“There is no literate population in the world that is poor; there is no illiterate population that is anything but poor.” – John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006)
I have touched on the issue of Philippine Educational System in previous posts and am re-posting/updating some of my comments:
Causes and Effects:
The causes of the problem in our homeland's educational system are many, most significant being: lack of resources -less available money mainly due to mis-allocation of funds 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. And add the fact that many school kids are hungry. We know 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 officials 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 and more of the budget pie. This practice has continued till today and will in the foreseeable future, with succeeding governments and politicians who are mostly self-serving and traitorous to the present and future generations of our native Filipinos.
And corruption in the PSS continues unchecked and thus makes things worse. Marcos' successors brought precipitous decline in the educational quality because of their prioritizing the payment of odious foreign debts which have compounded each subsequent year. These so-called leaders would rather have the native populace suffer the adverse consequences of the Structural Adjustment Programs(SAP) imposed by the (IMF/WB) on the common good.
Rather than capitalizing on the global popularity of the so-called EDSA "Revolution" (1986) by using such as leverage to request payment moratorium from and/or refusing payment of the odious debts, the naive and incompetent Cory Aquino first kowtowed to foreigners instead and promised to pay religiously as before even if doing so deprives the impoverished populace of the immediate and necessary social programs, including education, health care, improved infrastructure and other public services. (despite her supposed and publicized religiosity).
Current Educational Goals:
As to the present 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 Multinational/Transnational/Global corporations. 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, most 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.
In reality,there were few professional/non-professional jobs to begin with even during pre-martial law times, given the absence of significant industrialization. Furthermore, despite 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 industrial manufacturing and are actually part of the sociological obstacles to economic progress as these belong to the aristocratic elite, who are mainly a risk-averse class and thus indulge in rent-capitalism..
Nowadays, mere survival has become the paramount issue for most students, graduates and families -giving credence to Maslow's Theory on the ”Hierarchy of Needs” (or for the most part simple 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 family and love ones.
Why have OFWs?
Why do the government and politicians enthusiastically support the export of OFWs? To pay for our odious foreign debt, to not plan for the common good, to have more money to steal and to have a safety-relief valve that would delay/prevent a real 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, of course trading off our national patrimony and sovereignty; as beggars are not choosers.
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 this correlation for beer-sales forecasting.
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 brass, foreign investors, many wealthy resident/naturalized aliens, do not care.
Only a nationalist revolution can make fundamental changes. Only a revolution with the support of an informed, nationalistic coalition of the native Filipinos can offer possibilities for such changes and without falling prey to insincere leadership (as we have learned much from many of our ilustrados then and now so-called educated in the history of our people) that will rise out of the struggle. Whether the dwindling, native educated middle class can work with the impoverished native majority is the big question.
All the above may sound rhetorical but that is where a deeper and serious analysis will ultimately lead a concerned 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 caged Filipino mind.
Below essay from the alternative/progressive press BULATLAT discusses the most recent government plans for our educational system.