Politics, Education, and Poverty

Manila Bulletin, August 21, 2005 | Go to article overview

Politics, Education, and Poverty


Byline: Fidel Valdez Ramos

THE bitter, poisoned political debate continues with no clear resolution in sight. Every move by one side is answered by a countermove, every tape by a countertape, every witness by a counterwitness, every press release by a counter press-release, every opinion column by a counteropinion column, every talk show by a counter-talk show. So, when will it end? Meantime, every day that passes without our elected leaders coming to a consensus that would lead to short-term relief and long-term solutions prolongs the agony of ordinary Filipinos, especially the poor. By the vehemence of most of the discussions coming from different angles, it would seem that our politicians opposition and administration alike have no other interest but to eliminate PGMA, on one hand, or to protect her tenure as President, on the other. One of the most critical programs being sidelined and neglected by the interminable congressional investigations and mediabashing is education at all levels at a time when the quality of young working people is at a premium around the world.

At the XIV Triennial Conference of the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP) in Bangkok last month in which I participated as a keynote speaker, education issues were widely discussed, particularly in terms of the competitiveness of nations in the 21st century, globalization and its impact on human security, and people empowerment as a primary weapon to fight poverty. Among the important conclusions at that international conference is that, on balance, globalization can be more beneficial than disadvantageous. This is especially true for the developing country whose leadership is intelligent enough to moderate globalizations sometimes brutal impact on vulnerable communities and workpeople by balancing economic growth and social development. This is, in fact, what the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) of the United Nations is all about to which all member-countries, including the Philippines, are committed to achieve by the year 2015.

Democratic solutions essential

The solutions to our ills we must seek democratically; through a functional system of government that enables ordinary people to obtain their basic needs and achieve their ultimate aspirations.

In any listing of poor peoples priorities, education ranks among the highest because education is the ultimate ladder of opportunity for any aspiring individual. More than just an economic advantage in the struggle to earn a living, education enables poor people to look critically at the social and political situation and provokes them to act to transform the society that may have denied them the opportunity of participation.

In East Asia, this great awakening has been responsible for the transformation of even authoritarian states into working democracies. Cynics used to say democracy is a luxury poor countries cannot afford. To the contrary, we know that democracy can sometimes spell the difference between life and death for poor people.

For instance, Nobel Laureate Dr. Amartya Sens study of the famines in India, Ethiopia, and the Saharan states led him to conclude that massstarvation can occur even when there is enough food if unaccountable governments remain indifferent to their peoples distress. He affirmed that, in all these famines, "it was the lack of democracy, not the lack of food, that left millions dead."

Of course, the lack of democracy can arise, not necessarily from authoritarianism, but simply from a weakness of the State. This is what PGMA, Congress and civil society must now tackle with urgency and positive effect. The weakness of the Philippine State prevents it from carrying our "hard" reforms and broadening our electoral democracy. Historically, this weakness has enabled economic oligarchs, political cronies and smart opportunists (read "turncoats")to use their privileged access to the machinery of government to extract "unearned income" from the economy.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Politics, Education, and Poverty
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.