Tuesday, June 08, 2004

there you go again!

The Department of Education is running out of ideas. In its simplistic mind, the solution to the poor showing of public school students is adding another year which they call interim "bridge". How many times will they try to force this down our throats? It has been suggested several times already and everytime was faced with a lot of opposition. Why not? Adding another year is not a solution. Au contraire, it will only prove to be another fatal mistake.

Today's editorial of the Inquirer narrates how parents and teachers reacted to the idea. I cannot blame them. I agree that the plan is indeed "unnecessary, unreasonable, discriminatory and oppressive."

I don't believe the DepEd is wanting of intelligent thinkers. What I do know is that it is full of red tape and corruption. But then, that is another story.

The real scenario is that with its suggested list of minimum competencies for each level, only about half is met. To illustrate, a grade one pupil should learn the minimum requirement for the grade level. This is not met but the child is promoted to Grade two. Naturally, the child cannot cope with the requirements of the level. Unfortunately, the teacher/s of the level will begin teaching the minimum competencies of this level. And this goes on until high school. By this time, the learning competencies the child should have learned has compiled just like the country's national debt.

If the Department is serious about upgrading the capacity of students to learn, it should instill programs that is designed to teach the students to learn. What about a tutoring program to ensure that the student learns what he/she should be learning in his/her grade level? But then, that would mean more resources, more teachers and more students willing to undergo said program. There are different ways to address the problem but I know that adding another year is definitely not one of them.


bayibhyap said...

You're right, rolly. There are other options and adding another year isn't a good one. If more money is needed to fund the training of more effective teachers, the purchase of better equipment, the construction of more schools, etc., so be it. Let those running the DepEd sit together to look for the money and have an action plan. It need not be a total solution all at once but a graduated one.

Having the students go through another year is a short-sighted attempt born out of convenience. There are many disadvantages resulting from such a move, both immediate and long-term. For a start, by retaining the students for another year, the move taxes the existing scarce resources. The retained students require teachers, classrooms and other resources to keep them there for another year! Consequently this creates a worse situation for the other students who have to share these resources. This is also translated into money but the teachers and the schools bear the brunt and schools continue functioning anyway, with teachers taking more students in each class, marking more assignments, putting in more hours, etc. while drawing the same pay. The consequential low morale results in poorer quality teaching. The students are not as well trained as they should be. The vicious cycle goes on.

(continuation in following post)

bayibhyap said...

In the longer term, each of the retained students loses a year of their productive life. They could have joined the labor market and contribute to earning income and becoming independent, helping their families and adding wealth to their financially beseiged nation. Instead they may well end up losing some self esteem by being retained for another year for remedial classes.

This stigma will be carried by these students in the years to come. Some employers who scrutinize resumes will ask why they take longer to complete junior school and brand them as slow performers. They may not even get equal chances at securing a job.

Employees are human capital and their training begins in school. A good and sound training at school prepares the students to acquire the fundamentals for absorbing other more complex skills that will ensure their ability to fulfil the needs of the job market and the economy.

rolly said...

Hi again,
Thanks for coming back. We seem to be caught in a bottomless pit. The problems are intertwined and we just keep getting lower and lower until hopefully touching rock bottom, if there is.

Talk about employers scrutinizing resumes. There will come a time, if we're not there yet, that employers will even ask applicants for a janitorial job for a college diploma. Consequently, applicants will have to compete with one another. Naturally, the better graduate lands the job. This happens when you are producing more graduates than jobs. When that happens, where will the poor student go?

bayibhyap said...

I think we are already there. The answer is not what some will want to hear. Thousands of Filipinos are working overseas because they are unable to secure decently paid jobs in the Philippines. There are numerous college graduates working as domestic maids overseas, being subjected to conditions that they would not have accepted back home if not for the superior differential in salary.

As they contribute significantly to the revenues of the country, the government just continues to encourage the outflow of manpower. The overseas workers may well be the reason why the government is just managing its budget!

I was a teacher and lecturer for 12 years, rolly. That's why I like your blog and speak with some passion on education issues. I am a trained teacher with experience in education administration but left the profession not because I lost my love for it but more because I became disillusioned with the system.