It’s a new school year again, and as expected, we have seen the same problems — a lack of classrooms, teachers, textbooks, etc. With a new administration coming in, we, of course, have a wish list for the country’s educational system.
Wish # 1: More classrooms, still. As the PGMA regime ends, the DepEd says that over 100,000 classrooms have been built since 2001. There’s still a great backlog in order to achieve the 1:45 student-teach ratio. But the follow up question is, does the ratio stand for quality education?
Wish #2: More than the number of classrooms as the obvious need, it’s the quality that has a serious problem. We need to catch up in math and science. And if we wish to continue being a center of excellence for BPO’s and KPO’s, of course, we need to address the growing deficiency in English. Of course, English can be taught without compromising Filipino and other Philippine dialects and languages.
Wish #3: For P-Noy to address the needs of teachers — better benefits that are delivered on time. Plugging the brain drain of educators who leave the country to either 1) be teachers abroad; or 2) be domestic helpers. There’s still a shortage of teachers. And for many, being an educator is a career for the last resort.
Wish #4: Greater access to education through scholarships. As new president, Noynoy may want to revisit and review the Study Now, Pay Later program, which his father had authored.
Wish #5 More private sector involvement. Let’s admit it. The government cannot do it alone.
When I think of the situation, I am always reminded of a back-t0-school story I produced in 2007. It perfectly captures the dilemma we are in.
Let’s hope — push — that radical and substantial reforms will be implemented within the next six years.