Thursday, July 19, 2007


Just when you think all is lost with Philippine education, you watch a rehearsal where 50 first graders dance to the tune of the Pointer Sister's "Jump". Boundless energy and overflowing enthusiasm after a full day at school. 6-year olds still attend 8-hour school days and they are taught Math, English, Filipino, Civics, Music, Religion and PE. All this in a branch Academy in Bacolod City that had its beginnings in 1906 when 5 young missionary sisters of the Order of St. Benedict from Tutzing, Germany came over at the request of the Manila Archbishop to educate poor children. There are very few poor kids in this school. While tuition can be waived fully, peripherals in the form of books, supplies, transportation, uniforms, board and lodging still cost a lot of money, way out of reach of the majority of the people here. Friends say the quality of private school education in the Philippines has also deteriorated based on the caliber of the graduates they interact with. I went around this little campus (not that tiny compared to Oklahoma standards) and I was impressed with the facilities, spartan but functional, the teachers seemed happy to be doing what they were doing and the students appeared eager to learn.

Education is all about building a solid foundation that will produce lifelong students with open and inquiring minds that, upon meeting the world, will burst in a fabulously productive chemical reaction. We still have a lot of dedicated teachers and we now have the internet to exploit. The fundamental ingredients remain. We can still make the jump.

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