Brainwashed

UP Diliman campus (Ederic Eder)
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The spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), in elaboration of the AFP chief-of-staff’s tale of a “Red October” leftist-rightist conspiracy to oust President Rodrigo Duterte from power, said last week that the country’s university and college students are being “brainwashed” into activism and radicalism.
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Empowering citizens: Education should be available to all

UP Diliman campus (Ederic Eder)
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Only a few individuals and groups, among the latter the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), took issue with a statement by Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chair Patricia Licuanan last August that not every student should go to college.

What she said should have occupied both the media and citizens more than such inanities as the “AlDub” television phenomenon or the latest developments in Manuel “Mar” Roxas II’s and Jejomar Binay’s trifling quest for a candidate for Vice President. In time these will pass as most things do. But the education of the younger generations will have an impact on the nation far beyond the imbecilities of daytime TV and the delusions of Philippine partisan politics.

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Education in the backseat

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The day after the opening of the country’s schools, it’s customary for the media to regale the country with human interest stories and photos on how, in those communities far from Manila or any other urban center, children of school age walk kilometers, brave rain and raging rivers, take leaky overloaded boats, etc. just to get to school.
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Unkindest cut

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THEY’RE called state universities and colleges (SUCs) — part of a public educational system that’s supposed to enable those who either can’t afford to pay the huge fees most private schools charge, or who simply prefer schools where winning basketball games isn’t a matter of life or death, to send their children to college.

SUCs are supposed to prevent the injustice of someone capable’s being prevented from entering college because his or her parents can’t afford it. They deepen the country’s pool of teachers, lawyers, engineers, doctors, accountants, journalists, etc., and are at the same time keys to social mobility. Without them the country would produce lawyers and doctors whose parents are lawyers and doctors, and would make it almost impossible for the son or daughter of a farmer or worker to be a teacher or an accountant. They are as much institutions for democratization as they are for learning, which is why the state founded and should support them. That’s why they’re called state universities and colleges, in the first place.

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Dumb and dumber

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The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has proposed the addition of one year to college courses, among other proposals from that body as well as the Department of Education (which has supervision over basic education) to address the vast problems of Philippine education.

Few will contest its poor state. Numeracy and literacy levels are low among primary and high school students, many of whom are unprepared for the next stage of school, including college work. Among the indicators of the latter were the low scores in the now abolished National College Entrance Examinations. But the results of the board examinations in many disciplines have also been disappointing, with high rates of failures among the graduates of many schools that for some reason continue to be licensed and allowed to operate. Filipinos may actually be getting dumber, thanks to Philippine education.

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