That’s how a lot of young people feel. That school is boring. It’s a burden. It’s the unfortunate road to success or to securing a job. The industrial economy’s way of “manufacturing” laborers.
Geopolitics.us explains why the school system is broken as school is compared to assembly lines. “The school assembly line is segmented into years. Students enter the schools and are sorted by age. Each day during the year students receive instruction on particular subjects and skill sets. Every subject is taught during a fixed time period in the day. Students are then tested on each subject to see if they meet the standards, so they can move along the line. Finally they receive their stamp of approval (diploma) at the end of the line.”
In the Philippines, the arrival of Thomasites or American teachers during the American occupation greatly affected the public school system. This mainly provided education to the citizens of this country, who consider being educated as the way out of poverty.
However, the sad reality is that a diploma wouldn’t guarantee employment. Not everyone can afford higher education. Poverty among other reasons hinder a lot of children to finish school and drop out instead. Plus the fact that school tend to be unattractive. Killing off creativity and self-expression. Considering music and art as unimportant. Subscribing to standardized tests and teaching methods that are supposed to cater to all types of learners.
“Do I need to learn x and y when I buy bananas?” students would tease especially when dealing with relatively tough subjects such as Science or Math. But the thing is, these develop analytical thinking and problem solving. And formal education which exposes you to seemingly irrelevant learnings actually prepare you indirectly to be productive members of society.
In an ideal world, you would choose the things you would want to learn and learn it the way you want it. But in a way, today’s generation is lucky to have the worldwide web that introduces endless opportunities for learning. From free online courses offered by Coursera, to how-to videos on Youtube, to creative ideas on Pinterest. Progressive schools are also emerging following the experiential learning ways of Waldorf and Montessori schools.
There are a lot of efforts toward the improvement of quality of education here in the Philippines. The country is transitioning to K-12, shifting from 10 to 12-year pre-university cycle. Also, organizations such as Teach for the Philippines contribute to educational equity by enlisting promising fresh graduates and young professionals to teach in the public school. They help address teacher shortage and they bring fresh energy to the schools.
It’s still a long way to go. But here’s to hoping to hear kids say, “School doesn’t suck at all.”
This is a writing 101 post inspired by EJ Koh’s tweet.