Friday, January 27, 2006

here in cebu

12:12 AM 1/21/2006

At last, a job found me. I'd rather say it that way, since to say that I found a job doesn't really describe the truth.

You look for a job, but then so many others out there are also looking for jobs. You compete with one, two, three or more candidates to fill in a single position. In due time, one is singled out, and that one fills in the single position.

Jobs are really out there, but jobs choose people. It would be totally unfair not to say, though, that people choose jobs. But then again, that would not really describe reality, especially with the high rate of underemployment that we have here in the Philippines.

Scanning the classified ads, one would invariably see companies looking for encoders. And they would require applicants to be college graduates.

One studies for four years, only to be a technology-savvy typist?

Ain't computer courses required in high school?

And those companies looking for stockmen want high school graduates. I don't remember being taught how to stack boxes when I was in high school, although certainly I know how to stack blocks of wood ever since I was in kindergarten.

If that ain't a reflection of the sorry state of education in the Philippines, then I don't know what.

I think companies won't think that way, and assume the worst about hiring a college graduate who doesn't speak and write good English, if they have a high regard for our country's state of education.

And from my personal experience of four years in high school and almost a decade in college (yes, siree!), I think I have the credibility to say that, yes, our education sucks.

Oh, we really rank high with respect to literacy rates in the region. But news about our declining ability to do math and science still makes headlines.

Education is not about having kids put more years into schooling. It's not about better facilities and putting a premium into speaking a second language.

Education is about quality. So what if you don't know algebra? What matters is that you know how to add up your groceries quick. So what if you don't know Shakespeare? What matters is that you know how to appreciate the lilt of words, the rhythm of life. So what if you don't know how to balance a chemical equation? What matters is that you know that all we have is this one planet, and that resources are really limited.

Our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, flatly refused the revolution waged by Andres Bonifacio basically because people were uneducated. Education is still the key to a quality life, but quality education is not defined by what schools one has attended. Quality education is defined by how much one values life -- its attendant worries and its intrinsic joys.

Education is not bound by the four walls of school. We always learn, and our first school remains our school for life -- our community.

If we are to have a diseased community, then we will always churn out diseased individuals. A poor state of education can only mean a poor community -- wanting in quality, not in quantity.

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