Poor quality of education, corruption, archaic religious ideology will make PH miss out on the future | Inquirer Opinion

Poor quality of education, corruption, archaic religious ideology will make PH miss out on the future

04:05 AM May 29, 2024

Several articles from the latest Programme for International Student Assessment results again highlighted the terrible state of our education. Our Department of Education assessment states that we have a five- to six-year learning level deficit. It says that our 15-year-olds (Grade 10) have a learning level equivalent to Grade 5. We were one of only three countries in the world with 10 years of mandatory schooling and for some time, the only one in Asia without a K-12. In 2012, we finally added Grades 11 and 12, two years of senior high school. We could not see beyond the tip of our noses, content with a populace with innate talent and diligence to put us as one of the leading powerhouses in Asia in the ’60s. But the same dynamism and energy of our people began the country’s decline. Rampant corruption and cronyism created a cynical and disaffected middle class. The pent-up energy of these great, talented masses saw no outlet to create wealth and better themselves. What started as a trickle became an exodus of the best and the brightest.

People wonder why we don’t attract the manufacturing behemoths of the world as well as Vietnam and Singapore do. Why would we? How, for example, can Honda or Volkswagen start an electric vehicle plant in any part of the Philippines? We don’t have enough workers with STEM training to run high-tech manufacturing in the Philippines. In the coming artificial intelligence (AI) industrial revolution, we will not see the Philippines anywhere close to South Korea (population, 51 million) or Taiwan (population, 23 million), and now even Vietnam (population, 99 million).

While the world is preoccupied with AI, 6G (the sixth generation of cellular networks), and quantum computing, we are still mired in the same ongoing crisis of bad governance, corruption, poverty, education woes, and bureaucratic infighting dominated by political dynasties. The poor are powerless to affect reforms. Those who can bring change are part of the ruling class and have a self-serving agenda that preserves the status quo. Still, others are too busy preparing to exit the country.

The most disappointing assemblage of eldership in this country is stuck in an outdated bias of a Christian worldview that, to put it mildly, has immobilized the masses into subservient sheep encapsulated in an antiquated box.


Our power brokers ignore a new generation of people who are products of social media, educated with a more “left of center” outlook and an information technology wind on their backs. Our pseudo padres and influence peddlers, which abound in the Philippines, cannot understand and assimilate a progressive mindset. As if that’s not enough, we even have a self-declared “appointed son of God” in our midst.

The Vatican no longer calls for a “World Day of Prayer” for all the ills that beset humanity because they know it doesn’t work and it further ruins their credibility. Why? The Vatican runs on myth and superstition.

Why do our ecclesiastic elders never learn from the successes of others who “took the bull by horns” and said “enough”? Look at Vietnam. Coming out of the war and the Christian French influence, Vietnam declared sectarianism passé. From one of the world’s poorest to the fastest economic growth in Southeast Asia achieved in a single generation, Vietnam has redirected sectarian energy into a path of productivity.

And here we are, with an educationally challenged youth, politicians pointing fingers at each other, and archaic religious ideology weighing us down like a grounded child. Folks, the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train!

Edwin de Leon

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