Another problem pestering the quality of Philippine education is the quality and proficiency of the teachers. According to a recent article (Gerochi, 2002), Filipino teachers lack proficiency in English, Science and Mathematics. Many said that these areas should have been trained comprehensively since as teachers, they should be able to teach the students with a more quality for future growth. But with what I see, the teachers have problems of their own. One example, and the most obvious, is the low salary and terrible working condition.
Many public school teachers opt to have “sidelines” during class that sometimes the teacher simply forgets to teach. But who can blame them if their salaries of around 8000-10,000 pesos, plus deductible, who can a teacher provide for his/her family? And with the rising cost of living, these figures are not enough. Others cannot teach well in class because of the ratio of students to a teacher. In a typical public school, in every one teacher there are 50-60 students in a class! The school facilities can also be a factor of the problem.
The Philippines, both in private and public, lacks sophisticated laboratories and facilities to cater the needs of the students. For example, many public schools are still lacking the basic computer laboratories and it is so ironic that computer nowadays, computer education is crucial for future Computer Studies student. Without proper training in computer, how can a student be competitive and computer literate? Jose Rizal reminds us how modern and latest technologies are important in a student’s development in his novel El Filibusterismo.
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Like in the novel, the laboratory equipment are stored shut in a cabinet and never to be used in class because of the insufficient number of equipment. And when it is shown in class, it is presented like a monstrance of a priest! And prophetic as it seems, Rizal’s time is happening all over again in our contemporary times. Lastly, a common problem of our Philippine education is the rising cost of sending a child to school. Private schools charges skyrocketing tuition and miscellaneous fees to a student that parents are having a hard time to cope with the rising cost of education.
Even sending a child in a public school doesn’t fare better since even the poorest of the poor cannot afford to send a child in school. I remember vividly a story of a public school teacher with a pupil of him. He said that this student was so poor that teachers pay for everything so she can go to school. The teachers don’t mind this sacrifice because the student is so bright and intelligent. She never went to college after high school since she cannot really afford it anymore. What saddened the teachers is that this student passed UP but with no scholarship.
Right now, many see education not as necessity but a luxury they cannot afford (Reyes, 2002). The state of Philippine education is indeed sad and disheartening. We probably are all asking who’s to blame for all this mess. But we cannot simply point finger since we all have responsibilities to solve these problem. The government tries its best to give the country and it seemed not enough. But we should not blame the government entirely since it is just not the government’s problems. It is the problem of each and every one of us. If we want the highest quality of education in the country, we should work together to solve this problem.
As a teacher, these problems will be a big cross to bear. But if I can help solve this problem in my own little way, the cross can be lighter and easier to bear. This is the bitter cup of a teacher to bear. But we must remember that the teacher and every one of us will determine the course of our country’s development through education. Even Rizal said that for a country to progress, education is the key to that success. Solving the problems of Philippine education is a long way to go but if we work for the better, we can attain that quality education we all hope for the best.
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