PhilSTAR columnist Boo Chanco in his piece today laments “our compromised future” writing how a “fast-growing young population not equipped with the skills to help themselves and the economy to move forward faster” making for a “grim” future considering that “it will take more than two or three presidencies to overhaul DepEd and get our education system straight… assuming we elect the right presidents.” It is indeed compromised because corruption is also prevalent in public educational institutions along with politics due to political patronage in appointments, particularly in local city universities. This is the problem with free education. Along with these is non-adherence to qualification standards set by the Civil Service Commission and the Commission on Higher Education. I had an earlier piece on corruption in public education where I pointed out various institutionalised illegal practices perpetrated by crooked and unqualified personnel in both administrative riles and within the faculty. Politics has also reared its ugly head in local city universities and state colleges and universities.
Many of these institutions are run by remote control by their Presidents who were selected not on the basis of qualification and experience but because of political patronage. What happens more often than not, is the institution becomes a milking cow for the powers-that-be leaving the students to their devices going about things their own way as well. The continuing education of faculty members is a joke because they either enrol in the same institution or other state universities and colleges (SUCs) for further studies which are also fraught with anomalies. The vicious cycle is complete.
The Department of Education (DepEd) is in bad shape as well. This is the reason why learning modules are low quality. It is reflective of the quality of teachers either in the system or entering the system from the SUCs. The compensation for public educational institutions is now competitive with that of the private schools. The pension benefit from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) is also higher than that of the Social Security System (SSS) which is why teachers are transferring from the private schools to local universities and colleges (LUCs) and SUCs. Not only is the pay and pension better but there is also the extremely laid-back environment.
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The teachers of today are so unlike the teachers of old who had passion for their profession and the value systems which molded the youth to have the desire to excel. Nowadays, mediocrity is the norm. The teachers go about their responsibilities by rote. This is why students have been complaining about remote learning — not that the students themselves are not at fault as we are all aware of the attitude problem of Gen Zers who lack mental fortitude and the drive for excellence.
Education should be an election issue. The pandemic has forced parents to transfer their children to LUCs and SUCs which has put private educational institutions in survival mode. A friend who is a college dean in one of the lower-middle tier category in terms of tuition fees told me that they had a significant drop in enrolment in both their senior high school and college enrolment for the coming school year. The larger other problem is the inability of the DepEd and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to adopt Education 4.0 as the basis for whole education system. The lack of a comprehensive roadmap for the transition is the main reason why there is confusion among teachers and students reigns.
Parents are naturally concerned about the situation but they are helpless because their financial capabilities have been impacted by the pandemic. It is about time that the government address the issues moving forward. In this election cycle, the state of education should be a hot-button issue among voters. Candidates should have a clear plan of action in their platforms, specifically those who are aspiring for the Presidency. There is no time to waste. The pandemic will not end anytime soon. The adjustments have to be made. Otherwise, our competitiveness will again suffer.
Chanco couldn’t be mature enough not to take a dig at the President about bullying closing his piece by suggesting how “the bad example from our politicians including the one in the highest office… the bully-in-chief” contributes to the problem of bullying in our schools. There’s a whole world of difference. He should be mature enough to understand this. It’s not a sign of maturity if a man of his age and experience can still be petty.
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