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adding 2 more years to basic education will further widen the rich & poor divide

August 14, 2010 41 comments

the DepEd seems all set to add two more years to the country’s 10 year basic education curriculum.  this is a very tough issue to crack. we think it is a clash between reality and the ideal. a question unanswered – is this for the common good?

the truth is there are already many problems at  the current 10-year curriculum and it has nothing to do with number of years. to enumerate a few – there are not enough qualified teachers to teach all the students; that is made worst with just too many students; there are not enough classrooms and schools to comfortably fit all the students (not to mention not enough bathrooms and water supply); there are not enough books; add the problem of poor quality books, on top of that there are not enough facilities and finally very high drop out rates.

the latter, high drop out rates is being caused by something out of the education system but affects a large part of the population – poverty.  there are just so many poor families and they are so poor that many of them cannot afford to pay for the already meager amount needed for the education of their children. grade school and high school are free in public schools with parents needing to just spend on uniforms, fare and some expenses. the tuition which normally accounts for a very large share of the total expenses are free and yet most poor families can still not afford of what is left for them to spend. it is not that the expenses are high, it’s just their income is very, very low.

it is this inability to afford the other expenses that has caused a very high drop out rate among students.

this plan of the DepEd to add two more years will of course not solve any of the above problems. in fact,  it will only extend all those problems  by two more years.  a longer basic education will also mean even higher drop out rates.

then there is the problem of  additional expenses for the government.  as of now, with the 10 year curriculum, there is already desperate lack of classrooms and schools.  the public schools cannot turn the students away when they show up to enroll. to cope many public schools have crammed as many students as they can inside the classroom with classrooms crammed with chairs from wall to wall. not enough, the schools conduct classes in at least shifts, in some instances  classes held very early in the morning till late in the evening.

with two additional years, the schools will definitely need to construct new buildings and classrooms or God forbid conduct classes 24/7.

the above is the reality part. below is the ideal part.

on the other hand, the DepEd could be right – the country’s 10 year basic education curriculum might be inadequate given today’s demands and may put the country’s students at a disadvantage versus our asian neighbors who already employ 12 years of basic education.

here is looking for the greater good – for sure, very few of the poor will benefit from the expected benefits of a 12 year curriculum.  an even larger number of the poor will drop out of school. they cannot afford to pay for a 10 year curriculum now, the more they cannot afford a 12 year curriculum.

the rich on the other hand will benefit from it. they can afford to spend for the additional two  years and if the DepEd is correct, we will have a much better educated and skilled middle to upper class.

will the country be better off as a whole with a large part of the population who are the poor less educated and a better educated upper class which account for a very small portion of the population.

education to the filipino family is all about opportunities for the students and the family and with this plan the opportunities it seems will be disproportionately distributed even more inequitably in favor of the rich.the rich and poor divide will widen even further.

where is for the greater good here?

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