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Problems and Issues in Philippine Education Essay

1. Colonial historiography.

Most of the past and present teachers, book authors, and Social Studies consultants give heavier premium to the history of the colonizers in the Philippines, and not to the history of Filipinos. Mostly, this has been the case in the teaching of History subjects from the elementary to tertiary levels and will most likely perpetuate in the next generations to come. The history of the Filipino people and the colonial history of the Philippines are two different topics altogether. 2. Internationalization of the division of labor.

To a certain extent, the Philippine educational system conditions its students to be skillful in arithmetic and computer literacy, fluent in foreign languages (specifically English and Nihonggo), and docile in order to serve as workers of the transnational businesses of the advanced, capitalist countries. Take the case of the call center phenomenon in the Philippines, India and other developing states.

3. Emasculation and demoralization of teachers.
Teachers, more often than not, are victimized by the over-worked and under-paid policy of the system of the past and present dispensations. This leads to the emasculation and demoralization of their ranks. This probably explains why the teaching profession is not attracting the best and the brightest from the crop of students anymore. Expectedly, this will correspondingly result to the vicious cycle of mediocrity in education.

4. Fly-by-night educational institutions
. By any measure, the proliferation of fly-by-night educational institutions is counter-productive. In the long run, it produces a pool of half-baked, unprepared, and incompetent graduates. Alarmingly, the country is having an over-supply already. Some would even consider them as liabilities than assets. This case is true for both undergraduate and graduate studies.

5. Culturally and gender insensitive educational system.
Women, the common tao and the indigenous people are almost historically excluded from the Philippine historiography in favor of the men, heroes from Luzon and the power elite. Women are marginalized and trivialized even in language of education. Take the case of the terms female lawyer (as if lawyer as a profession is exclusive only to men) and manpower (which should have been human resources or human capital to be more politically correct). 6. State abandonment of education.

In the name of imperialist globalization, the state—in an incremental fashion—is abandoning its role to subsidize public education particularly in the tertiary level. This comes in the form of matriculation, laboratory and miscellaneous fee increases in order to force state colleges and universities (SCUs) to generate their own sources of fund. Ironically, the bulk of the budget (in fact, more than one-third in the case of 2005 National Budget) goes to debt servicing.

7. Sub-standard textbooks.
Some textbooks which are already circulation are both poorly written and haphazardly edited. Take the case of the Asya: Noon at Ngayon with an identified total number of more than 400 historical errors. Unfortunately, it is just one of the many other similar atrociously written textbooks which are yet to be identified and exposed. This is a classic case of profit-centeredness without regard to social accountability.

8. Widespread contractualization.
In the name of profit, owners and administrators of several private schools commonly practice contractualization among their faculty members. Contractual employees unlike their regular/tenured counterparts are not entitled to fringe benefits which consequently reduces the over-all cost of their business operation. Job insecurity demeans the ranks of the faculty member

9. Undue disregard for specialization.
Some colleges and universities encourage their faculty pool to be generalists (under the guise of multidisciplinary approach to learning) in order to be able to handle various subjects all at once. But some faculty members have turned out to be objects of mockery and have lost their self-esteem since some of them were pushed to handle Technical Writing, General Psychology, Filipino, and Algebra at the same time. This is prevalent among some franchised academic institutions even if the subjects are already off-tangent their area of interest and specialization. 10. Copy-pasting culture.

Over-dependence to the cyberspace has dramatically reduced the capability of students (even teachers) to undertake research. ‘Copy-pasting’ has even turned into a norm among some students whenever they are tasked to submit a research paper or even a film review. Needless to say, plagiarism has already transformed into a more sophisticated form in the context of today’s electronic age.

11. Mc Donaldized education.
The system, methodology, and even content of education in the Philippines are mere haphazard transplantation from the West. It is therefore Eurocentric, culturally insensitive, and non-reflective of the local milieu. This is based on the xenocentric (foreign-centered) premise that other culture or system is far more superior than one’s own.

12.The problem of non-sustainability and non-continuity.
Teachers, administrators and publishers are all left in limbo whenever the DepEd would come up with another totally different directive from what it used to have in a rather very sudden interval. Take the case of the grading system, timeframe allotted to various subjects, MAKABAYAN program, readiness test, and learning competencies.

13. Poor regard for liberal art/education.
Liberal education is intended to form a holistic individual equipped with communication, critical thinking, mathematical, creative, inter-personal and intra-personal skills. This explains why we also have Philosophy, Languages, Humanities, Natural Science, Social Science, Physical Education and even Theology in our college curriculum, and not only our major subjects. The curriculum is specifically designed to produce a total person, and not only a technical specialist. Unfortunately, the desired objective is not being met at all since liberal education is regarded only as a set of minor subjects.

With the way these subjects are being handled (taking into account both content and methodology), students view the entire exercise as an unnecessary duplication of what they have already covered in high school. Equally alarming is the lack of enthusiasm and motivation exhibited by some professors to handle the subject especially if they believe that it has nothing to do with the course or area of specialization of their students (say, Art Appreciation for Accounting majors or Algebra for Creative Writing majors).

13. Education a purveyor of myth.
Education has been very effective in mainstreaming and perpetuating the social myths in a subtle and indirect manner. Some of these myths are the perceived superiority of white, educated men, ‘official’ history as advanced by the western point of view, globalization as the only way to achieve economic development, and stereotypes against the minoritized and the disenfranchised.

14. Further marginalization of the undersubscribed courses.
In the name of profit and as a response to the dictates of the market forces, colleges and universities prefer to offer more courses in line with the health sciences like nursing, medical transcription, and care-giving. This is done at the expense of the already undersubscribed yet relevant courses like Area Studies, Pilipinolohiya (Philippine Studies), Development Studies, Philippine Arts, Art Studies, Community Development, Social Work, Islamic Studies, Clothing Technology, and Ceramics Engineering.

15. Monolithic education.
Some educators in the name of conservatism and for the sake of convenience, prefer the old-style teaching paradigm where they view themselves as the fountain of knowledge and their students as nothing but empty vessels to be filled up (banking method of education). Modern education has ushered in learner-centered approach to education (from being the sage in the stage to just a guide on the side).

16. Atrociously boring teachers.
As I always underscore, there are no boring subjects, only boring teachers.
But at least we should recognize them because they still serve a purpose. They serve as bad examples.

16. Brain drain
Apart from the much debated political, social and psychological aspects, this ongoing mass emigration constitutes an unparalleled brain drain with serious economic implications.Arguably, the phenomenon also has an educational dimension, as the Philippine society is footing the bill for the education of millions of people, who then spend the better part of their productive years abroad. In effect, the poor Philippine educational system is indirectly subsidizing the affluent economies hosting the OFWs. With 95 per cent of all elementary students attending public schools, the educational crisis in the Philippines is basically a crisis of public education. The wealthy can easily send their offspring to private schools, many of which offer first-class education to the privileged class of pupils.

Problems and Issues in K to 12 Curriculum
It is not that difficult to understand why, despite the additional costs the program would entail, the public generally appears to take President Benigno Aquino III’s K to 12 basic education program sitting down. That is if state-sponsored surveys are to be believed. The House Committee on Basic Education claims majority of the public surveyed during its consultations favored the K to 12 program, while separate consultations by theDepartment of Education (DepEd) showed 77 percent of the 1,417 people consulted nationwide supported Aquino’s flagship education program. For one, DepEd tried to make the lengthening of the basic education cycle palatable by saying the additional junior and senior high school levels would make students ready for the world of work when they graduate in high school.

Even as public elementary and high school education continues to be free under the new system, other expenses such as transportation, allowance, food, school projects and other school expenses would still burden families and take up a significant portion of the family budget. However, what apparently makes parents willing to shoulder such costs is the empty promise of employability after their children receive their hard-earned diplomas. In the present scheme of things, the function of education is already reduced to the individual’s mere employability. The K to 12 program reinforces this societal function of education. Society also continues to regard education as essential to social mobility, an “investment” worth undertaking as the “costs do not outweigh the benefits.” Owing to its highly commercialized character, tertiary education has also become inaccessible for many Filipinos.

Dominated by the private sector, higher educational institutions charge students with sky-high tuition and miscellaneous fees that remain unregulated and unchecked. Even as college education gives the student an advantage in the vicious and highly-competitive search for job opportunities, many youths forgo college schooling simply because they cannot afford it. This makes the K to 12’s employability factor more appealing and acceptable to the parents, who are made to believe that under the new education system, college education is a path which is not for everyone to tread. Lastly, any educational reform almost always appeals to many especially since there is a general consensus that our present state of education is in disarray. The word “reform” is always easy for the public to swallow because any move to veer away from the present arrangement of things is viewed as a welcome development. Reaction/comment

Government officials and other advocates who are so insistent in adding two more years in the school cycle should thus join the clamor for higher wages and the regulation of prices of basic commodities and services, push for the expansion and institutionalization of student financial support systems and scholarships, and more importantly, fight for greater state subsidy to education at all levels. Any education reform program that does not take into account economic and other social factors that affect a person’s schooling is bound to fail especially when its supposed beneficiaries cannot keep pace. The public should not take the K to 12 program as a bitter pill to swallow. It should not pass judgment on the program based solely on its glittery promise of honing the student for employability, and the additional costs that parents have to shoulder.

The heavy financial burden that comes with the implementation of the program is just one of the many issues on the surface. Basic problems such as lack of teacher training and the failure of the government to address input gaps are also considerations that if left unaddressed may imperil the full implementation of the program. But a fundamental flaw of the program that merits equal attention is its inability to address the problem of decreasing access to education. Aquino’s K to 12 is anchored on improving the competencies of in-school youths but fails to consider the situation of the growing number of out-of-school youths in the country who should enjoy the universally-acknowledged right of access to educational services. Furthermore, school survival rates are not merely influenced by the student’s mental and cognitive abilities.

Poverty, the peace situation, and other societal factors all contribute to the increasing drop-out rates that cannot be remedied by mere curricular reforms and additional years of schooling. What use does a more “enjoyable” learning experience have when the student cannot even afford to go to school due to his or her financial woes? The K to 12 is marketed as a program wherein the student is given the option to pursue different paths upon graduation: employment, entrepreneurship, and higher education. This freedom of choice touted by the K to 12 proponents, however, is illusory since the student’s choice is actually limited by the reality that higher education has become a privilege and that the worsening economic conditions in the country are pushing Filipinos to seek jobs instead of pursuing higher education.

The program’s objective to produce “globally competitive graduates” also run counter to the supposed freedom that the student possesses in choosing his or her career path. In reality, under the present economic set-up, the prescriptions of market dictates shape our choices and decisions, be it in the brands we purchase, the artists we subscribe to, the course we take in college, and even in the profession or occupation we wish to have. With the government systematically and aggressively promoting the export of labor and the dependence on external sources of jobs and economic growth through its economic policies, it can be expected that majority of the jobs and fields of learning that the students would be pursuing are those that are in tune with the demands of global market—call center jobs, technical-vocational jobs abroad, etc.

It is contemptible, how at a young age people are told to pursue whatever dreams they have but education agencies would be coming up with a list of courses that are highly discouraged simply because they are not what the global market demands. Thus, the observation that the real motive behind the K to 12 education reform program is to further intensify labor export by systematically targeting the country’s young labor force, and further service the demands of multinational firms is not without basis. As seen from the K to 12 curriculum, there is a noticeable focus given to technology and livelihood education (TLE) during high school, with the learner even obtaining a certificate of competency required by industries. In Grades 7 and 8, TLE subjects are exploratory, which means that the learner is given the opportunity to learn 5 basic competencies:

1) mensuration and calculation,
2) use of tools and equipment,
3) interpretation of plans/drawing
4) occupational health and safety in the workplace
5) maintenance of tools and equipment.
In Grade 9, the learner chooses one course to specialize in from among the exploratory courses and in Grade 10, he/she pursues the TLE specialization that he/she has chosen in the previous grade in order for him/her to obtain at least a National Certificate Level I or Level II. There is completely nothing wrong with developing the technical and vocational skills of the citizens if these are oriented towards genuine economic development through national industrialization. However, the present economic orientation of the country shows that tech-voc courses supply either the demands abroad or the pool of skilled reserve labor servicing multinational firms which take advantage of the country’s cheap skilled labor.

While the intentions seem laudable at first glance, the underlying context of the implementation of the K to 12 program could be best understood by looking at the government’s problematic general development framework that is the Philippine Development Plan, which seeks to reinforce the country’s adherence to the flawed development paradigm of neoliberal globalization. The K to 12 program’s thrust of producing “21st century graduates” is nothing but an affirmation and a reinforcement of the country’s role in the uneven world order where economies such are ours are molded according to the interests of the powers-that-be. Thus, the K to 12 education program can be considered a sine qua non for the fulfillment of the government’s agenda of trawling the path of the globalization project, which has only made the country vulnerable to the world economic crisis and has yielded the very crisis that plagues Philippine education. Our country has gone through many changes and development for the past few years. The continuous process made great impacts in the lives of millions of Filipinos.

Relatively, the changes have given us advantages not to mention the disadvantages it brought causing downfall to many people. There are numerous questions concerning the issues and problems existing in the Philippine Educational System as to how we can resolve it the best way we could to attain that kind of quality of education we have been searching and longing for. Where do we begin and how do we respond to such? Public schools are the building blocks of our societies. They can be considered our foundational instruments. Although these venues of learning play significant roles, they are unable to provide the best they can, due to their numerous flaws.

As I’ve gone through different readings and researches, questions were arising in my mind as to what solutions are applicable in addressing the problems about the quality of education, affordability, budget, mismatch, integration of sex education in the curriculum, R.A. 9710 (Magna Carta for Women) and other concerns which are somehow related to it. I will always stand for what I believe in according to my observations that we have good guidelines and policies on education but what is lacking is the ability to implement such in accordance to the needs of every school, majority of which belong to the public education system. Generally, Philippine Education aims to provide quality and free education both for the elementary and secondary public schools but again this have not been observed and understood well causing it to be a burden most especially to the students and parents.

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