Table Talk: Of holidays and ‘holinights’ PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 07 September 2011 14:56

BY Mike S. Apostol

Philippines’ universities, including Asia’s best in the past, the University of the Philippines, a government institution, and Ateneo de Manila University, a prime jesuit sectarian school, did not land on the world’s top 300 schools, according to a London based company especializing in education and studies abroad. What made it lamentable is that the two elite universities of the country even slid down further if compared to a survey in the past. The reason is obvious. Not only big universities in the big cities of the country, where the education sysem and result are discouraging, but, even in smaller cities and provinces, universities and colleges educational system and its results are noted to be falling in standard. There are many reasons attributed to the phenomenon. Undisciplined students are one of them. This can be attributed to the students’ upbringing at home. Second, too much fraternizing and bonding between students-teachers, teachers-teachers and students-students. A student-teacher bonding often leads to favoritism, thereby students graduate because of friendship and educational standards of the school are discounted. In a teacher-teacher bonding, the educational system of the school becomes like an organized syndicate to the detriment of the students and the school administration. In this scenario when the faculty bonds together like a fraternity, and when students commit a mistake or argues with one teacher, the entire faculty comes to the rescue thereby disregarding reasons from the erring student and “due process” is forgotten. Or if the head of the school reprimands one teacher for some mistakes, like fraternity and sorority club, the whole faculty will do their best to protect that colleague. Then in a student-student bonding, like any other closely knitted organization and family, they will always have their way around if their interest is affected. With these observations, surely, the Philippines school system and standard retrogressed instead of progressed. Too much politics in all school organizations also destroys educational standards. Listen to the many complaints of high school and college students and you will know the type of character some of our teachers, instructors and professors have. Even their highest educational qualification, like doctoral and masteral can not change their congenital bad characters. Like an old Chinese saying “a pig kept in a pig sty for many years, once it escapes from the sty will always look for dung”. Sorry for the bad language but that’s how its is for some people. I have been a teacher and my father was a teacher, but, it’s totally different now.
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One qualification that should be added in the minimum qualification for a very high position like a president of a university, aside from the standard, age, educational attainment, experience, etc. etc, one very important qualification was missed by government like:  IF THE APPLICANT IS MALE, MUST BE A REAL MALE, IF FEMALE MUST BE A REAL FEMALE. Perhaps with this additional qualificattion, educational standards will improve and save the educational system from scandals and useless programs and projects like expensive beauty pageants and fashion shows which corrupt the minors and tempt dirty old men. We should go back to the basics and one curiculum that should be taught in the elemenary grades is “ Good Manners and Right Conduct” and don’t glorify the unfeats of the third kind.
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District 2 Representative Maria Isabel “Beng” Climaco, Deputy House Speaker for Mindanao, said in a news item that “she has expressed satisfaction on the initial proposal presented by the Philippine government panel to the MILF panel”, but, at the same time also “hopes that more dialogues between the government and the MILF and more discussions with stakeholders and come up with an accord that is acceptable to the majority”. Why is the lady solon satisfied with the proposal but at the same time hope for more dialogues and consultation? What part of the proposal was she satisfied? There is more that meets the eye in this observation by Representative Climaco and must not be too subservient with President Aquino (Aqui No) or anybody, because in this case our children’s future is at stake and many people are relying their trust on her. She should not fail them.
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In one of my travels in the Peninsula, during that long holidays of “Hariraya Puasa”, I asked a student why they have classes even if the government declared holidays during those days. They said they are exempted because they are on night classes and not day classes and the government did not declare “holinights”. I thought it was a joke but it is true. What can DepEd and CHED have to say  on this? If indeed this is true and the holiday declaration was taken literally, and following that logic there can never be a female president in this country because the qualifications written in our Constitution outrightly says “He” must be a natural born Filipino, He must be able to read and write, He must be a resident of the Philippines for 20 years, etc.etc” it did not say “She”.