Lacson: Breaking the Mañana Habit


IT'S quite typical for a Filipino to beat the deadline, whether we're talking about the submission of reports, filing of income taxes, completing registrations, studying for an exam, and basically everything that concerns scheduled compliance. Yes, admit it or not, Filipinos are one good race of crammers! Of course, everybody knows this so-called mañana habit, taken from the words "mamaya na." This is plainly the Filipinos' sense of complacency, being too confident and relaxed in the midst of an undertaking, whether big or small. As many of us would say, "Why do it now if you can do it later?"

Seemingly, most people would like to work under pressure, beating the last minutes before submission gives them that mental vigor and zest and they believe that's the best time their most brilliant ideas come up. In some cases, this works. But for a lot of people, having this habit of cramming and beating the deadline only results in one thing -- mediocrity. Not only that, everything that is done with haste can never equal something which has been planned, organized, and executed for a longer period of time. It often leads to failures and embarrassment, and definitely puts an unfavorable mark on the person's working attitude.

Last February 1, the Department of Education commenced the Early Registration for SY 2020-2021 in all public elementary and secondary schools. This program seeks to ensure that all new entrants for Kindergarten, Grades 1, 7, and 11 learners in public and private elementary and secondary schools nationwide are registered for the incoming school year 2020-2021. This is undertaken yearly to achieve universal participation and completion of the cycle by locating children and youth not currently enrolled and bring them back to school. DepEd also aims to understand the barriers to access to education and identify local interventions to bring them to school and ensure that they do not drop out. To achieve these objectives, schools are urged to come up with various activities such as house-to-house campaigns, meetings with local or barangay officials and civic organizations to help and locate children who should be in schools. This massive advocacy campaign will run until February 27, 2015.

The Early Registration program is a very significant move of DepEd to be able to approximate the number of students who plan to enroll in public elementary and secondary schools for the succeeding school year. The data gathered during this registration will play a substantial role in policy planning to address major issues and concerns such as school congestion which in turn results to lack of classrooms, teachers, and other resources.

One major problem that the public educational system seeks to address is the influx of students in a particular school, and one perennial consequence of having overpopulated schools is the reduction of school hours or the so-called shifting. Obviously, the decreased number of school hours affects the academic performance of the learners, and also give the teachers a huge burden in trying to keep up with the curriculum for each grade or year level. It is quite unfortunate that when these students reach college, they do not have sufficient knowledge and skills to cope with the demands of tertiary education.

As a former college English instructor, I often feel disappointed with the poor performance and lack of subject appreciation of my students. But I cannot really put the blame on them. Sadly, I pity them for it was their loss that they were not able to acquire the education that they should have obtained from public schools. In terms of academic competencies, the gap between private school graduates and those coming from public schools is quite huge, with most of the public school students struggling and having a difficulty in coping with the more challenging environment in colleges and universities.

Being able to address these dilemmas and bring gradual solutions is actually one of the long-term advantages that the Early Registration aims to contribute to the public educational system. I am making this appeal to all parents of students of public elementary and secondary schools to participate in this program and forget about our notorious mañana habit. This little contribution will help the government in planning and generating actions and programs to ensure that every Filipino learner will be given access to quality and equitable education.


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