Good quality education over profit | Inquirer Opinion
Commentary

Good quality education over profit

12:03 AM April 06, 2015

EDUCATION IS not a business enterprise. It cannot be “profit-centered” or “profit-motivated.” To think otherwise is to strip education of its essence. The development of a person’s intelligence and character is the primary goal of education.

The teachers are, to be sure, not “profit-oriented.” Neither are the students. Much less is their relationship “profit-driven.” They are bound by a common interest: education—to be shared by one and to be partaken of by the other.

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Teaching is mentoring and mentoring the student goes beyond classroom hours, even graduation. It is not an easy job, much less a profitable one, albeit immensely gratifying. Teachers serve much longer hours than what the bundy clock can register. They teach even in pajamas because computer technology has invaded their private rooms. Yes, teachers cannot be businessmen because their students are not their customers but their apprentices.

Teachers train the minds of their students to think and to think critically. The continuous interaction between the teachers and students in the classroom makes the classroom a marketplace of ideas. Inside the classroom, students gain not only knowledge; they acquire wisdom that, properly tapped, could guide them on how to live life and not simply make a living. Students learn not only the ABC and 1+2+3; they are also trained to face and embrace life as an adult, as a citizen of this country and as a member of the global community with faith, character and a spirit of service.

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Money is important but only because parents need this to send their children to a university, instead of a technical college. Unlike a technical college, a university offers the student “total formation”—as it prepares the student for a more complicated, more challenging life “out there.” Higher education means training for life, embracing the civilized world with all its imperfections and complexities.

And Philippine Women’s University (PWU) is a university that has trained and prepared thousands of students for the real life, the real world outside its walls. For 96 years, PWU has survived, and it will survive, because it offers and has provided good quality education as its mission and vision and goal.

PWU was not established in 1919 for profit. Neither did it survive the ravages of war because of profit. PWU lasted for 96 years, under the

Benitez family, because “good quality education” has been its mission, vision and goal.

Reputable institutions like PWU should be supported by the State because if the State starts losing quality educational institutions that have made history and a name not only at home but even outside the country, “education will lose its real meaning,” and the institutions will be taken over by profit-driven businessmen.

Legislators in this country should make a law that protects all private universities that have survived in the last 50 years from being eaten up by profit-driven businessmen whose motivation is simply profit and property accumulation.

It takes many years to establish a “good” university; the State should not allow such universities to be erased from the academic map by making it easy for profit-driven businessmen to acquire and operate them.

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Sadly, the reality is that some businessmen cannot care less if they produced hundreds or thousands of illiterate, “robot-like” individuals for as long as they rake in millions of pesos in profits. Such businessmen are not even worried whether or not the students of their universities have the values of a patriotic citizen who is ready to protect his country and people and the cultural beliefs and traditions of his ancestors.

Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon that we can use to change the world.” The Philippine Women’s University—as should any good university that chooses to serve as a real agent of social change—aims to provide precisely that kind of weapon.

Estrella Punzalan Bautista is a regent at Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila and a professor at the Philippine Women’s University.

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