Sunday, February 13, 2005

Tales from the Zone...

Or why I’m bitter toward science high schools and main high schools

We had our NatSit (National Situationer, a seminar about the condition of a certain aspect of the Nation) in ANI last Wednesday, which was all about the condition of the public education system in the Philippines.

It was times like this that reminds me about the time I was reading “Youngblood 1.0” particularly the article “Mad” by Princess Catnip (a pseudonym). Sure, the article was published in 1995 and we may be working on a totally different context; however, I doubt that there was much difference during her period of time and mine. It was about a girl who was having trouble enrolling in a private high school because she fell into the wrong company, because of her former school’s lack of guidance. However, I can’t help but feel angered and annoyed by her representation of the public schools. She portrayed (in a passing manner) the public school teachers as merchants of processed meat and the students as a rambunctious group of troublemakers. I know that she lives outside the system and I can’t blame her for her thoughts regarding the system; nevertheless, the representation was still unfair. I myself wasn’t enthusiastic upon learning that I would go to a public high school. I’m not planning to defend the institution though, it’s just that if we’re going to demonize people, might as well blame the people who are really responsible. I believe I understand the system more being an insider.

To understand the situation, we have to take a look at how the institution works. To be able to start the construction of any public institution, a government official: a congressman; mayor; or vice-mayor, in that locality will propose and sponsor the building of that institution.

These institutions have to receive funding to continue operating. The science high schools receive the first priority from the local government. This is understandable given that the students in these schools are supposedly the crème de la crop of their respective localities.

The next priority would be what I would like to call as the state high schools or mainly the so-called main high schools. They are schools who carry the name of that certain locality. Mainly they receive high priority because they are schools that have the highest student population. Their students are also chosen most of the time to represent their division.

Here is where the politics come into play in the public system of education. They are what I would like to refer to as pet schools. They are the schools who were sponsored by the current administration. They receive support from the local government because the government officials that proposed their construction are currently in position.

Unfortunately, not all schools fall under any of the categories above. Schools which were sponsored by the current opposition and those, whose administrators lack political will in managing their responsibility, are the victims of this situation. They receive less access to academic opportunities outside of school and are most of the time inconvenienced.

A particular example of this is during my second year high school. This was the time that I started studying in public high school. Our school was sponsored by the congressman in the past administration and happened to be a rival of the officials in the present administration. Barely a month after the beginning of classes we learned that the school will be relocated to a different area in the city where another school was being built. The local government reasoned that majority of the students enrolled in our school were non-residents in the city (This occurred a year before the widely publicized displacement of students in Marikina City. The then mayor reasoned that the students were non-residents. However this runs contrary to the constitution which states that it is the government’s responsibility to provide its youth with education. This did not state that the student would be limited in his choice with the locality of the school.) Though this greatly inconvenienced the parents and students, they had little choice left given that the enrollment period was far from over. Majority of the students chose to be transferred to the proposed site of the new school.

They are not also given ample opportunities to understand and learn their talents through activities outside the school. Once an independent enrichment program asked for coordination from the Division Office to help provide skillful students a chance to enhance their learning, the offer was first given to their main high school in Marikina. Only after being turned down did the offer reach the other public schools: offered only the crumbs of a feast.

We have been demonizing the wrong people at times. Can we blame the teacher for selling processed meat at class to compensate with her very low salary because of the government’s political motives? Can we blame a rambunctious student for getting into riots because the institution refuses to provide the proper guidance to him through counseling and ample academic opportunities? I am not rationalizing their actions for they are wrong but we have to understand that they are actually the casualties rather than the oppressors in this situation.

There is something wrong with the education system, but we’re not solving anything by demonizing the wrong people. We should be blaming the institution, not the ones under it. Heck, if we’re gonna hate the people in the system, might as well hate the people who are really the ones at fault.

2 Comments:

Blogger eyn said...

ok lang yan enzo....don't make it too hard for yourself. parepareho lang naman tayong galing sa public high school diba?...but look at you,(us)now...ok naman tayo diba....i understand na hindi talaga maganda ang education system dito sa pilipinas but we as youth of this generation can make a difference naman diba?....i know we can...lalo na you.... Gud luck sa pagsusulat...tuloy mo lang yan, salamat at may nagtya2ga na magsulat para lang ishare samin yung kanyang ideas...

7:06 PM  
Blogger eyn said...

ok lang yan enzo....don't make it too hard for yourself. parepareho lang naman tayong galing sa public high school diba?...but look at you,(us)now...ok naman tayo diba....i understand na hindi talaga maganda ang education system dito sa pilipinas but we as youth of this generation can make a difference naman diba?....i know we can...lalo na you.... Gud luck sa pagsusulat...tuloy mo lang yan, salamat at may nagtya2ga na magsulat para lang ishare samin yung kanyang ideas...

7:06 PM  

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