MOST schools in the Philippines officially opened yesterday, June 8. Last week many complaints were hurled at Department of Education and local officials for the unpreparedness of the schools for the early opening of the supposed last year of the old Philippine educational system. Lack of classrooms and inadequate facilities topped the list of the complaints of teachers, students, and parents. I am sure this week will not be that busy and stressful for private schools, I am sure, are ready and prepared for the school year.

Twinning with the school opening is the rainy season. Rains are starting to pour signaling the end of drought in the country. While the authorities are still holding onto the drought myth, the rains kept pouring in. It is also seeping into the ill-constructed classrooms of public schools. Soon, we will be seeing great floods in Manila and declaration of no classes, not because of the floods or typhoons but because of the poor drainage in the metro. Actually, this is the main reason why they say, we produce mediocre graduates in public schools and there is a need to add two more years in high school.

I agree with a columnist who said that it is not K-12 that will answer or put us in place within the Asean Integration project, but change in the management of the Philippine education. The purpose of education should be the total development of the child and not his employment abroad. It seems that the framers of the K-12 program and the managers of DepEd aim for the graduates of high school to land a job. DepEd should be reminded that this is not the purpose of basic and secondary education. Employment is the lookout of higher education and not of basic education. Anyway, K-12 is not yet fully implemented, we will see the real objective as it unfolds in front of our very eyes that we are just being used by the first world countries.

Let me go back to the end of summer. Summer is time of the year where classroom walls are torn down and a bigger classroom surprises the students. This is the time where students learn more things outside the book. It is also the time where science becomes a reality. The rice fields and river banks become a biology laboratory. The streets become the corridors of Engineering. The sparing bouts with friends become the Physical Education classes. Visit to grandparents, uncles, and aunties are likened to a visit to the principal’s office. Playing with cousins is like social studies lectures. And a whole summer allowance is like a Mathematics class. These are things we will miss of summer. Now, we once again go back to a room of 40 students and a big board in front of us. Today, the enclosure is once again set up and we have to clip our wings, and sit down on a chair to listen to our teacher as she shares once more what she has learned from her summer seminar with DepEd.

My summer was quite short this year. Towards the end of school, my aunt-in-law passed away. Then on the onset of summer, my brother Bill passed away. Towards the end of summer, my second cousin Jaja passed away also. Now, my tatay in Hacienda Guadalupe, Tiyo Eddie Solis died a few days ago. This was really a busy summer sending off lots of loved ones. Summer was also cut short when I went out to campaign against the K-12 law, especially the implementation of the Senior High School system. So, my summer was more of realizations and grief. But let us move to another chapter this year.

***

St. Ezekiel Moreno; Sts. Pedro Calungsod and Lorenzo Ruiz; St. John Paul II; Mons. John Liu and John Su; Fr. Cornelio Moral, OAR; Manoy Bill; and Sir Faraon Lopez, pray for us.