Thursday, January 27, 2011

Education in the Philippines: To Enlighten or just to Consume?

Education in the Philippines: To Enlighten or just to Consume?

By Lualhati Madlangawa Guererro

From the University belt to the halls of Diliman and every other temples of education around the Philippines, carries a problem that is, difficult to be solved upon, as well as an object of protests-especially when it comes to financial reasons and worse? On the status of Education in general in the country-if it is to Enlighten or just to Consume.

I, like any other student, think about this kind of problem regarding the Education situations prevailed nowadays. That we are compelled much to take this and that, to pay big, to endure anything as expected just to earn a degree and to wear a black toga for the picture. But, are we sure that what we study made us to Enlighten? Or being pressed by the system to Consume and after finishing, having a job contradictory to the profession? Sounds desperate as expected!

But most people remained apathetic about it-especially as they enter the four corners of the institution, paying higher tuition fees just to reach their dreams regardless of the difficulty and inconveniences they had to endure. Yes, that they even experienced water dropping from the ceiling and chalk dust from the board.

And yet they still continue to pay regardless of the increasing percentage of fees just to pursue. Most of them came from the working class, and most of them end up stopped out of financial reasons and other related issues being said so; some tried to return but still, end up as expected.

Sorry to say about these words but to tell frankly, that Education nowadays in the Philippines are far from its objectives. They are just obliging the youth to take subjects to consume than to enlighten-all thanks to the West, who sponsors education as a tool for modern-day slavery, all in aguise of enlightenment, but not really as expected nowadays.

Speaking of education just 'to consume' than 'to enlighten'? Of Western interference in Educational as well as in Socio-Cultural affairs in the Philippines? Where does it all started?

According to Zureta, the globalization of education began in Asia with the University of Santo Tomas taking the lead 400 years ago in the year 1611. That the Spaniards, with their God, Gold, and Glory, nearly destroyed the Philippine Civilization and replaced with their Civilization, that according to them as advanced and far reaching just like their motto "Plus Ultra" or Further Beyond. And UST, being the first Church and State supported Institution, alongside from other religious orders spread the use of Religion and Education as a tool both to enlighten and to forcibly consume by the natives in their "Civilizing" the entire archipelago.

Natives are deeply affected by these: their traditions were burned after being accused as Satanic or Witchcraft related, that they forced to pay tributes and do forced labor, that the Colonizers tolerated ages-old elitism of the Maharlikas made them compel to revolt yet failed since they are scattered and more into specific issues until the advent of Gomburza, Rizal, and the Proletarian Bonifacio. Other ones such as Bayot, Novales, are more into the Insular and of the Mestizo gentry that, like the natives, end up defeated by their Castilian superiors.

Same as during the American period. The Americans really emphasised on Education all through Public, Secular kind of Education being imposed to by the State. Numerous public schools are being built on the purpose of training them into Teaching personnel, future members of the State Machinery, and as expected, Semi-Skilled workers like those in PUP, then as PCC. The University of the Philippines posed as a Secular alternative to the Religious-centric Ateneo and UST, that they created members of the State Machinery willing to serve the Colonial Government followed by the Commonwealth. And again, the Americans imposed decrees trying to stunt the growth of People-centric Patriotism, whilst tolerating Conservatism and Patriotism that was catered to the Elite like those of Quezon and Osmena.

Until today, the repressive conditions on Education marks the continuation of that tradition. That the West tolerated it, this time fueled by Commercialization, Golibalization, Deregulation, Privatization or even Monopolization of every educational institutions by the Elite; imposing such actions that is, detrimental to the Studentry and to the People as well. The increase in Tuition fees, Exorbitant fees, even charges that seemingly end up in the coffers than for development. If there is, like in the University of the East for example, are rather for painting walls instead of major overhaul since they got much profits into it out of their 5 % increase.

Most people are expecting this hell of a kind mess set forth by the rotten social order when it comes to the Education problem. That a wave of protests lies in response to budget cuts and increase in Tuition and other fees, followed by Scholastic fascism and other related acts detrimental to Academic freedom and to the Studentry in general. Education nowadays really meant not to enlighten the youth, that in a policy wherein putting emphasis to cheap labour and making the Nation backward, education is as if a packaged good to be consumed-that knowing how to read and write, to obey without critical thinking as a requirement for the modern-day slave trade.

Yes, and how come?
In the University of the Philippines, the Revitalized General Education Program insisted Students to take what is what being "served" by the College instead of through free will. One anecdote said:

"...But such was not the case, as I discovered the moment I saw the course outline for the BS Applied Physics program which identified each and every subject that I had to take. I was disappointed, to say the least, and I even questioned why I had to take certain subjects like Kas 1 (Philippine History) and Kas 2 (World History), when I had already taken classes which more or less covered the same topics all throughout high school. Apparently, the “cafeteria style” of college general education, as it is called, while popular in universities in other countries such as the United States, was unheard of in UP. The only choice UP college students had, with respect to their college subjects, was the few electives they were allowed and, generally, how to schedule their classes."

Like in America as what the writer said, UP tried to emulate the "Cafeteria style" approach when it comes to General Education, but seems that, like in a Cafeteria, what is served is being served, no other menu except what is being written. And the subjects? Aside from a rehash from their previous years, are rather acting as requirements just to earn a diploma, ready to be consumed than a means to enlighten.

As another writeup said:

"A UP student is required to take at least 45 units of GE courses, ideally before taking major courses. These are divided into 15 units each in Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences and Philosophy, and Natural Sciences and Mathematics. These courses are intended to enable the student to live meaningfully and to contribute to society."

Yup, that 45 units may have been equivalent to bigger amounts to be paid by an individual since UP imposed its tuition increase and on the advent of budget cuts what every UP student angered about with. Yes, that GE subjects are beneficial in its appearance, yet, like the others, are being forced to be consumed by the students all for the sake of earning a diploma! After all, are we studying in a school or in a prison wherein forced feeding is implemented?

And after graduation, what conclusion will that ex-student will be? Will that person easy got a job? Ya, but what kind of job? In a call centre? Abroad? or to be a part of the massed ranks of the unemployed? The Educational system the West and the system encouraged got its long term effects as we noticed. Yes, there are jobs as a conclusion, but are they really high paid and suitable for their vocation according to their course major?

Whether you are in Public or Private, Iskolar of the Nation or Thomasian imbued with Unending Grace, the Education you attained are to be consumed than to enlighten. That you pay too much fees and endure the long hours for the goddamn sake of good grades, diploma, and honours-while ending up in a massed ranks of unemployed, semi-skilled workers, or slaves with portfolio. The system tolerates this, but are you willing to tolerate it?

We'll expect more arduous protests imbued with Struggle this time. as the UST hymn saidth: "Ever your valiant Legions, Imbued with Unending Grace!"

The masses are thy Legions, and their struggle for National Democracy is their unending Grace!