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Start with better working conditions, higher salaries

12:45 AM July 24, 2015

THIS REFERS to the news story titled “New DLSU president faces K-12 challenge” (Learning, 7/21/15).

The gap is wide between the Marcoses and me. Hence, I am somewhat surprised when Sen. Bongbong Marcos and I agree on something. Bongbong is reported to have reservations about K-to-12. On this sentiment, we’re on the same page.

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Ninoy Aquino only had three years of high school in San Beda (1945-1948), as I understand it. We are “K-to-9” products. Five years for me in Makati elementary and four years in Rizal high. Not an honor grad and only occasionally in the honor roll, but I was always in section one. What I know is I enjoyed my stress-free youth, when we were not sent to school just because we could walk.

And we were bullied. Our grade school principal would punch us in the tummy, made us kneel, etc. We got spanked at home. The rod wasn’t spared. All the way to law school, we’d get insulted by our teachers when we were unprepared.

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Are the K-to-9 stories of Ninoy and mine—we first met in Harvard in 1982—anecdotal or aberrational, proving nothing?

But, what was certain was that our teachers were world-class, having started to teach before World War II. I was in Makati elementary from 1946 to 1951.

Accelerated. Our teachers comprised the type who affected eternity, per Henry Brooks Adams. Without them, even “K-to-20” may not work.

Some of our fine teachers today may have gone abroad as overseas contract workers. Some of those left behind may not be among the best and the brightest, with all due respect. How many of them are in the same class with my Makati elementary and Rizal high school teachers of the 1950s, who were on a par with those in Ateneo and La Salle (and OK, San Beda, which may not be in the radar of some; it is but a small college but there are those of us who love it, to borrow from Daniel Webster)?

K-to-12 must be fine-tuned. It seems the first step is to improve the working conditions of our teachers, with much better pay, healthcare and pensions—to elevate again the status of “maestro/a.”

—R.A.V. SAGUISAG,

Saguisag & Associates Lawyers

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Bigasan Street,

Palanan, Makati City

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TAGS: curriculum, education, K-12, letter, opinion, School, Sen. Bongbong Marcos, Teachers
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