Thursday, March 23, 2006


Question most frequently posed regarding this quixotic return is where my daughters will attend school. Currently, the older two go to a Christian school and the 5 year-old loves to go to the Montessori Academy that my wife and I helped build seven years ago. For now, we are thinking of enrolling them in the same school that my wife attended in Bacolod (a city south of Manila with a population of roughly half a million).

We feel that what was good for us then must be good for our children. We feel that we received an education that adequately prepared us to take advantage of life's many educational opportunities. We felt that we were taught to learn.

The Philippine educational system needs to re-focus on its goals to make it more relevant to the needs of society. Unlike the US where a large part of the budget is devoted to defense, health and social security, the lion's share in the Philippine budget is rightly allocated to paying for the legions of schoolteachers and the maintenance of humble school facilities.

To become competitive, education must focus on the two C's (instead of the three R's)--Communication and Computation. We need to pare away non-essential subjects and determine early on each student's aptitude and establish magnet schools for the basic sciences and arts and music. The importance of physical education needs to be recognized and not overly emphasized. We need to keep students in school from 7:15 am through 4:30 pm. Make them stay in a place with other children their age and let dedicated and caring teachers guide them to read, listen, sing, exchange ideas and compute. This has been the time-tested formula behind the successful systems in China, Japan and Korea.

Learning is a lifelong habit.

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