The following pitiful and shameful phenomena have been long since well noticed and duly noted as far as education in the country was concerned: one, there are less and less children going to school on account of poverty. Two, there are less and less qualified teachers attending to them. Three, there is less and less budget for education vis-à-vis the inflation.
And the more and more confirmed over-all result of such liabilities is one and the same: guaranteed quality non-education of the children and youth in the country. In other words, theirs is forthcoming ignorance guaranteed.
Lately, the national leadership as customary wanted to brag that education in the country was fairing well. There was the fervent attempt to openly and loudly announce that public school rooms were enough to accommodate the projected number of students for the present school year.
When it was said that such was in fact not the case, the remedial response was customary and predictable: scold and shame the messenger of bad news. Simply juggle the figures. Imagine everything is all right. And the problem is gone. Wrong! Merely thinking happy in no way resolves a grim reality.
Never mind if regular sized classrooms are divided into two. It is all right to pack the students like sardines in a 50% reduced sized classroom. It is of no consequence if there be even three different classes using the same room in three shifts, i.e., 6 to 10 am to 2 pm, 2 to 6 pm. How neat!
What happened to the bright promises that education would be always a priority agenda of the present government? Where have all the share of the public funds for education gone? What will be the future of the children and the youth some time from now? Will the country be also last in the community of nations not only in economic development but also in the sphere of education?
One of the few assets of this country is an educated population. That is why it has people as a quality export. That is why this nation is still somehow afloat through the regular sizable remittances of its OFWs. That is why it is rightly said that education is wealth. This makes ignorance poverty. No wonder then that the country in effect is expected to become even poorer in the fearful years to come…
+ O. V. Cruz, D.D.
9 June 2006