OFFICIAL corruption has reached a level where it is no longer possible to stop it by simply firing people. The country’s cultural garden continues to sprout thorn bushes that when some thorn bush of an official is booted or voted out of office, an equally, if not more, thorny bush is voted in.
I wrote earlier about how colonial-style Catholicism negatively impacts our culture and must, therefore, be reformed to produce Filipinos who neither accept their life situation as God’s will nor look to God alone for deliverance from it.
In much the same manner colonial-style education, the second critical element of our culture, needs radical reforms to produce critical, creative, innovative, and, more importantly, ethical Filipinos.
Education in the country remains essentially a system of cramming into the student’s head information that the latter is not taught to validate but must accept on the teacher’s authority. All a student needs to get passing grades is either a good memory or the ability to cheat. He doesn’t have to know how to think for himself and he doesn’t have to have a sense of values.
We have to de-emphasize grades. Without grades we can mix slow and fast learners to study together instead of putting the fast learners in Section 1 where at an early age they learn to look down on their slow-learning classmates in Sections 2 & 3 below. We should want wisdom for our students, not just the skill to add two and two, spell apple or fill in a blank from memory or, worse still, from a cheat sheet.
The most telling weakness of our educational system is the lack of a humanizing element. More than being drilled in Good Manners and Right Conduct students must be nurtured by qualified mentors in such human values as honesty, integrity, respect for people’s rights, love of country etc.
We are united by our humanity. It’s religion that divides us. Students should, therefore, just be steeped in purely human values. They need to learn for themselves that the self-respect that should come from one’s possession of fundamental human values is the ultimate measure of success, not the money, not the profession or position their colonial-minded (yet religious?) parents sent them to school for.
There are no shortcuts to social reform. Even the violent way of the Communist Party-New People’s Army is already 50 years old today and they haven’t changed anything yet after all the killings and the burnings.
Finland did it in 40 years. Finland is the happiest country on earth in 2019. Finns got started on the road to happiness when 40 years ago they reformed their educational system focusing on quality, values and wisdom.
We have a long way to go. We had better reform education now.