Deterioration of the Public School System (PSS) in the homeland
The causes of the problem in our homeland's educational system are many, most significant being: lack of resources -less available money due to low funding and corruption, which in turn lead to lack of good books, ineffective teachers, poor facilities (not conducive to learning), inadequate school supplies to facilitate teaching, etc; add the fact that an empty stomach in school does not aid learning.
Why don't we have enough funding for public schools? There is no honest desire on the part of the government to provide more funding to improve the public school system (PSS). The PSS is not anymore a national priority from the time of the Marcos Dictatorship, whereby the decline and deterioration started. In addition, the Dictatorship needed the military and made sure the military gets more of the budget pie. This practice has continued till today and will in the foreseeable future, with succeeding governments and politicians.
And corruption in the PSS continues unchecked and thus makes things worse. Marcos' successors brought precipitous decline in the educational quality because of their desire to pay our odious foreign debts first -which have compounded each subsequent year- as promised by the naive and incompetent Cory Aquino in 1986, even if doing so deprives the impoverished populace of social programs, including education, and essential needs (despite her supposed and publicized religiosity).
As to the goals of the educational system: during the Dictatorship, Marcos followed the dictates and plans of the IMF/WB as to the direction of our PSS and educational system as a whole; that is, to provide cheap labor to transnationals. But now, the IMF/WB plan itself is messed up by the fact that by joining the WTO in 1995, thanks to the Fidel Ramos/GMA tandem, manufacturing transnationals have shut down and/or moved out of the country to go to China and other lower waged countries, such is the logic of business/capitalism of maximizing profits. Thus we are faced with graduates, regardless of whether deserving or not, with much less available jobs in their chosen professions/studies.
Actually there are few professional/non-professional jobs to begin with even during pre-martial law times, given the absence of significant industrialization. Furthermore, inspite of the fact that ours is considered an agricultural economy with a greater part of the labor force in it, even graduates of agricultural schools do not have much job opportunities since there are only a few companies, e.g. San Miguel, which are into agribusiness. Large landowners, who mostly are not entrepreneurs, do not go into nor want to invest in agribusiness and are actually part of the sociological obstables to economic progress.
Nowadays, mere survival has become the paramount issue for most students, graduates and families -giving credence to Maslow's Hypothesis on the "hierachy of needs" (or simply common sense). Thus the schooled individual, not necessarily "educated", gets/takes a job (better chances if connected), regardless of whether he/she is thus underemployed, grabs any menial job abroad, swallowing all his pride at best and sacrificing his dignity at worst, and leaving the love ones.
Why do the government and politicians support the export of OFWs? To pay for our odious foreign debt, to not plan for the common good, to have money to steal and to have a safety-relief valve that would delay/prevent a revolution due to rising expectations, the government and politicians have thus encouraged and begged other countries to allow our primary export earner -the OFWs- to come to their countries.
Where poverty and impoverishment are the norm, gambling and alcoholic drinks seem to provide the unfortunate: the source of income they can not earn through productive and creative work; and the escape from realities for the moment. While I was at SMC's Corporate Planning Department, my bright economist-colleagues demonstrated the correlation you alluded to.
As how to change the educational system, I say it is naivete at best, ignorance at worst to even hope for reform. As in other national or local issues in the homeland, the people who wield influence and power, the ruling elite: aristocrats, politicians, businessmen, military, foreign investors, Chinoys, do not care.
Only a revolution led by a nationalistic leadership can make fundamental changes. Only a revolution with the support of an informed, nationalistic coalition of the middle class and the impoverished can offer possibilities for such changes and without falling prey to insincere leadership that will rise out of the struggle. Whether the dwindling, educated middle class can work with the impoverished is the big question.
These may all sound rhetorical but that is where a deeper and serious analysis will ultimately lead one to conclude. To not do so, to see only the trees and not the forest, to scratch the itch and not remove the cancer, to treat the symptoms and not the disease, is not to address and uproot the real causes of the people's predicament. To still believe and work in the present political-economic system to reform itself is like exercising freedom within a cage.
"Upang maitindig natin ang bantayog ng ating lipunan, kailangang radikal nating baguhin hindi lamang ang ating mga institusyon kundi maging ang ating pag-iisip at pamumuhay. Kailangan ang rebolusyon, hindi lamang sa panlabas, kundi lalo na sa panloob!" --- Apolinario Mabini La Revolucion Filipina (1898)
"Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime” - Aristotle, 335 BC
“They do not easily rise whose abilities are repressed by poverty at home.” - Decimus Juvenalis, 120 AD (CE)
“To be poor and independent is very nearly an impossibility.” - William Corbett, 1830
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