The Problems with an Education in the Philippines

Well, I’ve already said quite a bit about the media, I know. However, I think it’s time we got to discuss the possible solutions to the rapidly degenerating literacy rate of the Philippines. First and foremost, just like Rizal, I think that education is indeed key to the success of any country. If we really want to lift ourselves up from being the laughing stock banana republic of Southeast Asia, then I think it’s time we tried to focus on the things that can help improve our knowledge and provide the right kind of lifestyle for the common Filipino citizen.


Unfortunately, just like the media, Philippine education seems to have its own set bizarre and unwanted issues that prevent it from being of greater help to the Filipino people:

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Well, I’m sure that most of you are more than a little familiar with this one. I, for one, am not all that surprised about it either. Well, just so most of you know, it’s been stated that majority of the taxes we pay supposedly goes to the department of education. If that is indeed the case, why are there so many students in the Philippines who are forced to study without classrooms, books or a means of safe transport.

The K-12 system which is supposed to be imposed this coming 2016 may look well on paper but its implications may prove to be more difficult considering the kind of culture we have. With just about every kind of process, be it a business transaction, a religious service or a legislative action involving a backroom deal, it’s less about the greater good and more about how much the people in charge can profit from the event.

Unqualified Personnel And Materials

No offense to teachers who may read this, but I have met my share of supposed “academics” who have nothing better to do than look out for number one. For every good teacher out there who wants to provide students with correct lessons, good ideas and with a dedication to giving children a brighter future, there are those who are irresponsible about the safety of students as well as what kind of values they’re trying to espouse.

Then there are those study materials out there, books and what not that all too often prove to be inadequate in providing students with accurate information. Wrong ideas as well as wrong facts will never help students in becoming productive citizens.

The Media

Ah, here we are again. I simply can’t stop attacking the media, can’t I?

Well, the fact that the media is anti-intellectual is probably one of the biggest reasons we’re not going anywhere as a nation. With the demonization of otherwise good examples of Pinoys like Ms. Uy and promotion of the airheads in PBB, is there really any surprise that majority of Pinoys aren’t interested in learning? Does it ever occur to anyone that it is essentially the celebrity-centered media that has taught our youths that being a celebrity is far more profitable and desirable than a successful businessman, doctor or lawyer?

17 Replies to “The Problems with an Education in the Philippines”

  1. I only see like 10% or less, of our youth being the most successful in delivering change, with the rest being obsessed on things that won’t truly benefit themselves and the nation. These three factors combined is the great wall of anti-progress.

    If the media became intellectualist-centric, maybe there’s a chance for change, but I’m dreaming right because intellectualism shows don’t provide tv stations money, popularist-centric shows are! :p

  2. It is good to be popular and a celebrity. You can be elected as : Congressman, Senator, or even President.

    Look at Lito Lapid, Sotto, Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla, etc…Erap Estrada, even was elected as President.

    Marry also a celebrity, if you want to go to politics. Dancer, actress, singer, etc…

    Forget about College education, University degrees, and intelligence. If you get elected, you can bribe the Media, and control it. And you can enjoy your DAP, PDAF, Pork Barrel, etc…

  3. The ducation system in the country CAN produce fine minds,educated citizens… is possible. BUT you get what you pay for, and that is if your lucky in the Philippines.Usually what you pay for gets stolen, and resold to someone else,the ole Pinoy double-sale routine. No longer reserved for just foreigners, this sale and theft and resale by the same original salesperson is off-topic but it needs to be addressed, just like everything else in the kleptocracy that is the Philippines.The entire country is a scam, and it is just too bad as it ends up dragging down the rest of the country in a ‘crab-mentality’ disorder that seems to evade people yet they are hopelessly mired in it themselves.
    The Country is fucked.

  4. Sorry but whenever education setbacks in the Philippines is the topic, I can’t help but turn my raised eyebrow in the country’s media too.

    They are not the only ones at fault here for sure. The society in general and the families of the students have their share in the blame. But I truly believe that media has the bigger share. Why? Let me count what I think are the reasons:

    1) News programs

    Unless there are bigger stories to tell (impending disaster, war, and the like) what’s on the menu: (a) Politician X joined Political Party XX so he can run for president 2 years from now. And switching parties to achieve an ambition appeared cool, to prepare for an election years ahead. (b) Politician Y is reported dating Actress X – spends a long airtime. (c) Philippine economy gets a boost (yawn) – short airtime and instead focusing on the details of the news, anchor gets an analyst to ask “nararamdaman ba ‘to ng ordinaryong mamamayan?” Of course the already impoverished Filipino will answer “hindi” and it will be reinforced by the predictable answer of the analyst. The analyst seemed to miss explaining the hope part. (d) Showbiz news!!! Yehey!!! You know what happens next. – long, long, long airtime.

    I remember there was a news about a Near-Earth object that will miss us by a hair-line (in astronomical measurements of course) that was reported in one of our prime time news programs. To my dismay, apart from saying that it’s an asteroid according to PAGASA, the anchor next discussed that they interviewed an ASTROLOGER (not -NOMER) that said it has no effect in our future. (You don’t say) End of news.

    2) Variety shows

    Hey look Actor X here is good at dancing and is now rich and famous! I heard he didn’t finish schooling because of poverty but he got out of it.

    Kid: Ma, audition tayo.

    Ma: sige anak bukas na bukas din. wag ka na pumasok sa school. bobo ka naman e pero may talent ka.

    (nanay pa mismo nangunsinte)

    3) Teleseryes

    A lot of things are said about these.

    My wish now is that I can get Jamie and Adam (of Mythbusters) to come here and test the fantasy formulas of these soap operas to show that it will not work in the real world; to prove to the audience that these shows are mental poison that they’ve been feeding their minds long enough!!

    By the way, why did I mention soap operas as one of the problems in education? Because I myself saw when I was a student, the kilig moments in these shows are replicated by some of my classmates that even the teachers are impressed to the point that we all forgot we’re at school and we’re there to learn. Hindi para magligawan.

    4) Comedy shows

    Personally, I can appreciate Dolphy’s old style of making audience laugh because to me it still has a touch of decency. But now, I prefer more to watch Beavis and Butthead than be entertained by the “e di wow” comedy that is so popular today. One time I overheard two female high school students arguing over a topic at school. It ended with “ay ewan sige panalo ka na magaling ka e.” Tapos ang kwento! That’s how you conclude an argument now. By the way, why Beavis than the popular comedy now? kasi sa B & B mas pinagtatawanan ang lipunan; yung uso ngayon, madalas panlalait ng individual ang tema.

    5) Radio shows

    One time I heard something like this in the taxi:

    Female DJ: May email tayo humihingi ng payo tungkol sa bf nya na iniwan sya

    Male DJ: E di iwan din nya

    Female DJ: Oo nga! E di iwan mo din. Mag enjoy ka sa life mo…

    Wait, where’s the advise? Is that suppose to be helpful? Exactly what have we learned from that? Am I suppose to give the same advise if someone with a similar problem talks to me? Que horror…

    I can go on and on…

    Oopps I might get the “anong problema mo? Di naman tinatapakan ang karapatang pantao mo a”

    To answer (1) My problem is that the already deteriorating education of the country is made worse by the media; and (2) My human right is not being affected, directly. I bought a TV to be informed and be entertained. Since you seemed to be forcing your brand of entertainment in our throats, you might as well make it good! It’s not actually free TV, you know. If we the consumers stopped buying the products of your advertisers, who do you think will pay for your crappy shows?

    E di lumayas ka ng Pilipinas – oopps no one has the right to tell me that. Only I can renounce my citizenship. Besides, it’s not the country that I hate. It is only the few who is dragging the quality of intelligence of the Filipinos who I despise.

    E di wag ka manood. – I remember a few years ago there was a similar sentiment regarding the billboards along EDSA some of which shows women in bikinis that distracts some drivers. One model replied “e di wag ka tumingin” to which one article in the Reader’s Digest is applicable which says “if you don’t want to inhale smoke, don’t breathe.”

  5. Grimwald,
    I really hope that one day soon, I can comment on one of your articles saying: “spot on” followed by “the perfect article”.

    But you always seem to find ways to fail to amaze me. Probably you are blind or dont want to see the mechanisms working in your own country.

    Both the government, the educational system and the church wants to keep as many people as possible dumb, naive and ignorant. Because only then they (the government & the church) will gain and benefit most from it.

    My former partner is (but at least WAS a teacher) and a day at the office consisted primarily about keeping control over the kids (basically she doing work what a police man does; keeping order in the class room).
    This “law and order” took up about 50% of her daily job. Why? Because the Philippines have a weird notion called “no kid should be left behind”. Whereas in my country such kids are simply expelled (at least from the class room and maybe later from school).

    If you want change then you really have to start with the kids’ parents.
    I think you are very much into the harmony system and dont want to attack your own kind. And that is why it is much easier for you to attack the school system and the politicians.

    As long as my former partner needs to do (as teacher) what parents need to and should do, then she is wasting a lot of time.

    I am really sorry that you never seem to be able to write an article approaching it from every angle. You always approach it from YOUR fav angles (and not from every angle).

  6. Real education should consist of drawing the goodness and the best out of our own students. What better books can there be than the book of humanity?

  7. If I have a child in the future, there is no way I’d let them be educated here (my wife agrees). Raising a child in this education system and culture, when you have the option of giving them a better chance elsewhere, is basically child abuse.

    There are just too many things that baffle and frustrate me about what I’ve seen of education here:

    – Why do they start school so late? (My niece has to take kindergarten a second year because she can’t start grade one until she’s six!)

    – Why are they teaching my nephew in deep, traditional bisaya that even his bisaya-speaking family doesn’t understand?

    – Why do university courses involve general studies not related to the course (e.g. a science student has to complete modules in art, sport, Rizal, etc. That should have been dealt with in school – let your students concentrate on their actual degrees and maybe you’ll produce some competitive specialists!)

  8. Unqualified Personnel / Materials
    A teachers job is to cure ignorance and help discover the child’s aptitude and talents. In Finland, a teacher needs to have a Masters Degree. this profession is highly respected in the country.
    Finnish Education:

    The Media
    today media is a very powerful tool in educating not just the children but the society as well. sadly the networks in our country just wants to fatten their purse and exploit their talents instead of making informative tv shows. ABS-cbn probably has connection with the government. they’re one big family with the yellows.

  9. Hey Grimwald, thanks for touching on this topic of education. I know you just love to hate our media, but education is equally the culprit for the general regression of the intellectual and creative capacity of the Filipino masses. Actually I think the teachers are mainly at fault – being the role models of the next generation. One teacher in my alma mater would usually say before an exam – it’s ok to cheat as long as I don’t catch you. Now what kind of value system does that inculcate into the minds of future leaders of this country? Such careless attempts to make students laugh before a tense exam eventually has dire consequences on a national scale. Corruption has humble beginnings.

  10. “The Media”

    Cable channels and the Internet (the only problem would be the slow internet connection) can provide better shows than we have locally. Accdg to the, we now have 43M internet users in the Philippines (about 5% of total internet users in the world). Based on the, we have more internet users than TV users. The problem is when people only use the internet for socializing online. More internet subscription, the company involved will be forced to give better services, and if there’s more demand for internet services, competing company will offer better deals to its subscribers. I believe ABS-CBN has foreseen that the internet will soon kick their asses if the people get the right idea that’s why they are extending their services in the cyberworld. The Cable channels should also gamble on giving the Filipinos cable services. Nobody it seems is up to compete with the most popular TV station run by oligarchs. How can there be equal wealth distribution if there are no competitors?

  11. Where would all the products of a better education system go after completing school ? How many times have I heard of college graduates having to take jobs at McD’s or as janitors in Manila,because there is absolutely no other opportunities….oh gee I forgot about working the graveyard shift at a call center,now thats going places….and what the hell is up with “no one over 26 yrs old need apply”.???????..providing some light at the end of the tunnel,I.E.real jobs and opportunities might go a long way towards motivating everyone involved,students,parents,faculty and leaders,lifting them from what seems a hopeless situation…..If it’s any consolation,it is like this in many places around the world….

  12. Here are some reasons how those ‘turkeys’ that we call leaders have taken the country to where it is today.. this ‘sh*t creek’ we can’t seem to wade out of.
    1) Most Filipinos are functional illiterates even as the country’s ‘literacy’ rate is at 95.3%. Most sales clerks have had at least a year of college; most bus and jeepney drivers have been through high school; all the Armed Forces and Police personnel are high school graduates or better. These ranks do not yet include the government and private sector operatives;nor the teachers.. all of whom have college degrees. I suppose all these help achieve that 95.3%% figure. The problem, however, is that after school, this vast army of ‘literate’ persons stop learning. There is a dearth of anything to read that might enlighten and enrich their minds. The little that there is, in the way of reading material, is aimed at the ‘inteligentia’ who can appreciate and afford these trade journals, books and magazines. There, too, is a lack of public libraries.. even in most schools. Through no fault of theirs, the young Filipino mind stops to acquire knowledge after school.. and begins to deteriorate. With the population’s age median of below 24 years, this is such a pity.
    2) Schools’ curricula do not emphasize Civics. This is elemental to learning how to behave in a society. A good dose of Civics in schools, at all levels, could go a long way towards promoting civil discourse and unselfish inter-personal relationships. Civics is the foundation of politics and political choices.
    3) Movie and TV entertainment leave a lot to be desired in content and programming; and, as an industry, are missing out on the opportunity to uplift the viewers’ intellect. The mind-numbing inanities that are palmed-off as entertainment only serve to blunt and cripple already susceptible minds; and, movies that cater to the public’s voyeuristic appetites, definitely weaken and desensitize even stronger minds. These industries are, today, singularly driven by ‘profit’.
    4) Government officials and all politicians are probably aware of these problems, but are not inclined to do anything about them. They seem to be preoccupied solely by the ‘shelf life’ of their positions and/or by the next election cycle. This, of course, is motivated by the desire for more personal wealth. The more cynical among them would even desire a ‘status quo’.. even encourage clueless, but popular movie and TV personalities to join their slates.. promoting, thus, a country-image of being totally about ‘Show-biz’ and ‘Politics’.. and guaranteeing a trajectory towards mediocrity.
    5) The present system seems to have become a treadmill that the country is chained to. If one thinks that the country could not sink any lower, just remember.. ”a stream cannot rise higher than its source”. With ‘turkeys leading us, we just can’t soar like an eagle.

  13. Education would be dangerous to the treasonous criminals who lord it over us all, they wouldn’t want the populous actually being aware of what’s happening – cos it’s completely obvious to anyone with even half a brain. Keep us dumb, keep us scared – easy to control, easy to feed us with any nonsense they want, cos we always end up defending the fools – just read some of the comments throughout this blog! A chronically low average IQ of 86 (bordering abnormal) is perfect for them – just ensure we’re plied with plenty of noneducational trash like Showtime and bingo, sorted!

  14. I am a student and i wholeheartedly agree with you, yet guess what, that is the sad reality. i think you should consider as a factor our values and cultural tradition as Filipinos is contradictory to the 21st Century (especially since the government is trying to imitate the US so why not?) for one is we the youth is force to respect our elders however i believe that respect is something given and taken but in a school especially in Public where most teachers are ‘Trapos’ and ‘oldies’, questioning them rather sharing your idea that is contradicting to what they know is an insult already so as a student we are forced to accept that this is how the world goes and eventually after a few years we will be the shit heads that the future generation will be mocking. Kakaunti nalang talagang wala na talagang pag-asa sa Pinas.

  15. I think the profession in the Philippines should be regulated whereas if caught acting unprofessionally they are obliged to submit their licenses so that Filipino workers will be forced to act knowingly and not ‘Mema’ or ‘masabing nagtratrabaho lang’ cause what they are doing is directly influencing the current generation that in the future they can do that as well. Kill me already I am a shithead for enduring this trashy system, I don’t deserve it OmO

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