Ng: Education and juvenile delinquency

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Thursday, February 2, 2012


LAST week, I attended Diwa’s Teachers’ Congress. Diwa is a leading publisher of educational materials and the company updated the schools on their new offerings, in particular their computer-aided learning and management system.

Some of the speakers were well-known personalities. One of them was Isagani Cruz, a former Department of Education undersecretary, and a respected educator. He talked about the forthcoming K12 system that the Philippines is adopting and how it will be implemented.

It is noteworthy that we are finally going to a 12-year standard education system. As I noted in my previous columns, the Philippines is one of the very few countries with a 10-year basic education. Majority of the countries implement 12-year education systems. In the information age where the level of learning is the gauge of the level of economic development and progress, our having two years less of schooling will work to our disadvantage.

But I learned something else. One of the statistics he presented was that because we only have a 10-year basic education, most of the students graduate at the age of 16 or 17. Only about 43 percent of the children who enroll in grade 1 make it and graduate to high school. But there is another statistic - of the 43 percent who graduate, less than 20 percent enroll in college.

So you are looking at more than 20 percent drop out between high school and college.

Apparently, for those families who are hard-up, a high school graduation is a milestone and probably signals that the person has already attained some basic level of education and may choose to stop.

However, a problem arises – when you are 16 or 17, you cannot legally get a job. If you stop studying and you are not employed, what are you going to do? He said that a lot of problems with drugs, juvenile delinquency, crime, and even teen age pregnancy occur in this age. So one of the things the government feels that they need to address is to ensure that a student will graduate high school at age 18 or 19. By that time, the additional two years of education will not only make them more qualified for better jobs, but their age also means that they can now legally look for jobs and be gainfully hired. Moreover, when they are 18 or 19, they also become more mature and can choose their college course better. Many 16 or 17 year olds really just took the course their friends or their family recommended - they are still too young to make a very informed decision.

On another front, the hottest news in technology is the pending IPO and listing of Facebook in the stock exchange. Finally, Facebook will become a public company although many say that they don’t need the money. In the last three years, Facebook has accelerated from just a little over 100 million members to over 845 million as of today. The money also zoomed up. Three years ago, they had total revenues of $272 million and lost $56 million.

In 2011, the company reported a revenue of $3.7 billion and made a profit of a billion dollars.

Where did they get the money as Facebook is free? They disclosed (as it is necessary to disclose when you want to become a public company) that 85 percent of the money comes from advertising, which totaled $3.2 billion in 2011.

The other 500 million is interesting - it actually came from just one company - Zynga, the publisher of such games as Farmville and Mafia Wars. Zynga makes a lot of money selling farm utensils and other things you need in games. A dollar here, two dollars there, and soon it totals well over a billion dollars.

Zynga works on top of Facebook and Facebook gets 30 percent of whatever Zynga sells, so last year, Zynga had to pay Facebook about $557 million - these are just commissions for hosting the games of one company. Ain’t it a great way to make money?

(www.twitter.com/wilsonng)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 03, 2012.

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