What's in a school?

by Mike Portes-Borromeo

02 Dec 2002

Note: The following is an article originally published in Peyups.com that was personally contributed to Get Real! by the author.

Please direct your comments to this article here

Education. The most invaluable gift any parent can give. The light at the end of the tunnel for the working student. Some say it's an investment, others an obligation, still others say it's a right. When a parent or a graduating high school senior goes hunting for a school, what's on their minds? Prestige? Curriculum? Tuition? Proximity? Shouldn't be the case, too superficial. The best thing I learned from my old university is that I should never let academics ruin my education.

What's the point of getting an "uno" when you "paid" your prof for it? What's the point of getting a "good standing" in your assessment if you majored on cheating? What good will it do you if you bag a diploma without learning anything aside what's said in your references?

Reality check, education is most often taken at face value. What matters most are titles, diplomas and the transcript. Filipinos ride on such trifle to fast track the social climb to the top. Perfecting skills in the art of creative curriculum vitae manipulation and enhancing strategic network building. More feathers on our caps -even plucked from a chicken, the better.

But what good has our education and titles done to enhance our future as a cohesive people?

Catholic educational institutions churn out Co�os and pa-Co�os oblivious of their less fortunate brethren, more focused on cultivating the money tree;

Non-sectarian schools mill cynics, willing to face battle with truncheons and shake the peace;

Colehiyalas flock to employment lines, with anemic credentials but armed with connections;

Universities have produced the creme de la creme of criminals and manipulators, who have bled our government treasury dry;

Families, being part of the educating process, instill discrimination on others falling out of the mold.

Education should have empowered the people with a sense of responsibility to keep the word "Philippines", a noun connoting dignity and honor. Instead, education has given us a nation, divided. A nation of many identities, each in contempt of the other. A nation which claims to be a democracy when in truth, is an anarchy of eloquent liars. A nation drowning in it's economy, surviving on remittances in an ocean of debt. A nation struggling to keep its sovereignty intact, inspite being branded as the basketcase of Asia. A nation of Catholics, buttered in human-rights hypocrisy. A nation of the educated but all in fallacy.

Education is supposed to enlighten individuals. Equip students with a better understanding of life based on knowledge gained from the classroom, the campus and their peers. Empower its students with abilities to be citizens of the world. Sadly, our educational system has produced not so many.

Instead, our universities and colleges have produced a multitude of "new-age" colonizers. A generation of self-satisfied individuals huffing with false pride. Philippine history has it, that when the waves of foreign colonists came, each raped not only our resources but the minds of the natives as well. They have taken not only pieces of our country but the sense of country as well, resulting in a malignant case of identity-crisis. The kastilaloys, japs and kanos are long gone and in their place, the self-righteous educated have taken over the role, these foreigners left behind. The apathetic privileged have continuously exploited the unwitting to advance themselves. Filipinos have been trying to up one another in a struggle to be who, we are not. Masking ulterior motives with ranks, credentials, and good merchandising.

Education has given nothing back to the mother country worse, to the soul.

It is high time to be a cohesive force to put old humpy-dumpy back together again. Noblesse Oblige. A french phrase to say that privilege entails reponsibility. Education should reach out to the ignorant, concoct innovative ways to instill the truth. Education should make leaders with vision, harness potentials to benefit the majority. Education should make us humble, accept criticism lightly and constructively. Education should make us a people, empowered with the lessons of history and the strength of our minds.

As we sit back, browsing on our monitors, living our lives as we usually we do, going about like automatons, stop to realize if we are contributing to a future we can hold onto in a nation we have made for ourselves.

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