The prob­lem with ed­u­ca­tion (Part 1)

Sun.Star Pampanga - - STORIES! -

AROUND two weeks ago, a na­tional pa­per re­ported that one of our sen­a­tors was alarmed at the “de­te­ri­o­rat­ing” state of our ed­u­ca­tion and com­pe­tency of our teach­ers, cit­ing de­clin­ing per­cent­ages of grad­u­ates this year ver­sus pre­vi­ous years, as well as passers of the Li­cen­sure Ex­am­i­na­tion for Teach­ers (LET) -- all this de­spite pour­ing half a tril­lion pe­sos into the ed­u­ca­tion bud­get. He then con­cluded that the rel­a­tively new K to 12 pro­gram must be fixed and ex­e­cuted prop­erly.

I do agree that K to 12 needs proper ex­e­cu­tion, and a proper burial af­ter­wards.

The prob­lem with ed­u­ca­tion (and I use it here to mean our sys­tem of school­ing) is not the lack of funds or its mis­man­age­ment, not the lack of class­rooms or text­books, not poor teacher train­ing, nor any kind of “fix­ing” to the cur­ricu­lum. The prob­lem, at its very core, is this -- it is the wrong tool for the job.

Re­mem­ber that our sys­tem of ed­u­ca­tion was in­her­ited from the Amer­i­can sys­tem of com­pul­sory pub­lic school­ing, which in turn traces its roots to the mil­i­tary state of Prus­sia -- whose chief aim was to “to pro­duce medi­ocre in­tel­lects, to ham­string the in­ner life, to deny stu­dents ap­pre­cia­ble lead­er­ship skills, and to en­sure docile and in­com­plete cit­i­zens — all in or­der to ren­der the pop­u­lace ‘man­age­able.’”

This sys­tem worked very well at that time be­cause it was dur­ing the In­dus­trial Revo­lu­tion and hav­ing docile and man­age­able work­ers was very good for fac­to­ries which needed thou­sands of work­ers per­form­ing rou­tine, bor­ing and ro­botic tasks. You wouldn’t want an assem­bly line worker get­ting cre­ative with his work and pro­duc­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent ev­ery time, would you?

An­other fac­tor at work was ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion at that time was quite lim­ited so there was a need for “learned” teach­ers to be the “fount of knowl­edge” for the stu­dents. Uni­ver­si­ties be­came deep repos­i­to­ries of in­for­ma­tion de­pend­ing on their li­brary col­lec­tion and ros­ter of pro­fes­sors.

But it has been over a hun­dred years since that time. We now have ro­bots dom­i­nat­ing fac­to­ries and even con­sumer­grade ro­bots clean­ing swim­ming pools or houses, cook­ing, or serv­ing cof­fee. The in­ter­net has opened up vast repos­i­to­ries of in­for­ma­tion to any­one in­ter­ested to look them up. The cell­phone has be­come a tool with mul­ti­ple ap­pli­ca­tions that you can use to nav­i­gate, to use as a cal­cu­la­tor, a flash­light, a gam­ing de­vice, a cam­era, to send mes­sages, to read books, to find a restau­rant, to or­der stuff, oh and yes, you can also use it to talk to other peo­ple over long dis­tances.

All th­ese changes have hap­pened, and yet we are still stuck with an ed­u­ca­tional

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