with this lotto mentality that we want to have riches without taking out a cent. And education is no different. You want good education? Then be willing to pay the price of good education. I’m not implying that one’s education is only limited to his parents’ paycheck, but tertiary education is a battleground for “survival of the fittest”. To end, i would like to quote Derek Bok, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”

  18. Look up Finnish educational system for inspiration to reform quality of education in our country. Their government doesn’t spend so much to get kids to school and students don’t even spend many hours there. And yet they produce kids who excelled the best in science and mathematics. Teachers are experts in their fields and are highly regarded by Finnish society. Parents, teachers and government support and cooperation are what made their system very effective.

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