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Sunday, October 17, 2004

Darker days! Cause and Effect?

First, I'd like to thank whoever were responsible for voting my blog as pinoyblog of the week and the person who did the wonderful write-up that accompanied it. Thanks, too, to Doc Emer who congratulated me first and from whom I learned about it and the succeeding congratulations I got from my friends. Now, on to blogging.

Side by side in today's Opinion page of the SIM are two alarming stories on the plight of education in the country. In some ways, it can be viewed as the cause and the aftermath. Isagani Cruz in his article The pathetic record of our public schools has reason to be appalled by the report that from among the high school seniors who took the National Achievement Test, only 13% got a score of 75% and above. Now that is appalling for our generation seems to be failing to do our share in securing not only a bright future but our sheer existence in this planet as a people who can govern ourselves.

The editorials' column,Flaws on the other hand gives us that part of the reason can be attributed to none other than the DepEd itself. Textbooks used in public schools contain glaring errors. Sassy had enumerated some of these glaring errors here.

While the article does not leave the blame alone on the DepEd, I would put most of the blame on the department. Just like in my school where a committee is formed to review the textbooks that we require our students to buy, I would assume there is such a thing in the department. For after all, it is accountable to the entire learning population in the public schools. They were tasked to safeguard the quality of the educational system and much to my regret, they failed miserably. I don't know how true this is but I have heard that the department is one, of if not the most corrupt department in the country today. Allegedly, publishers have their agents queued for long hours in the Department just to get their books approved. And they stash huge amounts just so they get the approval. And why not? If approved, they will be assured of millions of sales. Well, unconfirmed but it may be true. With the quality of the books used, and the glaring errors that surfaced to date, one might wonder how these books passed the screening, rigid or not.

Of course, teachers should be held accountable as well. Even if there were errors in the books, a good teacher could have spotted it right away and should have made the correction when passing the information to their students. True, but the problem here is, will the students believe the teacher right away? For after all, the book says otherwise. Remember, these students do not have access to many resources than their counterparts in the private schools. And worse, will they have time to check out the sources? While a part of them are more concerned about helping the family eke an additional income,a bigger percentage of them are probably daydreaming about how rich they would have been if they could be like their idols on tv. Something Cruz attributes to the deteriorating quality of our students. Who are these idols on tv? Screaming faggots, singers, actors and actresses cum politicians. Too bad, education could have bridged the gap between the haves and have nots. But with this development, the gap becomes farther and farther away. Truly, the future remains bleak.

If we had been Dianne Reeve's point of reference, she would not have been singing "Better Days" but "Darker Days" instead.

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Blogger Ate Sienna said...

you know what i've heard, unkel rolly? and this is just hearsay, pero who knows... I've heard na sa DeptEd daw, may lagay system din. Pataasan daw ng suhol ang mga publishers para ang libro nila ang gamitin. So, needless to say, kung sino ang may pinakamalaking suhol sa mga nagdedesisyon, yun ang mananalo. How true is this, I'm not really sure. Pero, come to think of it, kung wala na ngang namang nag-qua-quality control sa mga librong pinapasok nila sa public schools, ano na nga naman ang basehan nila, diba?

I remember nung nag-aaral pa ako nun, kapag may mga pa-contest nun sa department of education, takot na takot ang mga representatives namin to play against Ramon Magsaysay High School kasi magagaling ang mga taga-Ramon. Kahit nung elementary ako, di ko na lang maalala yung school, may mga strong rivals din kami nun from the public schools.

I guess, dala na rin siguro ng ekonomiya. Most of the good teachers in the public schools had left the country already or have transferred to private schools. Kumbaga, may brain-drain na...

10:23 PM  
Blogger cathcath said...

Congrats. Galing-galing.

10:53 PM  
Blogger cathcath said...

I remember the news about the Deped officials in-charge of Instructional Materials who were convicted for mishandling the Depedfunds. They played the role of that of an investment guru instead of being guardians of the materials that shape the minds of the youth.

I also remember the cousin of Erap who tried to bribe
not only the Deped officials but the Malacanan people as well for transaction that involved a book publisher. Erap defended the cousin by justifying the
influence peddling of his relatives.

11:08 PM  
Blogger Jules said...

**sigh. is there an end to our litany of woes? i just wish that those stupid blind authors would have enough humility to admit their mistakes and recall the whole damn batch of books. just like how they recalled vioxx from the shelves.

1:14 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

Ate Sienna Oo nga. Madalas ko ring marinig yang tungkol sa suhulan sa DepEd, Siguro nga totoo no?

Cathy Thanks a lot. yes, with the approval of these erroneous books, I would say there is truth to the rumor of DepEd being the most corrupt governemnt agencies

Julsitos Actually, I don't think it's always the author's fault. I wrote a textbook for Art years ago, and I was dismayed that it contained errors in printing. I thought the publishers will correct it the following year but no, they didn't. It's no longer in print now, though.

4:09 AM  
Blogger bayibhyap said...

The government has to allocate more resources to education to lift the standards of schools, teaching staff and student's education in the country. This is the future of the country and we are developing the software that will take care of the hardware, all the infrastructures, of the country.

Allowing the standard of education to deteriorate spells trouble in the long run and the country will lose its competitive edge through its many undesired consequences.

There is an urgency to nail the problems now!

9:05 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

Bayi the real problem is that we know this for a long time but still... corruption is getting the better of us and all the citizens can so is sigh and rant.

9:32 AM  
Blogger BongK said...

Ka Rolly

there is really an education crisis that concerned authorities should look into and do something about it, more than the financial crisis we are experiencing now. it is unfortunate that the generation to come will bear the brunt of this (education) crisis.

btw, hope it's not too late to say this but Congratulations Sir!

12:18 PM  
Blogger Dr. Emer said...

The DepEd has a fault.

The textbooks' authors have faults, too.

Parents who have no time and plenty of excuses have faults, too.

This early, Tito Rolly, you can see what our tomorrow looks like, if we have to go with Rizal's mindset that the youth stands as the sole hope of the motherland.

1:20 PM  
Blogger ting-aling said...

Noong ako ay nasa Mababang Paaralan pa, I used to look up on the Dept of Education Minister. Like His word was already the rule Panahon pa yon ni Marcos at ako ay mangmang pa). Current Events Digest pa ang aming binibili and I thought this was a very informative tool in learning. Who wood forget the "This is Bantay, This is Pilar, This is Pepe" or the "Run Bantay run" books. When my kids were in Elementary, I asked my sister to send us some Math and Reading books..lo and behold..ayaw kong ipahawak sa mga anak ko. They were full of spelling, calculation and grammatical errors. I was dismayed..I don't remember our books to be that bad when I was young. Di ako maka Marcos ha.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Cerridwen said...

politics - its everywhere and where politic is briery is there...isn't it?

Here is a question... why not (Dept of Ed) have it's own publishing company to publish the materials that the school district will use and need? As I see it, it will save the Dept more money and there will be less politics. (Just a thought) :)

Parents also should be involved in deciding for this materials. When I was younger, lists of books and introduction of new books for the school year are given to the parents to see and review during PTO (Parent Teacher Org). Any book that concerns any parents can be discussed with the school district during the quarterly meeting and then a panel reviews it. Panel is consist of the School dist rep, city mayor, congressman, parents and ordinary citizen. We had books that was replaced the following year based on the decision of this panel. I am not saying it's fool proof but it helps. Books can be approved but then it can also be pulled out. It's like having a test run.

Congrats tito rolly for the nomination :)

1:37 PM  
Blogger santi said...

Tito Rolly,
I was also a product of public schools in all my school years. The figures mentioned in the article are really saddening. Since they came from public schools, we can also assume that they came from poor families. The government should be alerted by these figures as this will also affect the efforts being done to alleviate poverty. What future do you expect for these children based on these figures? Yes, I agree that there are a lot of aspects that have contributed to this deterioration and I could only wish that the government should really take the challenge seriously and solve this problem with genuine efforts taking into consideration all these aspects.

2:05 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

BongK Mukhang naayos na ang server nyo at naka-access ka na sa site ko. Buti naman. I hope the so-called concerned authorities are bent on fixing the problem. If this goes on, we would have gone from pathetic to oblivion.

Doc Emer I hope we don't become prophets of doom but from the looks of it, it seems we will be in a much bigger mess than we are already in.

Tingaling Oo nga. I remember reading books that were American based. None of these books are here anymore. Rightfully, sana, because we now have books that conform to our culture. Pero kung parati namang haphazardly done for easy profit, I'd say, ibalik na lang yung dati.

Cerridwen Politics in itself should have not been bad. It's greed that envelopes the practitioners that is the root of all the problems we are facing.

Santi Actually, with the present economy, you cannot say that only poor people are in the public schools. just because a student is in a private school doesn't necessarily mean s/he's well-off. Chances are the parents are trying hard to send him/her to a private school simply because education is still perceived to be the ticket away from poverty. Many parents think of sending their children to the best schools as an investment.

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

congrats sir! ^__^

(hint on who I am? errr... sophomore po ako, ang matandaan ko lang is, sinamahan ninyo ako nung sinali ako sa kulay kabataan nung grade 4 ata ako. haha!!)


6:16 PM  
Blogger watson said...

Makiki-Tito na rin po ako ...

Tito Rolly, I've been reading the comments and yes, when I was in grade school in the 70s, the Department of Education was a figure of authority. I can even recall a certain Quisumbing, to think that I'm very poor with names!

I'm a product of a private school (St. Louis University), and I can say the books we had then were top-notch. We had Belen and Ruben for Filipino, and David and Ann for English class. (Funny that I should mention this, probably because other schools didn't have David and Ann). Which brings me to saying that public schools in those days were as good as any, as attested by friends back in high school who came from public schools.

Such is the sad state of today's educational system. I also heard there is lagay system there. Shame on them who gamble with the children's future!

7:12 PM  
Blogger goeman said...

if we start with the assumption that the educational system then (60's, 70's, 80's) is better than it is now (as attested by many), then wouldn't it be also safe to say that it follows that the product of that system are excellent students/individuals? now these excellent students have become the professionals, teachers and leaders of today. so shouldn't the educational system today be better than it was 10, 20, 30 or 40 years ago? then why do we have these problems with books giving wrong information? hmmm. why is my logic wrong?

anyways, this reminds me of a story told by Richard Feynman (a Nobel prize winner in physics and an excellent teacher). he once served on the california state board of education and tasked with selecting books for the public schools. he was shocked to find out that many of the books contain erroneous information. what's more, when they started evaluating the books, he was shocked to find out that some members of the board actually has an evaluation report for books that hasn't been published yet and that the only copy given to them was the title page. for a more complete version, buy his book Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman, or read the excerpt here.

7:56 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

eri naman... ang tagal na nun. Ilang estudyante na ba nasamahan ko sa contest? Anyway, I think you're talking about the one held in Marymount, right? Hmmm...

watson thanks for dropping by. Hmmm St. Louis is a very good school. I don't think I used the same books you did, though. I took my elementary during the un, 60's in a Catholic school in Caloocan. I used to read the stories in our reading book which is American based. Yes, the dog was named Spot. See Spot run. Run Spot run! Well something like that. Yes, shame on them. But as it is, makakapal na mga pagmumukha ng mga yon.

Renan Welcome to my blog. Interesting logic you got there. I think there's something that happened to the learners then, they became corrupt and greedy. Nothing's wrong with your equation, actually. When they decided to scrap the American books, and rightfully so because these are not based on our culture, they were probably in a hurry to get the job done. Then, money came pouring in... Quality suffered...

Thanks for the Richard Feynman link. I have a suspicion this is what's happening here, too.

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hindi po, sa woodrose po. haha!


9:36 PM  
Blogger Mec said...

The Principals of public schools get some 10% commission, as part of their incentive, in whatever books they buy. Basically, this is why public schools keep buy different books year in and year out.

And of course, it's alarming how, in their corruption, they miss checking these books for wrong info...

It's also alarming that the DepEd doesn't review these books first before they are allowed to be published and sold...

Like what my former classmates would say to me before, they'd rather type their own summaries and modules and photocopy these for the kids... using their own money... rather than depend on our good government to actually do something about it...

And of course, upon reports of this atrocity, has GMA issued recall of said books, and suspension/investigation of those in-charge?

Syempre wala :)

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nakkkssss!! ahem ahem!!1

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sobrang importante po talaga na maganda ang mga libro na ginagamit sa schools. tulad po ng sinabi niyo, a student would have a hard time believing a teacher over a book. kahit po sa private schools, ang dami po palang maling naituro, particularly sa history. henry otley beyer's theory on the waves of migration, apparently, has no actual, incontrovertible proof to back it up. we read a really good article on the matter, but i forgot the title and author. hihi. my history teacher, professor grace mateo, is part of the DepEd, i think. and she's made it her project to "enlighten" the misguided history teachers who have been teaching otherwise for years. maybe we need more people like her in the department. :)

6:32 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

eri Aha, I think I know who you are. Marunong ka di ba? :-)

Mec I tried accessing your site again but to no avail. Hope you can give me your addy so we can link up. Anyway, i didn't know that principals get 10% but I wouldn't be surprised about that. That seems to be the norm. Corruption is deeply embedded in our system yata e. Your friends are very dedicated. But how many are they? Most public school teachers have their teching positions as their livelihood. you don't expect them to be like your friends, I guess. But I hope I'm wrong.

Anonymous I hope you identify yourself next time. Anyway, tama ka. Students would have a hard time believing their teachers if the books their reading is different from the ones their being taught. Ang concept pa rin ng marami ay tama ang libro. Hindi siya magiging libro kung mali, di ba? mahirap yun. And you would be surprised to find out there are a lot of things that we've been taught in history na mali pala. More and more evidences are coming up to prove that our history books carry inconsistencies. Mostly, books written during the American period. May kasamang propaganda kasi. Ambeth Ocampo is one historian who is unraveling these inconsistencies from time to time. You might want to check out his books. Siya, next time, mag-sign ka hane?

8:29 PM  
Blogger santi said...

Tito Rolly,
Don't you think this also has to do with the level of teaching nowadays. In our time, we come to school as grade one without knowledge of anything. Now it is a great advantage (or I think it is now required) that a grade one student has finished kindergarten studies. My wife also is experiencing difficulty herself teaching our son because some lessons seem to be already advanced for elementary students or that these lessons are prepared for those really intelligent students, that is why some average and below average students are suffering.

9:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hehe. sorry. si miki po 'to. forgot to put my name. :) renato constantino's a past revisited was a somewhat enlightening read. instead of being disappointed, it's actually surprisingly fun being disillusioned about once-glorified national heroes. haha.

at tulad po ng sabi niyo, the different occupation periods, e.g. the american period, did color the way history was written. zeus salazar wrote an article called "pantayong pananaw." he said history should be written by us and FOR US. it's a good read. i found this article on the web. although it doesn't really focus on salazar's work, it discusses a few of his major points. :) baka lang po interesado kayo. hehe.

5:21 PM  
Blogger BatJay said...

bossing, congratulations sa pagpili sa site mo na "blog of the week". ang galing ano? parang kailan lang ay sinisimulan mo lang itong i-conceptualize. great work - congratulations.

4:43 PM  

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