‘School Sucks’

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.

Author: Ryan Bestre

Environmentalist. Teacher. Writer.

21 thoughts on “‘School Sucks’”

  1. “Formal education does not ensure employment.”
    Bitter truth of being educated. An educated person wants job of his standard. However that is not always possible.

    “Do I need to learn x and y when I buy bananas?”
    Something that reminded of my school.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. “The country is transitioning to K-12, shifting from 10 to 12-year pre-university cycle. ”

    What is it, can you elaborate please?

    Also: I completely agree. State of affairs hasn’t been too different across the globe.

    Greek and European renaissance were best periods for education in West.

    Vedic periods and then Chanakya’s time were good for education in the east.

    Have you heard about “socratic/maieutics” model of education?

    I liked reading your post 🙂


    Anand 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We used to have 6 years elementary education and 4 years for secondary (the only country in Asia with that set up). But with K-12, it’s 12-year basic education (6 years of primary education, 4 years of Junior High, and 2 years Senior High).

      Yes, I’m familiar with the Socratic model of education which I tried to adopt in my class when I was a teacher. This can be challenging though as kids in school seem to have been brainwashed to give “standard”answers, if you know what I mean.

      Thanks, for the read!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I understand completely. If you ever need some tools for T&L or experimenting in your school(since you are a teacher)–you can contact online Win Winger, who is my friend and mentor. He has invented some great techniques based on Socratic Model. Some of them have produced great results in some schools–record breaking results in fact.

        Project Renaissance is a non-profit organization.
        You can google it.
        K-12 system has long been here in India. 🙂
        Nice discussing with you. I take a great interest in education.

        Anand 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello, Kababayan! I am from the Philippines too and I completely agree with you. The education quality here in our country is just, so disappointing. There are a lot of good schools but the masses could not afford them.

    The saddest part is “Formal education does not ensure employment.” I am a product of a State University and yes, it was tough to get a job after graduation especially with the degree that I have, which is Journalism. Companies measures your worth according to your Alma Mater. So it’s just sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey! I also graduated from a State U (Benguet State University)! 🙂

      I finished Environmental Science but I wasn’t able to get a job which was a perfect fit for the degree I finished. But you just chase after your bliss and somehow life leads you to the right direction.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow! We’re both from BSU. I am from Bulacan State, though! 😀
        Kidding aside, I can relate to you. I am a Journalism grad and it was really really tough to get a job related to my course because I am no one compared to the graduates of well-known universities. But just like what you said, you really have to fight for your dream. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The problem I constantly faced with the education system I was part of was that they gave a lot of importance to theory and bookish learning, while to achieve holistic growth (that seems to be the aim of many institutions these days), it’s necessary that students are exposed a little more to the realistic picture and experience based learning. Fortunately, I believe this is the new trend today with institutions venturing more into practical and hands-on training.

    It was a great and informative read. I’m intrigued by the advancement in the education system that you’ve showcased in your post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the theory and bookish learning you talked about is caused by limitations. If you lack training and would have to deal with a great number of students, this is the safest approach. As a teacher, differentiation and hands-on methodology can be a challenge if you have 50+ students in your class.

      But yeah, the good thing is we’re changing our mindset and are embracing innovative ways of delivering authentic learning.

      Thanks for the read!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s a very meaningful post. India (I live here) has got exactly the same problems on a school level but for higher education, you have a huge amount of those who opt for it, and barely any seats. In some fields, none offer quality education.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. There isn’t a proper infrastructure and the quality of teachers is abysmal. Things are improving, however, they’ve been improving since a century but too slowly.
        Yes, there are two of them actually. My sister was a part of the one you are referring to for two years, actually. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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