The Department of Education is pushing for the extension of the years spent of student in schools for their basic education. It says in order to further improve the quality of education and to equip well the myriad of Filipino students.
The plan has reaped a lot of mixed reactions and comments from the academic sector, from the students and from the parents who spend resources for their children.
From the academe, I've heard contradictory statements. From a number of educators I am acquainted with, they are for the extension of the number of years spent by the youth at school. To some, they are opposed to it.
Teachers know better and saw the need to "upgrade" or improve the quality and the "quantity" of education they themselves provide for their "second children." They are the authorities anyway when it comes to academic learning and the status of their students whether they are learning or otherwise.
They are for the proposal to extend the years of basic education because they wanted to further ready students in their college education that eventually leads to a career. Better education, while not a one hundred percent assurance, is a tool for a better career. For the former Secretary Jesli Lapus of the Education portfolio, "Edukasyon ang Solusyon."
Education as a solution is rather more a reality than a political campaign slogan. Educating is "arming" the young as they prepare their intellect for their future. Elementary and secondary schoolings and college degrees are not merely points in resumes when one applies for a job. They are the references that will guarantee a job applicant that he can do the job he is applying for.
Education does not only make a man, it makes a future, a tomorrow. I agree with the teachers who agree with the extension. They know better the situation.
Some students meanwhile, agree with the proposal especially the ones who thirst not only for diplomas but wisdom. It's not only for them to have an extension of the period of getting their "baon" from their parents but they simply wanted to learn more. Sad to note however, many of Filipino youth wouldn't want to extend their years at school. Perhaps they are merely tired of burning midnight oils and coping up with the life of learning and periodic examinations. A little portion wanted to stay longer at school to have more time with their friends and the other side of a student's life. There is joy at simply attending classes and hanging out with classmates after a day's learning.
During my time, when there was not even a mall yet in the province, I would spend my spare moments with part time jobs. Its not financially rewarding but I consider it as an advance learning experience in preparation for my life after being a student. I deemed it as a way to learn and not simply to earn. If one wishes to earn, he has to add up the letter "L" before the word, which I said to myself.
As expected, a great percentage of parents who are sending children to school are opposed to the plan. They expressed their opposition with their simple rationalization, that extending the number of years means extending their financial burden. Saddening is the fact that the common denominator of their reason is simply nailed at the financial aspect of it.
A neighbor whom I spent a little time asking her why she is against the extension said that she is sending her children to school for them to land a job. Maybe she is right but education is more than finding a job. It is more than earning and more than the reason she stated.
Some parents see education more as a commodity and a solution to their financial needs. They have forgotten that it is an activity that develops the total well-being of a person. As the old often say, it is the only inheritance that is assured of not getting stolen or lost.
While the economy may be blamed for my neighbor's reason, there is more to sending someone to school and expecting a "return of investment" later. Parents have the primordial duty of providing their children with education. It is their duty too give them a better future, but not expediting their stage of their academic life for them to immediately become earners.
In other countries, the basic curriculum of their students is twelve years or more. For their parents, basic education is more of a necessity to learn and not sheer necessity to earn. In the Philippines, the plan is to extend a year to a sixth grader and make the stint at high school five years. Of course it means additional two years of paying matriculation fees, student's financial allowances, books and other school supplies, uniforms and the like.
Why don't we let the authorities speak first if ten years of basic education is enough for the millions of students all over the country? Apparently, the Education Department seems to see the years as insufficient. I share the same view.