A Philosophy of Education for the Country

Manila Bulletin, January 10, 2007 | Go to article overview
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A Philosophy of Education for the Country


Byline: Florangel Rosario Braid

TWO group discussions held preparatory to the holding of a conference on education this coming July indicate that a consensus on a philosophy of education does not exist. What we do now have is guided by broad goals of citizenship education, values education, and human resource development towards economic goals of productivity and competitiveness. The Constitution emphasizes critical and creative thinking but even these aspirations are not anchored on a clear national philosophy. It is different with some neighboring countries which have a clear educational philosophy that emanates from a national ideology, as in Indonesia's Pancasila. We recognize the pervasive influence of the Confucian ethic in the educational system of China, or the cooperative ideology in the early folk schools of Denmark and Scandinavian countries. This perhaps explains the current functional orientation of our educational system -- to produce graduates who can respond to market demands, or to encourage those not inclined to pursue higher learning to go into vocationaltechnical education or become self-employed entrepreneurs.

After its successful project on Textbook Writing for the Social Sciences, the Social and Human Sciences Committee of the UNESCO National Commission (UNACOM) is again embarking on an ambitious project - a conference which hopes to develop a strategy for promoting a continuing national and global dialogue on education. This will be held as part of the Karunungan festival that would feature audio-visual and cultural presentations of the best of our country's cultural heritage. Committee Chair Felice Sta. Maria, Commissioner and Ateneo professor, Dr. Rainier Ibuna, primary convenor, and Dr. Florentino Hornedo, Vice-Chair, are the principal organizers with the Education, Communication, Culture, and Science and Technology committee chairs as co-organizers.

To date, a roster of stakeholders is being compiled with umbrella organizations from the formal, non-formal and informal sectors, including educational advocates and practitioners from the government and non-government organizations. Too, according to Sta. Maria, widely-used textbooks are being reviewed; statistics and other data on current official philosophy of education and its implementation are being compiled; new scientific findings which have impact on the 21st century philosophy of education are being gathered. The conference hopes to engage the youth whose views on the future are critical. This is also true for economists, entrepreneurs, corporate employers, conservationists, and all others who have a stake in education - non-formal educators, and the media.

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