BLIND SPOT: Have you chosen your school?
In the last days of this year’s summer vacation, an issue propped up over the radio about parents’ concerns on alleged refusal of a prominent public city high school to admit some students. According to reports, the group of parents were citing the DepEd’s “no refusal” policy as a strong rampart in this encounter. On the other hand, the school administration was aiming from its towers the pragmatic position of population of enrollees and the eventual limits of physical space, despite its immensity. The predicament was given resolution with a non-confrontational, calm and creative scheme of schedule. I was glad the radio anchor appreciated the principal’s crisis that the editorial was delivered in a sympathetic tone, directing parents’ attitudes towards reason; a far cry from the tradition of yelling commentaries against the establishment, hurling presupposed accusations of corruption and mismanagement. I was talking to a sixteen year old about her plans of enrollment this school year; given that the administration of her favored school has raised concerns over her health and has expressed apprehension over her admission. (Yeah, I know it’s unlawful for a school to refuse admission but we’re avoiding confrontation here.) In our conversation, I led her to the hypothetical scenario of her desired school closing down. When asked of what other school she would go to. She gave no response. How do we choose schools anyway? Why do enrollees and their parents flock with fervor to this one school, and ignore the barangay high schools? Why does this one youngster hold on to the university of her dreams, and seem to wear blinders for any other academic institution? According to a local research on FACTORS AFFECTING the decision of freshmen students IN PURSUING a particular major, “stable wages and job demand are the most considered factors of the students in pursuing” a particular path. (lpulaguna.edu) According to another research on factors affecting the choice of school and students’ level of interest, “findings revealed that it is the personal choice of the students to enroll in” a particular program in a particular institution, “with the support primarily from their parents wherein quality education through” prestige of being a graduate of the alma mater of board topnotchers and its standards are considered big factor for their decision. They also believed that finishing” a particular progra m “would bring them in employment abroad…” (research.lpubatangas.edu.ph) “Many Filipinos prioritize “face”, prestige, and “saving face” over discretion, humility, and the common good; I personally find the latter to be greater virtues. This translates into how Filipinos tend to take the globally common concept of the “curated life” to its extreme logical conclusion. Facebook was supposedly envisioned by Zuckerberg as a way of making the world more open. In the Philippines, it’s more a platform for pretentious grand-standing. Buffet spreads, beach vacations, selfies, the latest social concern (it’s far easier to share an article with a bunch of sad emojis than actually doing something about a problem). This is why we’re a social media capital, not because we love friends, but because we love showing off to friends.” - Henri Crespo (https://www.quora.com) So, enrollees choos schools which are perceived to lead them to stable wages , and make them responsive to employment demands. A primary consideration then, is the opportunity for overseas employment. On a more general sense, Filipinos are said to prioritize prestige more than discretion and common good. They have to go towards the popular, and nothing else. Yes, there is merit in the pursuit of high income, and opportunity for overseas employment. Oh well, I guess, climbing up the social scale to be alpha in the community is innate in human nature. But is this a cause worth holding on in face of school overpopulation, depleting resources, and ridiculous schedule schemes? Is it worth holding on to the point of sacrificing pragmatism, efficient utilization of time, and maximum use of resources. If every enrollee goes by the principle that this one prominent school is the one true best, and none else is. Eventually, school classrooms would be overcrowded pushing up the heat index within the concrete walls, despite the spinning blades of electric fans in atropical country. Eventually, the skills of highly trained educators would not match overwhelming environmental conditions. If a considerable number of enrollees focus on the principle that this one true university is best and none else is, despite constraints, would it not be more cost efficient and time-efficient to pursue education in another institution which would reward similar erudition and documents? Perhaps, it is only in one’s mind that there is only one true best and none else is. Anyway, welcome back to school. “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matthew 7:13-14