Sunday, November 06, 2005

CROSSING MY FINGERS



Mom left today for Davao City, my birth place, to attend a national congress of educators until Wednesday. She's attending it in her capacity as National Learning Coordinator of PLAN International. She texted me this earlier:

Her: "Airport is bustling with educators! Flight delayed 1 hour and 15 minutes. Pray everyone will learn and effect change."

Me:
"I'm crossing my fingers."

We're not naturally pessimistic, Mom and I, but we are always cautious about certain issues that we are both passionate about - education, for one. The Philippine Educational System must be one of the most studied systems in the world. Back in college when doing my research, I almost always come across a certain Medium-Term plan on education. It seems every administration has one, normally running for ten years or so which is beyond their terms. I've read the education plan of the Marcos period and I found it to be very realistic in the sense that it has identified what the system's problems and flaws were.

In fact, all medium term plans up to the present time have been correct in the identifying the issues: the growing shortage in classrooms and books, the interminable review of the curriculum (the last was made during Secretary Roco's time), and many others too complex to discuss here.

Here's another sad news this Sunday morning courtesy of The Philipine Star: 3 in 4 recent elementary graduates can’t read. Read the story here.

This is tragic news indeed. I've personally confirmed this two years ago during a tour of Southern Luzon and Visayas - from Pangasinan to Mindoro to the islands of Samar and Leyte. Not only they can't read properly (if at all), the level of comprehension is equally horrifying. DEPED must be reminded that reading is NEVER enough. Reading AND comprehension are twin goals that should given equal attention. During one exam in English that I was administering to Grade 5 students, they could read it alright but they couldn't understand what the questions meant. Unfortunately, I had to translate some of these questions and I can see that it was only then that they understood. Although I was aware that doing that would have altered the measurements were trying to get, I just couldn't help it. Naawa naman talaga ako sa kanila. It just not fair. When my Mom was teacher and principal of this certain school, kids in Grades 2 and 3 were already reading the classics!

Also, I am against private donation of textbooks and books UNLESS these answer the need for reading improvement. Most private donations tend to be second-hand items or do not meet the requirements of certain grade levels. I am also against the removal of science subjects from Grades 1 and 2 and incorporating these across many subjects like English and Pilipino. Science is an exciting thing and can be seen and observed everyday even from the classroom windows. I don't see why we can't bring back the fun in school.

3 comments:

The Talking Mute said...

This is indeed a sad news. First, they cut the hours from a full day to a half day session for graders, then this - eliminating science courses.

My nephews are going to a Montessori schools, which offers advanced (or should I say appropriate) courses to children. My siblings have been working so hard to provide my nephews a good education. However, this shouldn't be the case, good education should be available to everyone in the Philippines, rich or poor.

aleq said...

nakakalungkot talaga ito. siguro kailangan lang nating pagtuunan ng pansin ang mga bata, minsan kasi ang mga guro tinatamad nang mag pasa ng nalalaman nila dahil na rin siguro sa liit ng kinikita nila

GENIUS IS JUST ANOTHER MOUSE! said...

I really don't blame teachers if they do not impart enough because of low pay. This, however, can be a good subject for a debate. Do teachers teach because of the pay, or do they teach because they've always wanted to impart knowledge?

At any rate, the last time salaries were increased was like 4 years ago. The entry level, i think, is Php 9,000. But we also have to factor in additional costs: teachers end up buying supplies to adorn their classrooms (you already know what these things look like). I really hope the days of teachers selling ice candies and what not are over.