The Rise and Decline of Philippine Public Education during the Twentieth Century

Manila Bulletin, July 22, 2001 | Go to article overview

The Rise and Decline of Philippine Public Education during the Twentieth Century


Teacher education

The rise and decline of Philippine public education during the twentieth century

(Conclusion) SUGGESTED directions, and development and delivery in Teacher Education

1. The first direction is a redirection or return: I advocate a return to attention to classroom teaching and the education of the classroom teacher. The heart of mass education as it is known today is the classroom taught by a first-class teacher. All other educational means, for example, the use of the computer, are supplementary. There is no substitute for the well-educated and trained classroom teacher. With the presence of a well-educated and trained classroom teacher, the supervisor is superfluous.

In my opinion, one of the most important directions that Philippine teacher education must take is the strengthening of the initial degree, the Bachelor's degree in elementary and secondary education. I advocate a return to the emphasis on the education of classroom teachers for first-class classroom teaching.

Because of the explosion of knowledge, it becomes necessary to lengthen the number of years for the acquisition of the initial degree, the bachelor's degree, for classroom teaching, to a minimum of five years. The present four year course after ten years of primary and secondary education is totally inadequate. All other professions such as engineering, architecture, etc. have increased the number of years of post-secondary education and training. In the case of the profession of law, for example, the four-year degree is only a preparation for the study of law. It takes eight (8) years to educate a lawyer. I don't think that the study of the law is as important as the study of teaching, that affects the future lives of the Filipino.

The second direction is the education and training of genuine specialists in education. Why? One of the cardinal principles that practically all teachers are taught and made part of their faith is that "pupils should be developed to their highest potential." We need specialists who can tell teachers and other school authorities what a pupil's highest potential is. In addition, the specialist should be able to indicate what are needed such as faculty, materials, and other arrangements to enable the student to attain this "highest potential." We need specialists in many areas. For example, there is a great need for: child study specialists. Up to present, there is no comprehensive and authoritative study on the Filipino child.

The M.A. and Ph.D. degrees are both irrelevant in elementary school classroom teaching. For teaching in high school, in the field of specialty - e.g. Physics, Mathematics, History, English, Filipino for teaching a good M.A. or M. Sc. Degree is desirable. The Ph. D. should be required for teaching in the university, especially graduate education. The mere possession of an advanced degree, however, is no guarantee that the holder of the advanced degree may be fit for teaching in the graduate school. Only those who actually do research and writing to publication and demonstrate scholarship should be allowed to teach in Graduate Schools.

I am tempted to suggest that an integral part of the education of the future teacher should include the attitude to "resist the influence of politicians in Philippine education." Future teachers should be activists against the inroads of politics. The Philippine educational system should be weaned away from politicians. Teachers should be educated during their teacher preparation years to resist political influence in promotion and in getting jobs. Teachers should be education to become "activists" in this respect. I admit that in making this recommendation, I am dreaming.

I see two important directions in teacher education in this country: first, a longer period of education, starting with a broad general education, say an absolute minimum of five years for primary school teaching and six years for secondary school teaching, and a maximum of eight years, in view of (1) the explosion of knowledge and, in the Philippine case, a very short period of schooling - six years of elementary and four years of high school - the shortest, if not one of the shortest pre-university preparations in the world - before the start of the education of the Filipino as a teacher; (2) direction towards specialist education similar to those in other fields like agriculture, law, and medicine; second, a return to emphasis on classroom teaching supported by other means such as education IT (information technology). …

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