EDUKASYON AT TAGUMPAY: Ang Hamon ng Makabagong Panahon sa Pilipinas

ni Diwa C. Guinigundo (uploaded by Tess Garcia '64 & Tony Pajaro '68)

Ang pagtatapos na ito mula sa mataas na paaralan ay hindi tunay na katapusan. Ito ay isang katapusan lamang ng isang yugto sa inyong buhay. Ngayon naman magsisimula ang panibagong yugto na sa aking pagtatasa'y higit na mahirap datapuwat higit na makahulugan.

Some of you and perhaps your parents, too, would be tempted to find a course that will be short and cheap. You can do some vocational courses. You can try out TESDA courses for gaining some specific trade skills. Those could be cheap. But the deeper question is: can you achieve something great in a whirlwind fashion?

There was a story once told of a student who asked the president of his school if there was a course shorter than the one prescribed. It was told that the president said: "Of course but it depends on what you really want to be. When God wants to make an oak, it takes Him a hundred years; but when He wants to make a squash ( kalabasa in Pilipino, my words), it takes Him only six months."

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Graduates, let me remind you that education is in the largest sense an act or experience that has some formative effect on your mind, character or even physical ability. In its more technical sense, education is the process by which our society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills, and values from our generation to your generation. It is about continuity. It is about building up on what we achieved during our time; the challenge is for you to deliver something far greater, far ennobling.

Let us briefly go back to some basic definitions. The word education means "educare" in Latin or to “bring up”, which is directly related to "educere" which means to “bring out”, “bring forth what is within”, or “bring out potential” and "ducere," or “to lead”. Bringing out thefore what is within is like mining for gold or some precious metals. It takes time. It involves a process. Either one grows an oak tree which will last for generations, or a squash which is good for a few rounds of lunch or dinner.

But there is one sad commentary today about Philippine education.

More and more students drop out of school. In 2006, only 56.76% finished the elementary grades. Five years earlier, it was 58.36% and the ratio continues to worsen. In high school the decline was from 59.19% to 54.14%. That means we can potentially grow less oaks and more squash. Qualitatively, given that our economy is short of engineers, scientists, mathematicians and economic planners, we must be growing oaks of those kinds. But no. We are growing oaks of a different kind. It is very sad that 540 thousand enrolled in medical courses in 2006 particularly nursing compared to only 150 thousand five years earlier. We thought growing oaks of the medical kind would find some market abroad but when the global financial crisis struck in 2007, the markets in the US, Canada and elsewhere started to tighten and in some cases, closed. We ended up with so many nurses who cannot find jobs abroad as well as here in the Philippines.

Yes, economic needs dictate our choices. Unfortunately, as our material needs expand, our educational and career choices begin to narrow.     Read more >>

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