10-year basic education only needs funds

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The philosopher Pascal said, “If you do not know where you are going, any road will take you there.” It appears that nowadays Pascal’s road is becoming the course of many a policymaker.

Many public officials like Education Secretary Armin Luistro, and probably including President Aquino, appear to be in favor of lengthening the years of basic education from 10 to 12—seven years elementary and five years high school. But what is wrong with the old 10-year regime?

My guess is as good as that of my neighbors. It could be the deteriorating educational system. But is there no other excellent idea to reverse the decline?

My late father used to tell me that high school graduates taught in public elementary schools and occupied government offices. My late elder brother, a high school graduate, worked in the Bureau of Posts and became a postmaster. Undoubtedly, the school system of the past produced quality and competent high school graduates. Why can’t the present?

What has happened to our educational system? Why don’t our educators and concerned government officials look back, investigate and rethink the old against the present policies and practices that led to the deteriorating education system? Perhaps the budget appropriated for the school system is inadequate, or it could be because of the poor method of selecting and training of teachers. The outmoded books and school curricula might be factors as are the parents’ lack of supervision over their children, dilapidated or lack of school buildings and facilities such as libraries, etc.

To upgrade the educational system, the government will require a number of doable inputs: sustained and adequate annual budgetary support for the teachers’ upgraded salaries, school buildings and libraries, adequate books and school supplies, proper selection and continuous training of teachers, to name a few.

If ever a year, yes, a year not two, is added, it should be for a valid and specific purpose. In my opinion, it should be in high school, not elementary. In their fifth year in high school, students can be rigidly taught technical or vocational courses for six months and a college orientation course for four months. The reason is, if a high school student is taught a particular field of work of his choice—either as a computer technician, electrician, auto mechanic, carpenter, house painter, baker, mason, tailor or beautician, he can earn a living after graduation. And those who will pursue college are already exposed to college work.

Nothing wrong with 10 years of basic education, provided there’s enough funding for decent teachers’ salaries, proper school facilities, right curricula and system of teaching, etc. Let’s not add to the burdens of the long-suffering parents of the schoolchildren. Please.

—RUPERTO V. TALAN,

Pinyahan, Diliman, QC 1100

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