Notes About the Problems and Issues in the
Philippine Educational System: A Critical Discourse
by Prof. John N. Ponsaran
Colonial historiography. Most of the past and present teachers, book authors, and Social Studies consultants give heavier premium to the history of the colonizers in the Philippines, and not to the history of Filipinos. Mostly, this has been the case in the teaching of History subjects from the elementary to tertiary levels and will most likely perpetuate in the next generations to come. The history of the Filipino people and the colonial history of the Philippines are two different topics altogether.
Internationalization of the division of labor. To a certain extent, the Philippine educational system conditions its students to be skillful in arithmetic and computer literacy, fluent in foreign languages (specifically English and Nihonggo), and docile in order to serve as workers of the transnational businesses of the advanced, capitalist countries. Take the case of the call center phenomenon in the Philippines, India and other developing states.
Emasculation and demoralization of teachers. Teachers, more often than not, are victimized by the over-worked and under-paid policy of the system of the past and present dispensations. This leads to the emasculation and demoralization of their ranks. This probably explains why the teaching profession is not attracting the best and the brightest from the crop of students anymore. Expectedly, this will correspondingly result to the vicious cycle of mediocrity in education.
Fly-by-night educational institutions. By any measure, the proliferation of fly-by-night educational institutions is counter-productive. In the long run, it produces a pool of half-baked, unprepared, and incompetent graduates. Alarmingly, the country is having an over-supply already. Some would even consider them as liabilities than assets. This case is true for both undergraduate and graduate studies.
Culturally and gender insensitive educational system. Women, the common tao and the indigenous people are almost historically excluded from the Philippine historiography in favor of the men, heroes from Luzon and the power elite. Women are marginalized and trivialized even in language of education. Take the case of the terms female lawyer (as if lawyer as a profession is exclusive only to men) and manpower (which should have been human resources or human capital to be more politically correct).
State abandonment of education. In the name of imperialist globalization, the state—in an incremental fashion—is abandoning its role to subsidize public education particularly in the tertiary level. This comes in the form of matriculation, laboratory and miscellaneous fee increases in order to force state colleges and universities (SCUs) to generate their own sources of fund. Ironically, the bulk of the budget (in fact, more than one-third in the case of 2005 National Budget) goes to debt servicing.
Sub-standard textbooks. Some textbooks which are already circulation are both poorly written and haphazardly edited. Take the case of the Asya: Noon at Ngayon with an identified total number of more than 400 historical errors. Unfortunately, it is just one of the many other similar atrociously written textbooks which are yet to be identified and exposed. This is a classic case of profit-centeredness without regard to social accountability.
Widespread contractualization. In the name of profit, owners and administrators of several private schools commonly practice contractualization among their faculty members. Contractual employees unlike their regular/tenured counterparts are not entitled to fringe benefits which consequently reduces the over-all cost of their business operation. Job insecurity demeans the ranks of the faculty members.
Undue disregard for specialization. Some colleges and universities encourage...