Lobaton: Reflecting on education

Lobaton: Reflecting on education

DAYS from now, it will be the end of the second semester of this academic year.

Since last week, many colleges and universities held graduation rites. Others are still finalizing everything including students’ academic records and requirements needed to finish the semester.

I have stayed in the academe for some time. While being with the government, I continued to handle subjects in graduate school. But my entry into the academe was formalized when I joined the state university in 2020.

Life in the academe is a different challenge. When one will be exposed to the situations in state institutions, including in basic education, one could ask whether the next generation will be ensured of a bright future.

The role of education as a social institution is not just for the mere transfer of knowledge and wisdom. Supposedly it should be for the realization of things whether it could help Filipinos, especially the next generation.

Try to imagine how many poor Filipinos would venture into the process of going to school and avail of the education offered by the government from primary to college.

If an ordinary family earns only a meager income and could hardly make ends meet, how could they sustain sending students to school? That makes it a real struggle for ordinary Filipinos in this country.

It is then inevitable that out of the many attempting to use education as a tool for social mobility, many would end up a failure or not finish the quest to education. Some might opt to look for jobs to support personal survival or the family who have sick parents.

Except for wealthy families, the success of finishing a college course for poor Filipinos symbolizes the end of years of struggle. But it does not end one’s misery, he/she is only given a reprieve for at least not to worry about school, but on how to look for jobs by giving his labor in exchange for income of the family.

As I look at private universities and colleges with graduates having Latin honors, it led me to ponder how our graduates in the state university could compete in looking for decent jobs after they march out of our gates.

A fellow professor told me that given this situation, it would end up “whom you know” when you apply for a job and not anymore the name of institutions or academic honors. I agree with this. Yet, I reflect on how thousands of graduates will land decent jobs. And whether we have available jobs for them.

We are living this kind of reality in our country. As we are still developing, if not entirely poor, we have this kind of situation where our people are forced to abide by the way we want to move from one social ladder to the next.

To think that many of our families remain in a poor economic state, I can’t believe parents could support their children even up to finishing high school education. That is why it should’ve been thoroughly studied if giving additional years for basic education is a step towards helping our people, particularly the ordinary ones, or adding trouble to their already struggling state.

Still, reading through our society, we have not reached that state where we want to equalize the existence of our people. We keep that cycle that is unconscious of where we are going or whether we help protect the people or not. It should then start from the level of our government in terms of policymaking.

For now, I extend my congratulations to my students and the graduates of Class 2023 of Carlos Hilado Memorial State University.*


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