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EDITORIAL: Squandering Potentials

Information that based on latest studies the Philippines ranks last in terms of proficiency in English and mathematics deserves a more proactive response from those in charge of honing the capabilities of the young. .

Those not in the teaching profession cannot competently introduce remedial measures and people within the field of education must have long conducted in depth studies on the cause or causes of the problem. It is not only in english and mathematics that our educational system has been below par. The same also holds true in history, reading comprehension and national language.

Many lack even the perseverance for reading simple news items. They feel satisfied just listening or viewing news report headlines only without going into their contents. Spread of fake news via the social media became more prevalent apparently due to the lack of focus while reading between the lines. Instead of spelling in full certain terms, some resort to acronyms or abbreviations.

The use of the social media is partly to blame. Some, even without being equipped with the tools for correct spelling and grammar have been emboldened by the thought that nobody is around to call their attention on this regard. The statement recklessly posted is not subject anymore to editing anyway.

As to mathematics, teacher guidance is a must to correct study habit. Excessive dependence on calculators is the main culprit. Techniques in solving basic mathematical problems need to be reintroduced.

Be that as it may, being good in english or mathematics only does not necessarily mean wisdom. In many instances technical knowhow counts more than academic performance, although possession of wisdom, knowledge and skills is a great advantage.

That is why a balanced mixture of all these would be ideal in preparing the future of the youth. Otherwise, their potentials are squandered. Imbalance is easily detected in the way public education is provided. So much time and energy are eaten up for nonacademic pursuits, even as honing skills is treated dismissively. This can be easily detected among those already supposed to have finished junior high school. Many of them do not know how to read and write. To top it all, they do not even know how to use properly a dictionary.

Other factors may be contributory to this sad situation, automatic progression and ill preparedness of the teaching force included. But the problem is already beyond local prerogatives. Focus therefore should be on concerns falling within the jurisdiction of local education officials.

One of them is the issue on the practicability of holding countless what may be termed as “exchange parade participation” wherein students are required to take part. Most of these parades are held a day or two prior to the annual fiesta of a given area.

Traditionally, a fiesta is held in honor of a saint. Primarily therefore it is a religious activity and by its very name, a civic parade is not part of it. And yet so much time and money are spent for the purpose. Such resources should have been more wisely channeled for academic purposes.

The wasteful exercise also exposes the students to severe danger. The sight of students to take part in the civic parade elsewhere emphasizes the risk to which the students, who are aboard an overloaded rented (top load included) vehicle are exposed.

Add to it the fact that every time the school kids are about to join such parades, they have to practice and therefore skip classes as a consequence of which time and energy supposed to be devoted for academic and skills development are squandered.

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