Literacy Rate Beyond Statistics
May 8, 2008 1 Comment
We are one of the most literate nations in the world as lauded by researches and statistics, with at least 80++% or at most 90++%. But one immediate glimpse at the actual situation will tell you otherwise. In my own town, I see a lot of men and women who work early and defer college education. Whilst in some cases, I see people who did not even finish grade school. These are real deviations from the mathematics.
As a nation who exports human resource to second- and first-world countries, we must reform the education system to suit the demands of the international market, as well also satisfy local employment demand. But no matter how we improve education infrastructure, if our students get fed up with studying, all these are futile efforts.
But why do they stop schooling?
1. POVERTY – many youth stop after high school or in the middle high school due to poverty. These youth take the initiative to find a job to help the family.
2. UNPREPAREDNESS – many youth feel that they are not prepared to pursue college and are afraid of the potential consequent embarrassment if they fail.
3. RISING EDUCATION PRICES – many youth have very limited access to higher education or even if they have, the cost of college is very expensive.
Given these, how do we resolve the problem?
Maybe now is the time that the government, at the national and local levels, should really fully subsidize basic and secondary education. These phases of schooling provide the foundation necessary to survive and thrive in the college environment. And every citizen, regardless of ethnicity, political belief, or economic status, should have access to this universal right. In fact, I will be lobbying to the members of the Provincial Board and the Municipal Council to enforce bonuses and reliefs to parents who send their children to school. As for those who don’t, they must be penalized for depriving their children of this right and for not keeping true to their constitutional obligation.
Second, maybe now is the time to upgrade the public school system from primary to tertiary, at least in the province. As of now, I am trying to draft a proposal to the provincial officials to inject a certain amount of money to upgrade the public school teachers, upgrade the facilities of the schools, and provide incentives for private school teachers who will take part-time teaching load in public schools. As for the University of Rizal system, the provincial government must take steps to fund this school so enrollment will increase. A legislature-initiated review of the institution may also be needed.
Third, now is the time to help in making the system competitive. Trust me, many youth of today choose not to study at all since they believe that there is a monopoly of opportunity in terms of those who finished in private schools. Now is the time to make the chances equal, at least in the province of Rizal. I will propose to encourage the employers and industries in Rizal to prioritize the graduates of the University of Rizal System or the Rizal citizenry in general, as part of their workforce. Maybe through this, more youth will be encouraged to study in URS.
Education is a right and a loan. It is a right we should fight for and a thing we owe to ourselves.