Gee Chiz, A Whiz You Definitely Are Not….

….but I never thought of you as a Dunce… until yesterday that is. I must admit that political views aside, I used to have a high opinion of Francis Escudero. I remember listening to him speak at the commencement exercises of St. Joseph Academy about 4-5 years ago and thinking to myself that not only will this man surpass the achievements of his father, Kiko Escudero, he will have a big positive impact on the way this country is run. I was right about the first part but am now re-thinking my position on the second.

I ran across an entry in micketymoc’s blog which made me see red. Apparently, the congressman from Sorsogon advocated a revision of the public school curriculum which would reduce the number of regular subjects such as trigonometry, calculus, geometry, and algebra “since these are not relevant to the everyday life of Filipinos.” “May mga paksa na hindi naman talaga konektado sa paghahanap ng trabaho. Bakit natin pinahihirapan ang mga estudyante?” (“Some subjects aren’t really connected to finding work. Why do we need to burden our students?”)

I (almost) have no words to describe how I feel about this. To say that these particular soundbites are ill-thought and highly irresponsible are understatements. The backbone of any thriving economy is the quality of scientists and mathematicians it produces. Leader from Europe and the United States are increasingly concerned that the next generation is not interested in the sciences, which will impact research and innovation.

The ludicrous proposition from Cong. Escudero, if implemented, will merely widen the economic and social gap as public school students are not given the tools they will need to get higher paying jobs both here and abroad. It is a stop-gap solution offered by near-sighted politicians pandering to their electorate so that they may be re-elected.

What type of students does Chiz want the Philippine public educational system to produce? The argument that these subjects are not really connected to finding work misses the point. While it true that we may not use trig or geometry in our everyday lives, the discipline and logical/critical thinking skills attained are invaluable side effects. That is actually one of my main grips with the DLSU educational system. By concentrating on major subjects at the expense of literature and philosophy, they are churning out two-dimensional graduates who lack communication skills and critical thinking.

Our esteemed leaders mouth platitudes about the state of education in this country while their actions say something very different. Travel around the Philippines and you will find districts which are focusing on building arches and athletic facilities (basketball courts) over upgrading the overall quality of classrooms and educational equipment.

Congressman Escudero, if what was reported in the media is this truly what you believe, then I do NOT wish you the best in your political career. You are a wolf in sheep’s clothing who does not have the best interest of your constituents or our countrymen in mind. You are not the visionary you perceive yourself to be.

1. Philippine Daily Inquirer
2. Journal Group of Companies
3. Micketymoc
4. Missing Points

If you would like to help, there a number of NGOs which are helping equip public schools with much needed equipment:
1. Project Gilas


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