Posted by: jinoe | June 26, 2007

Bad Education

The news says that the state of education in the Philippines has reached its critical stage.  

  • Out of 10 students entering Grade 1, six will complete the elementary course, four will get through high school and two will enter college, according to the Department of Education (DepEd).  It is not even sure if the two who entered college will finish the degree or get a job.
  • Textbooks being distributed to public schools has more than 100 errors.
  • A test last 2003 showed that Grade 6 students have a proficiency of a Grade 4 and are not prepared for high school.

For a country that gives a lot of importance in education, the data doesn’t meet its expectation.  We can always hear parents say that the education of their children is the only legacy or inheritance that they can provide them.  Having their children get a degree is their greatest achievement.  I know how it feels since I was just as proud as my parents are after helping my sister get her degree in medicine.

Surely there is a problem in the system of education that the country has.  The government is trying hard to revamp its system and increase the budget for education.  But at the local level, I think a lot has to be done as well.

Lack of classrooms and lack of books are always being blamed.  I think that lack of competency in the part of the teachers are also to be blamed.  I remember some of my college teachers not being able to provide convincing answers to tough questions.  I remember my sister teaching her high school math teacher how to solve a problem correctly.

My thesis adviser told me that for every 1 PhD teacher in the Philippines, there are 6 PhDs in Thailand, 20 PhDs in China and more than a 300 PhDs in Singapore.  And now, good teachers are also leaving the country because they are also in demand in other countries, with better pay.

If I have kids someday, I wonder if the education they will be getting will be competitive compared to the neighboring countries.  I guess I have to start saving for my children’s education abroad.  *Gasp!*



  1. Jin, I agree with you. This is the sad reality our children is facing. I don’t mean to have children of my own (for now, I am incapacitated, impotent, heheheheh). I also helped my sister finish the remaining years of psychology. And so the pride is incomparable.
    I understand how it feels to be truly vigilant with the quality of educators we have today. We were just lucky to be USLS-IS educated. I hope that the succeeding teachers they have were as good as Concha, Villaceran, Roca (Filipino, forget about Alburo’s way, but she was a sweet lola, right?), Loredo, Samonte (I like him a lot, hehehehe).
    Do you know that your post title is the recent gay movie of GAEL GARCIA BERNAL. YouTube it dear… hehehehehe
    I miss you. You and your sharp mind, my dear. A post like this should make the gray columns of Inquirer.
    While mine, aheem, should make it to the ADVOCATE or ICON (Gay mags). hehehehehe tani di lang magkad2 sa Chika-chika or VALENTINO. hehehehe

    I just knew my title is catchy. Hehehe. Got curious what Advocate/Icon mags are about so I checked out some mag shops here. For this case, I can strongly say that I can judge what this magazine is by its cover. Hahaha.

  2. Jin, it is depressing isn’t it? That’s why as early as now, Flips should stop hyping education as the ultimate achievement for the youth. I disagree with this idea that a diploma is everything you need to survive. They all say that a degree is important, but it’s not. There are areas of course that you really need it. For example, being a doctor or an engineer wherein it’s technical. But other than that, what’s more important are basic knowledge and skills.
    I know a lot of people who are working in jobs that they did not earn a degree for and it’s ok as long as they can do the job.
    The education system should be pro-active and not look down on “vocational” or technological courses. A good population of these vocational grads are earning more abroad where their skills are needed (and respected) compared to college grads who you’d be surprised to see working as a cashier in a department store.
    Sad fact indeed but the point is not to pride yourself up with a diploma but instead work and learn a skill that you can do best and you’ll be priceless (ie Bill Gates).
    Oh well, you are right though that elementary education can do a lot of improvement, but unless they can get rid of the corrupt people in the organization we are sure to hear more of “baa baa black sheef, are you anymore?”
    On a lighter note, JOEY, that was what came into my mind too when I read the title hahaha I thought it was going to be a movie review lol although Bad Education isn’t really recent, I think Gael had a new movie even after Motorcycle Diaries.
    Joe, thanks for reminding me about the mags, I miss my subscriptions na huhuhu BTW, who were featured on the cover of ICON in the past six months?

    Skills are definitely important to succeed. The problem with colleges and universities, they are too bookish and doesnt provide much hands-on work for students. Worst, you spend too much time on subjects like Religious Studies, Values Education, PE, ROTC, History, Rizal, Philosophy, Humanities and a lot more. WT%!

  3. jin, if i may add also, education should be considered as something to give us wider opportunities in life, but not as something to give us a license not to do anything because it is not related to our field of study. when i was there, i somehow found it hard to understand why would others continue to be in their family’s umbrella (meaning foods, lodging, etc.) for many years despite being old enough already to support themselves. the reason was because “couldnt find a job related to their education” and are afraid somewhat of what people would say if they just work as cashiers, waiters, salesman, etc. unlike here, where you see a lot of professional not minding to work as those types temporarily when they are looking for jobs, or are fresh grads or are in transition, since you have your life to support and not to depend it on someone, therefore it is better than be in the negative (or be in debt).

    also, our education focuses too much on the BS and BA even if there are not enough jobs for these, or even if the work does not call for these. also, some enrollees are just not mentally fit for a course they chose yet they are there, enrolled! sadly, i think education has become a big business. i dont know if that is the reason why there is not much light provided on “skills training” colleges, or the vocational colleges, to have more business.

    about being highly theoretical, actually, the universities here are geared towards very highly theoretical coz it is oriented towards research and development therefore they need very high aptitude for math and science to do extensive R&D. to teach in universities one should have PhD and has extensive experience with research, or a minimum of MS in junior colleges, one of the big difference since a lot of college mentors sa atin are just BS grads. anyway, here, the hands on is introduced as early as middle school or high school to provide awareness of the application of math and science, and actually it is also provided to some students who could not really do the real math and science. if a student is interested enough with the hands on, then the academic counselor advises whether they are fit for a science or engineering degrees and therefore must take Advanced Placement courses in math and science (which very few students could take it or could make it). some who are taking AP courses may have lower grades than those taking regular courses, that’s why college admission is not only about the grades, but about the courses taken. if a student on the other hand has very good hands-on skills but not very apt in the required classes, they are usually advised to take specific skills training (in junior colleges or vocational colleges) and mind you, they could end up in a very high paying job too as long as they are really that good with what they do. universities, are more oriented towards research and development, finding solutions to problems and finding new models. here junior colleges are not being looked down, it is considered by some as a pathway towards their goal, because for some, they need to mature first and develop their analytical skills before they can tackle the challenges in a university. i was kind of shocked to learn when i got here that some of the professional jobs in the phiippines (like lab analyst or lab tech which requires a chemistry or bs chem eng degree, manufacturing supervisor, etc.) are not considered highly skilled here and therefore require only a high school education with good grades in high school chem or a vocational degree. could our high school graduate in the philippines work in the lab of pepsi or coca cola? no! i guess we have hyped up the education too much that even if a job is just about following some rules type of job, or just simply mixing this and that, we require college education.

    in my first semester here, my classes started with 50 students, then, after my first quiz, more than 10 students dropped (for they failed badly the quiz), in one month i only had about 30 students. plus, i had to fail some, which means just a little over 20 made it. i was afraid the dean would question my teaching capacity (experience from the past), therefore, i talked about my fears to them, which to my surprise, i was told, “though as a mentor our goal is 100% of our students pass, but we could not give them false hopes either. that is why teaching is tough, because the first thing you teach the students is reality, if they fail, they fail. the best we can do is help them make it, not simply give it to them.” i was glad i was supported since that is the philosophy i believe, how i wish heard of that before. how many times i was questioned back then because i have several failing students and i always have to support my number of failures because the enrollment may go down? it was frustrating, and tiring. some teachers left not mainly because of greener pasteurs, but also to be more free to make their own decisions.

    anyway, i must stop, since my comment now seems to be longer than your blog, hehehe, sorry about that.

    Your comment is like a blog within a blog. Hehehe. I certainly agree. Sometimes this situation makes me want to start teaching but at the same time, I feel I might have the same frustaions. Looks like this blog needs a follow up

  4. very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

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