8th February 12
Last Sunday, after about three years, I went to church. It was not a personal decision, but rather I was dragged by my cousin to accompany her. In a country where 95% are Christians, it was difficult to voice out your opinions with matters regarding “God” or religion. Actually, I really don’t know where I would put myself, is it atheism, agnosticism,deism, or maybe in the broadest sense…the irreligious one. I am not the type of person who bothers herself with what label would I choose to have. Eventually, as I observed with other people (I mean a lot of people) a lot just call themselves “the atheist” or “the agnostic” just to look cool and unique. I remeber one time when I said to my parent’s that I do not believe in God, they just stared at me and said, “Sometimes I do not know if you’re still normal or not”. Yes, I do not believe in a God, I do not believe in a bearded-man in heaven wearing white robes and owns a staff. I do not believe in Jesus Christ as his only son and as a savior of all mankind. Funny thing is, I am a member of a Youth for Christ (YFC). Maybe you would see me as really nuts just as how my parents choose to see me a lot of times, or somewhat indecisive with my beliefs. Let me say this.
I believe that the concept of a God is not the one who lives in the sky and controls our destiny. I do not believe in a God who controls what’s gonna happen in my life and what’s not. I believe that a God is man’s conception of his highest self. Yes, I mean the God within. I believe that when a man prays, he is not talking with some supreme deity high above the sky, but rather he is talking to himself, to the highest conception of himself. We are the ones who control our destiny, we are the captain of our souls, we are the writer of our stories. And sometimes, we don’t need to chant hundreds of verses to our saints just to let God hear you. All you need to do is look inside yourself. Find God within you. Experience silence. And in that one moment of your life, it may change everything.
I know that it may seem absurd that I became a member of YFC back in high school. Yes, I do not believe in Jesus as our savior, because afterall we do not need him to save ourselves, we are the only one who can save ourselves. He’s not the one who decides to fail you in your algebra exam but rather you yourself. Everything that is happening in your life is the consequence of your personal choices. The world you see is your ideals shaped by you and not some mystic on heaven.I decided to become a member of YFC not because of Jesus Christ or because of peer pressure, I joined because I want to discover who I am. During those moments that we pray, I found time to discover the God within me. All this time, I have been busy to live the life outside ,that I forgot to look inside. That’s why Im very thankful with that group.
I may not go to church very often (around once every three years), a lot of people may consider me lunatic because of my opinions, maybe I belong to the 0.1% of our population, but still I will firmly hold on to my ideals. I believe in them. After all, I am a free spirit. I cannot be caged.
Four years from now, the K-12 program of the government will be implemented. The program aims to advance the quality of education in the country by adding two more years of schooling in highschool (which would be equivalent to junior high school). The Department of Education asserts that because of the program, students who earned their highschool diploma will be competent enough to seek for jobs even without a college degree. First of all, I would like to credit the Aquino administration for trying to solve the deteriorating quality of education in the country. But, come on, the idea is completely absurd. The program will not increase the quality of education in the Philippines, it will worsen it. The Philippines has the highest teacher-student ratio at 45:1 in Asia. Imagine yourself sitting in a classroom with 44 other pupils. Do you think that every time each one of them goes out of the classroom, they learned something? Amidst the noise, amidst the difficulty of seeing what is written in the blackboard, do you think each one of the students is given enough attention to participate in class? If the government was to add more years in school, yes it may mean more knowledge that they keep on asserting, but it will also mean another burden to the parents who have a minimum wage of more or less 426 pesos ($9.63) in the National Capital Region (NCR) and an average of 250 pesos($5.65) in the provinces. Because of this, most parents from poor families do not send their children to school because they believe that school is a waste of time and money. That instead of sending their children to school to read and learn it would be better to send them to cities where they can work as helpers and earn money to help their family.
Below are the main arguments and corresponding counter-arguments.
1. The K-12 will solve the annual growing number of out-of-school youth. Students and parents, however complain that it would be an added burden to poor families just as I stated above. While public education is free, a political youth group estimates that a student would still need an average of P20,000 per school year to cover transportation, food, school supplies and other schooling expenses. Also, based on the latest Family Income and Expenditure Survey, families prioritize spending for food and other basic needs over their children’s school needs. Two more years for basic education would inevitably translate to higher dropout rate.
2. The K-12 will address low achievement scores and poor academic performance of elementary and high school students. Really?! Are high achievement scores the basis of a good education in the country? No wonder there are a lot of schools who cheat their way to the top. Take for example on what happened to a Cebu City school principal who got suspended because of allegedly initiating a cheating bonanza at the National Achievement Test (NAT) in her school and also another school principal from Iloilo got suspended also of the same holy activity. As for the academic performance especially in public schools, if you want to increase the quality of it, why dont you allocate more budget on books, training of teachers, more classrooms so that instead of 45 students sharing a room it could go down by 30, and ofcourse other materials that are necessary for a student to learn more and that eventually improve her performance in school. That way, teachers wont have to cheat just to get a high score.
3. The DepEd has enough resources to implement the K-12. No wonder we have shortage of 49,699 public school teachers in the Philippines, plus the thousands (or even millions) of classrooms in the country. And also add the budget cut for state universities and colleges. Sighs. Im wasting my time if Ill continue to argue about this. This is very obvious. You have enough resources to implement the K-12 but nowhere-to-be-found budget for college education. Honestly, I found the project really ridiculous. Absolutely comical. Just because most well-off countries have this program as their basic model for education it doesnt mean that it will also work for us.
I am not saying that there is something wrong with the program itself but rather I believe that this is not the right time to implement this program. Not in this moment wherein there is a confusion about what is the real meaning of a good education in the Philippines. Is it really about the numbers? Or is it about a single student, who at the end of the day goes out of her classroom weary, but at the same time is full of excitement about something that she learned inside the four walls of the classroom? What the government should do is not only consider education as the only problem in the country right now. What about employment, which is a great factor in determining who gets the opportunity to go to school and who does not, what about health, what about the increasing population in the country, which means more classrooms,more teachers, more blackboards.
The real problem is that the government is trying to see the problem individually an not as a tangled web. The problems are all connected with each other : education, health, employment, population, corruption, and even national security. The government must not only make sure that each student will get a degree in the end of her education as a proof that she is competent enough in the outside world, but rather it must make sure that even one student, that each student, learned something, developed something, and was able to become a better Filipino when she faces the real word, the real determiner of whose going to succeed or not, of who is better or a failure. The government must make sure that the student will be ready to face society.
At first I wanted to start this blog by writing something about myself. Honestly, it was not easier than I thought…so I changed my mind. I realized that no matter how you keep on telling everyone that you’re someone who is very creative or extremely talented, they won’t waste you’re time with you unless you show them what you’ve got. This is not the first blog that I created, and just like the others I’ve written before, there is no certainty if this will last long. But somehow I believe that there is something different with this. Maybe because I did not create this just to have a thousand followers or to increase my social network. As a matter of fact, there is a part of me that hopes that this would remain anonymous and unread all throughout. This blog is a glimpse to who I really am . My own private corner to which I can freely express my opinions on different things. A place where I can create compositions showcasing both my talent and my convictions. This blog is me.