Missed lessons in education
It’s schooltime again. For the few who have no problems with tuition and school supplies, life is a bliss. But for the many others who have to search for ways and the where to get money for schooling, life is a trial.
“Anak, mag-aral kayong mabuti. Wala kaming maipapamana sa inyo kundi ang edukasyon.” (Children, study hard, this is the only legacy we can bequeath to you.) Parents often tell their young that education will lead them to a successful life—and most of the time economics is used to measure success. We do not blame them; after all, for as long as we are alive, we need food for our stomachs, roof over our heads, and clothes to keep our bodies warm. These are basic economic needs. Something is terribly wrong with society if one of its members is being deprived of any of these needs.
Education is a key to success; but this is not the whole truth. In our society, education has become a private enterprise—and a privilege rather than a right. Yes, a privilege available only to those who can pay its very expensive price.
How does our education system mold our young to become better persons? Does the system prepare them to:
Remember who we are as a people? Do the school materials teach us and our children our true historical heritage, our past, our ancestors, their resistance against foreign aggressions, their stories, dances, music, epics and myths, which mirror their lives and how they viewed their relationship with other peoples and the whole creation? What were their mistakes? Learning all these will enable us as a people to grow, mature and shape the future for the next generations.
Improve our society? Will the education system help our children appreciate our present-day struggles and hopes as a people? Is it challenging them to be critical of the situation facing our nation? Are our students being prepared to embrace, support, uphold and promote timeless, universal values such as peace, justice, truth, righteousness and respect for human rights? Does the system encourage students to hold fast to what is good and honorable in life? Is the system developing leaders who will be honest and will uphold at all times the majority interest over personal interests?
Devote the intellectual gift and discoveries in the service our people and mankind? Is our education system transforming our young into an effective force dedicated to redeeming the world from the unjust global economic order, from wars, from colonial invasions and from corruption?
Education is about nurturing life and valuing the gift of life. Education is not an end in itself but rather a means of improving society and the quality of life.
If the school only teaches students how to add but not to understand the value of equality, how to identify colors but not to respect colored people, how to read but not to feel for the suffering majority, how to write but not to express the passions and aspirations of our people, then some important lessons are being missed.
—NORMA P. DOLLAGA,
Kapatirang Simbahan Para sa Bayan,
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