Carvajal: Ourselves to blame

Break Point

“WE TEND to run around trying to solve the problems of our world while anxiously avoiding confrontation with that reality wherein our problems find their deepest roots: our own selves.”

Henri J.M. Nouwen’s insight of an individual’s world also applies to society’s world. The deepest roots of society’s problems are in the members themselves. As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Leaders spring from the ranks of society’s members and not the other way around. Thus, if leaders are unresponsive to the needs of members, these have only themselves to blame.

Leaders had parents, teachers, priests, pastors or imams, and grew in a neighborhood. It is the combined influence of these social agencies that made them whatever they are now. They were not born of aliens from outer space, nor did they come out of the bushes to haunt us with their corruption, incompetence and irresponsibility.

Hence, it was disappointing that a President who claims to want to save his people limited himself to talking about how to digitize or conduct online the current flawed content and pedagogical method of Philippine education.

Government cannot tell parents what to teach their children. Nor can it order Churches what to teach their followers. But it can specify the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes its public education should instill among students. Now is as good a time as any to plug the holes of our shallow yet leaky education system.

Our education system seems to prepare students only for a job that will take them up society’s financial ladder. Many (but not all) choose to work in government because access is easy. Competence, integrity and responsibility are often sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. Officials only need money to get elected while in the lower ranks political connection does the trick.

Corruption is also a sad reality in our education system, like the sale of teaching positions and delay of salaries to favor teachers who double as usurious money lenders, to name a few.

I am not oversimplifying. We have lots of good people in government, but they and we have lots to do to reform our society. Whatever these may be they can only be on top of radical reforms in our education system. This has to stop churning out the kind of self-serving leaders the country has ever had.

Some Church groups in the Sona’s wake came out asking people to pray for their leaders. They should ask people to pray for themselves, that they stop producing self-serving leaders. Churches had much better own up to their failings and reform their own religious education system.

Finally, let’s not forget that we also elect our leaders. We really have only ourselves to blame.


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