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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