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According to the commercial, the country is 2nd to the last in the South-East Asian region in terms of the quality of education. This is embarrassing to think that some of the best educational institutions in the region are in the Philippines. But despite these, why is it that the Philippines is lagging behind its neighbors? Is their something wrong with our state of education? If you ask our students even you are gong to conduct a survey, many will agree that it is really the quality of education is to blame. Many felt that the curriculum set by the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) is not enough to let our students to be globally competitive. Some said that some subjects and even the curriculum are lacking. For example, Mathematics and Science, both are the bulk of most of the educational institution in different countries. But in our country and in our school, many said that these subjects should be taught comprehensively and intensively because this will serve as the backbone of the country’s development and of our school in the near future. This is why other Asian countries outpaced the Philippines in terms of economical and industrial growth because these countries invested in the fields of Mathematics and Sciences. Another problem pestering the quality of Philippine education and in schools is the quality and proficiency of the teachers. According to a recent news article, Filipino teachers lack proficiency in English, Science and Mathematics. Many said that these areas should have been trained comprehensively since as teachers of these subjects, should be able to teach the students with a more quality for future growth. But with what I see and what is the reality, we, teachers have problems of our own. One example, and the most obvious, is the low salary and terrible working condition. Many of us opt to have “other odd jobs” during class that sometimes the teacher simply forgets to teach but mainly focuses on how to let both ends meet. But who can blame for our meager salaries of around 10000-15000 pesos, plus deductible, who can a teacher provide for his/her family? And with the rising cost of living, these figures are not enough. For example, many of our teachers in the school is doing direct selling of different products if not using the situation of other teachers whose salary is not enough to send to school her children by letting them borrow money with a higher interest rate. This resulted to more debts for the teacher that she cannot pay for it on time thus extending other loans to other institutions in order to cope up for everyday living. One more thing is the ration of teachers to students. In a typical public school, in every one teacher there are 60-70 students in a class! In addition, the poorly ventilated and dilapidated classrooms that adds up to the worsening situation of both the teacher and student inside these classrooms. The school facilities can also be a factor of the problem. The Philippines, both in private and public, lacks sophisticated laboratories and facilities to cater the needs of the students. For example, many public schools are still lacking the basic computer laboratories and it is so ironic that computer nowadays, computer education is crucial for future Computer Studies student. Without proper training in computer, how can a student be competitive and computer literate? Lastly, a common problem of our Philippine education is the rising cost of sending a child to school. Private schools charges skyrocketing tuition and miscellaneous fees to a student that parents are having a hard time to cope with the rising cost of education. Even sending a child in a public school doesn’t fare better since even the poorest of the poor cannot afford to send a child in school. I remember vividly a story of a public school teacher with a pupil of him. He said that this student was so poor that teachers pay for everything so she can go to school. The teachers don’t mind this sacrifice because the student is so bright and intelligent. She never went to college after high school since she cannot really afford it anymore. What saddened the teachers is that this student passed UP but with no scholarship. Right now, many see education not as necessity but a luxury they cannot afford. The state of Philippine education is indeed sad and disheartening. We probably all asking who’s to blame for all this mess. But we cannot simply point finger since we all have responsibilities to solve these problem. The government tries its best to give the country and it seemed not enough. But we should not blame the government entirely since it is just not the government’s problems. It is the problem of each and every one of us. If we want the highest quality of education in the country, we should work together to solve this problem. Solutions DepEd mentions such interventions as the new curriculum, education service contracting, multi-shift classroom policy, library hubs, early childhood education, madrasah education, inclusive education, alternative learning system, school feeding, Every Child a Reader Program (ECARP), competency-based teacher assessment standards, computerization, Schools First, BrigadaEskwela, SagipEskwela, Adopt-a-School, OplanBalikEskwela, and the Basic Education Sector Reform Agenda (BESRA). The first thing to be creative about is the nature of the classroom itself. Why, in this age of cellphones, computers, and television, do we need to have classrooms at all? Obviously, because interacting with the teacher is better than just using or learning with the use of technology. That is undeniable, but we can be creative about the length of time children have to be inside a classroom. We are so used to the chalk-and-blackboard or speak-and-listen type of teaching, that we find it difficult to understand that students need not go to a school campus in order to learn. We have enough educational 1
The entire distance learning phenomenon (pioneered locally by De La Salle University and the UP Open University). DepEd’s Schools First program should then not be merely a way to raise funds for public schools. Give qualityPhilippine education. quality of education would increase. We immediately double the number of students that can use our existing classrooms. Why does the student have to be in a classroom to read a textbook? Why can’t a textbook be written in such a way that the exercises in them can be done at home? How much of class time is actually spent learning? There are so many things done within the classroom that simply waste time. In order to maximize classroom time with minimal classrooms while still achieving the minimum learning competencies expected of students. Already. in effect. the results of standard tests conducted among elementary and high school students. and (in rare rich places) fiddle around with electric cords. teachers check attendance. in higher education. We need to get parents and community leaders to start becoming. The following are some of the reforms proposed: We need.) That means that students can spend the same number of hours a day in school. thus there is very little incentive for most of them to take up advanced trainings. It should be a way to decrease the dependence of children on the school itself. Teaching is the last priority among the cream of the crop of university produce year after year. For example. Teachers have been underpaid. we have numerous examples of learning outside classrooms. but need only to maximize the use of the ones we already have. we need to rethink our entire way of teaching. were way below the target mean score. 2 . for example. Let us not even mention the parades. as well as in the National Achievement Test (NAT) for college students. and the innovations done by DepEd in many schools (such as a fisheries high school I once visited where the students attended classes around fishponds) all point to the real possibility of minimizing the time students have to be inside classrooms. 29 December 2005) The Department of Education estimates that we need 67. Why not restrict classroom time to real learning time? That will cut down the time needed to be in school. teachers. read aloud or write on the board what is already in the textbook. form lines. we have shifted the problem from the building of classrooms to the rebuilding of the curriculum.There is also a big disparity in educational achievements across social groups. Take a look at a typical class. And most of the freshmen students at the tertiary level come from relatively well-off families. (The Philippine Star.theories and even practical experience to know that it is entirely possible for children living in the 21st century to learn without being always inside a school building. Affordability . rearrange chairs for group work. first of all. but need to come only half the number of school days. For example. How do we do this? How do we reengineer classroom teaching? If you cannot list at least a dozen ways to make students learn outside the classroom. whether they are dead or alive. For example. (This is a very generous estimate. you are clearly not a creative thinker. holiday preparations. we can see that there is no need for additional classrooms. especially at the elementary and secondary levels. the numerous experiments run by individual teachers in several schools (I taught an entire graduate course last term. such as multiple shifts and longer campus hours. There are so many things within and just outside any school in the country that can be used to teach students. and other non-essential activities public school children cannot seem to avoid. A lesson usually involves working with a textbook of some kind. Creative thinking may bring that number down. without ever meeting the students in a classroom). to start looking at home and community experiences as part of formal (not informal nor alternative) schooling. Take a very simple exercise recommended for elementary school students – constructing a genealogy. especially in the elementary level. If we factor in policies that DepEd is already implementing. The problem of classrooms has disappeared. Let us assume that half of our actual classroom time now is useful for real learning. living at home or elsewhere. the socioeconomically disadvantaged students have higher dropout rates. Everybody has parents or at least guardians.03 million new textbooks for 2006.What I am saying is that we do not need new classrooms at all. Then powerful human resources would emerge translating into powerful economy which brings about a powerful nation. If the government could reverse this. return papers. More precisely. erase the blackboard. One of the solutions is to upgrade the pay scale of teachers and lure the best and brightest among the minds.
) When teachers teach elementary science.Instead of looking up the words father. maybe more equitable. In this age of easy access to information through any corner internet café. then ask them to imagine where that piece of plastic will eventually end up. (The Philippine Star. An expanded scholarship program. rather than crucial aids to learning. The key is to stop the practice of using a textbook inside the classroom. we can see that the lack of textbooks in our public elementary schools is exaggerated. If the principal permits. If you were a teacher. we do not need them every day. Santos – my two literary fathers – come immediately to mind. Amend the current system of budgeting for education across regions. But we must remember that the teacher and every one of us will determine the course of our country’s development through education. This may not be the best way to promote equity. Even Rizal said that for a country to progress. Let us take a practical application of creative thinking. not every teacher has imagination. and the other is that schools must start having working libraries that efficiently allow students to take out textbooks (and other books. All a textbook should really have are structured exercises aimed at helping a student learn more deeply what has already been taught inside the classroom.htm 3 . Once we start thinking of creative ways to teach without using textbooks. I have watched an elementary school teacher use a glass of water to teach the water cycle (“where does the water go if we pour it on the floor?”). there is no need for textbooks to include everything that is to know about any particular subject. Once we realize that a teacher has a lot more to do inside a classroom than rehash information already printed in a textbook.com/2006/01/creative-solutions-to-philippine. But if I can help solve this problem in my own little way. the cross can be lighter and easier to bear.i.blogspot. Stop the current practice of subsidizing state universities and colleges to enhance access. We do not need textbooks for every subject. all a teacher has to do is to ask students the words they use to refer to the people in their homes or communities. Resources: http://criticplaywright. and so on in a textbook. (The Philippine Star. you yourself) will take the piece of plastic for disposal. and in those learning areas where we need them. Sionil Jose and Bienvenido N. Take the concept of being nonbiodegradable. Textbooks should be sources of information or exercises for homework. This clearly favors the more developed regions. and cheaper textbooks. Vocabulary enhancement need not involve dictionaries or textbooks. walk with the students to the place where the janitor (or more likely. We do not need a textbook to teach what is crucial to the survival of the human race. Solving the problems of Philippine education is a long way to go but if we work for the better. not for seatwork. which is based on participation rates and units costs. we can attain that quality education we all hope for the best. 19 January 2006) As a future teacher. thinner. and they can imagine the rest of the journey of that little weapon of mass destruction.ph/blogs/janusrichardronimo/2007/03/26/true-agenda-on-philippine-educationalsystem/ http://www. mother. There are two things I’m driving at. Instead. F.ph. they need not write on the blackboard some equation that only graduate students can understand anyway. Let them follow the piece as far as they can. all a teacher needs is imagination. uncle. make them throw a piece of plastic on the floor. In an urban center. 12 January 2006) Biography sections of libraries and bookstores are full of stories about successful individuals who never owned books when they were children. these problems will be a big cross to bear. There is a need to provide more allocation to lagging regions to narrow the disparity across regions. they walked to public libraries and learned the wisdom of the ages through borrowed books. This is the bitter cup of a teacher to bear. then: one is that teachers must start teaching without textbooks on hand inside the classroom. of course). I have watched a kindergarten teacher read a storybook (not a textbook) in class with such dramatic effect that her pupils jumped up at the end of the reading to ask questions that would floor a literary critic. giving more focus and priority to the poor. they know what nonbiodegradability means. education is the key to that success. but that is another issue involving training. we start looking at printed instructional materials as supplementary. (Okay.html http://janusrichardronimo.net/htdocs/education/issue. aunt. ask elementary school students outside urban centers whether they should plant plastic and they will laugh at you. That means fewer.
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