He eagerly and exhaustively told me his everyday struggle as a teacher in a public school in Metro Manila. I was eating cold, hard rice coupled with Pinaksiwan na bangus, but his narration is much harder to swallow.
“It is not a joke to be a teacher”, he said. I could not distinguish if it was a signal of anguish or desperation. I continued to listen.
“There are 11,000 students in our school, 60 students per section, there are 30 sections.”
Bangus halted in the middle of my esophagus. I grabbed and swiftly sipped a cold water from my James Reid glass.
“Because of the scarcity of rooms, our school don’t even have a library.”
“Kulang din ang upuan.”, he added
I stopped from chewing the talbos ng kamote. I looked at him in the eye.
“In my class, out of 60, only 5 pay attention.”
Ernie is only one of the hundreds of thousands of Filipino teachers who are suffering from severe educational depression and suppression. The problem can be viewed in two ways:
One, is the amount of students. The government funds allotted for education is not enough to provide quality education for students. We are pushing that every child should receive proper education but how can you provide an acceptable quality education in a 60:1 ratio? In a school without a library? With teachers whose salaries cannot feed their own children? What if we educate only the deserving, striving students and let those who are idle to enroll in private schools and pay for their own tuition? There must be a distinction and limit here, to save the greater majority we need to do some adjustments. People’s taxes should educate deserving and potentially good students only, educating the otherwise in unwise spending.
Two, our teachers. In order, to drive the best from each student we need teachers who are passionate and driven enough to inspire his/her students. With the present set-up, It seems that politics and nepotism are in effect vs. the core competency of the individual. Each teacher should teach a subject closest to his/heart, brain and soul. Increase the salary of those who are performing well, promote those who are exceptional irregardless of age or sex.
These problems are multi-dimensional. What we need is a reform in our educational system. Consider education as a privilege and not a right. I don’t know on how to solve this, but the departments involved should start on actively listening to the younger generation. The educational system should evolve.
All our country’s problem are rooted from poor education, there is no change if we continue with this framework.
Sad to say, if I have to give an oral recitation and performance grade to government agencies involved, It would really hurt me if I will give a passing grade.
It’s time to send to your principal, division superintendent and Department of Education heads their report class cards showing their grades, with the remark:
Pagbutihin sana sa susunod na pasukan.