Sun.Star Pampanga - - PERSPECTIVE! -

Ed­u­ca­tion be­gins at home. One does not only ac­quire knowl­edge from a teacher; one can learn and re­ceive knowl­edge from a par­ent, fam­ily mem­ber and even an ac­quain­tance. In almost all so­ci­eties, at­tend­ing school and re­ceiv­ing an ed­u­ca­tion is ex­tremely vi­tal and nec­es­sary if one wants to achieve suc­cess. How­ever, un­for­tu­nately we have places in the world, where not every­one has an op­por­tu­nity to re­ceive this for­mal type of ed­u­ca­tion. The op­por­tu­ni­ties that are of­fered are greatly limited. Some­times there are not enough re­sources to pro­vide school­ing. Fur­ther­more be­cause par­ents need their chil­dren to help them work in fac­to­ries, have odd jobs, or just do farm work.

The pur­pose of ed­u­ca­tion is to pass on some val­ues from one gen­er­a­tion onto the next, yet those val­ues have changed some­what since later gen­er­a­tions ex­plore new lim­its when it comes to stu­dent dis­ci­pline, learn­ing stan­dards, the teach­ing of re­li­gion and other rel­e­vant is­sues. There has to be some kind of mir­ror be­tween what the sys­tem teaches and what the dom­i­nant so­ci­ety around that sys­tem would like to see.

The role of a teacher in so­ci­ety is both sig­nif­i­cant and valu­able. It has far­reach­ing in­flu­ence on the so­ci­ety he lives in and no other per­son­al­ity can have an in­flu­ence more pro­found than that of a teacher. Stu­dents are deeply af­fected by the teacher's love and af­fec­tion, his char­ac­ter, his com­pe­tence, and his moral com­mit­ment. A pop­u­lar teacher be­comes a model for his stu­dents. The stu­dents try to fol­low their teacher in his man­ners, cos­tumes, eti­quette, style of con­ver­sa­tion and his get up. He is their ideal.

To­day, our ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem has been re­duced to mas­ter­ing the three R’s. It is seen as a means of earn­ing one’s liveli­hood. It has be­come an in­stru­ment for go­ing up the so­cial lad­der, an in­stru­ment that has been much abused than used. The fo­cus has shifted rad­i­cally from char­ac­ter build­ing to mak­ing the stu­dent more mar­ketable in the job mar­ket.

Learn­ing by rote has more em­pha­sis than over­all stu­dent de­vel­op­ment. If ed­u­ca­tion was mere mas­ter­ing of the phys­i­cal and so­cial sciences, why is there so much dishar­mony and un­rest in so­ci­ety to­day? Why is there wide­spread dis­il­lu­sion­ment? Why is there no clar­ity about the path to be taken? Are we teach­ing our chil­dren to be up­right cit­i­zens who have the moral courage to up­hold their val­ues in the face of a cri­sis? The an­swer would be an em­phatic no! Ob­vi­ously, there is a dis­con­nec­tion be­tween our present day ed­u­ca­tion and cul­ture.

The fall­out of all this is a sec­tion of freshly grad­u­ated stu­dents sim­ply ill equipped to face the school called LIFE.

Prob­a­bly, the bet­ter ques­tion to be raised is how well we know the very pur­pose of teach­ing the 3R’s in the class­room. It is in­deed a mis­sion to equip our stu­dents’ func­tional lit­er­acy re­quired to be lit­er­ate, but that must go be­yond. The char­ac­ter that must be de­vel­oped in or­der to trans­form nu­mer­acy into help­ing the less priv­i­leged peo­ple and English pro­fi­ciency into more un­der­stand­ing hu­man dif­fer­ences and dif­fi­cul­ties that will lead to a gen­uine help must be listed in the very core val­ues of ed­u­ca­tion.

--oOo— The au­thor is Mas­ter Teacher I at Po­rac Model Com­mu­nity High School

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