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BLIND SPOT: Senior High School Apprehensions

A help wanted ad would usually require pleasing personality, preferable work experience and graduate of any college course. Have you ever chanced upon one that read ‘senior high school graduate’? “The Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) reported on the state of Philippine education and noted that there is still a need to encourage more businesses to be open to hiring K to 12 graduates.” There’s something euphemistic about the statement. Let’s go over that again. It says that there is still a need to encourage businesses to be more open to hiring Grade 12 graduates; which inversely means that most businesses are discouraged to give jobs to applicants with educational attainment of Grade 12 or senior high school graduate. PBEd chair Ramon del Rosario Jr has noted that “since the country has many college graduates who are not “fully employed,” it doesn’t cost companies anything to require their employees to be college degree holders.” ( Wait a minute, he’s right. There’s a horde of unemployed and underemployed college graduates scattered across the application archipelago; ever aspiring for a good position. Then we’re going to plunge these senior high kids into that ro ugh and tumble pit of unfair competition. It’s like calling Grade 2 pupils to play pabitin; with the 5 foot high school teens already in place raising their hands to reach the prize. The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry has expressed qualms on the competence of these graduates, citing the inadequacy of the 80 hour minimum requirement for on-the-job training. ( Okay; if that’s the case, how different is a Grade 12 graduate to a Grade 10 finisher? However, on the other corner of the ring, “graduates will gain job-specific skills even without a college degree. In addition, with the added two years in high school, they will graduate and be 18 years old, the legal age for full-time employment”; “a senior high school diploma, Certificate of Competency, and national certifications that follow TESDA’s training regulations which will allow them to gain mid-level skills and offer more chances of landing a job or becoming an entrepreneur”. ( “According to DepEd, the K to 12 program has equipped the students with the values, knowledge and skills that the industries need. Strong partnership with different industries would also enable graduates to strike a balance between theory and practice,” “The student’s practical experience is not limited to 80 hours because schools may have several delivery models depending on the students’ needs, the school’s capabilities and compliance to the DO no. 30, the Department of Labor and Employment and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.” ( “In her public presentations on the new K-to-12 curriculum, Education Undersecretary Dina Ocampo has repeatedly emphasized: “We want to educate children; so they can find meaningful opportunities where they are. We’re not graduating dressmakers and car mechanics; we’re developing lifelong learners with critical and technical skills.” ( Okay, okay; yeah, yeah; but those sounds all so theoretical and hypothetical opposite the realistic concerns raised further above. But if you would indulge me on a philosophical trip, why are we so hung up on educational attainment and the level of graduation? The presumption is that a degree or certificate faithfully attests to the competence of the applicant, and a full proof promise of employment efficacy. Asian culture exerts strong pressure on its children towards educational achievement; and after graduation, they would bum around lying on the living room sofa working hard on the remote control, surfing channels, while waiting any response from the companies that had received his/her application letters. Among the high paying jobs that don’t require college degrees or high school diplomas are air traffic controllers (can’t fly without them), managers (which mainly require experience and longevity), sales representatives (oh, we have a lot of them around), real estate brokers (oh, that piece of property that stays on the ground, but will always go up), and data entry specialists (you know, the guy that types on the computer; a kid can do that, right?). (, You probably know someone who works as a call center agent, or some kind of business like online shopping, or some computer job that did not require formal education, or at a mismatch with the person’s educational background. Then, it would get you thinking, “What the heck? What did I spend all those years in college for?” Isn’t that funny? We have all these jobs that do not require a high school diploma, much less a college degree, all around us; and sectors of society are highly engrossed in debate in educational qualifications for employment. “…establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands” Psalm 90:17

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