Schools without a sense of nationhood
The sad reality that conscientious Filipinos should worry about today is that our children are being taught in schools whose visions and missions (and thus, whose curricular programs and teaching thrusts are too oriented on skills and knowledge, neglecting the attitudes and habits, much less character building and civic mindedness) are not really geared to inculcate in them a sense of nationhood, a feeling of community with the rest of the Filipino people. Our children are then most likely to grow up too fixated on the greed for money and power, for prestige and pleasure. They tend to neglect the family, the community and the nation. They worry about competing in the global arena of brutal competitions, neglecting the bonds of kinship and nationhood.
I am sad to witness how educational institutions, including those that are owned, led, and managed by religious congregations, have deteriorated into purely business enterprises without a clear sense of social responsibility. I know whereof I speak and whereof I write. My five children have all been educated in Catholic schools, from nursery to post-graduate studies. I have participated in many parentteacher meetings and many school convocations and I have been president of many parents associations. I have interacted with priests and nuns who administer these schools. I am missing a very important dimension of the school curricula. There is only a token emphasis on character building and civic mindedness. The thrusts are weak, tentative and intermittent, even disjointed and short-ranged.
The schools appear to me as nothing but businesses. There is no emphatic, purposive, strategic, and long-ranged thrust to mold the character of people to become good and honest leaders. Of course, we cannot blame the schools entirely for the kind of person the alumni turn out to be. But somehow, the schools have a very important role to play in rearing the future leader and molding his or her character. For instance, we cannot blame Ateneo for producing a man like deposed president Erap Estrada nor Assumption College for GMA, much less the defunct Divine Word University for Imelda Marcos. But from the academic point of view, I wonder what they taught Erap, GMA, and Imelda those days? What does UST teach to fraternity brothers and sorority sisters?
We need a school that shall focus on rearing the character of our future presidents, future senators, and congressmen and even future governors and mayors. We need to inculcate in our future leaders the values of patriotism that Dr. Jose Rizal (an Ateneo and UST alumnus, by the way, in fairness) exemplified in his courage to stand up and risk his life. And his martyrdom that crowned his life of sacrifice to give examples to the youth. Today, I am not seeing these values being stressed in schools. I mean, we teach physics, geometry, economics, politics, business, and military science. But we relegated good manners and right conduct. Thus we are getting businessmen without conscience, politicians without integrity, and technocrats without character. Sad, so sad.