November 24, 2011
In an article published in the Baguio Midland Courier last November 20 headlined as “DBM chief tells SUCs to spend their funds wisely,” (http://www.baguiomidlandcourier.com.ph/benguet.asp?mode=archives/2011/november/11-20-2011/beng2.txt) it was reported that Abad “urged officials of State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) in Region 1 and the Cordillera region to institute reforms that would boost government tertiary education and to ensure that money on SUCs are spent on priorities and for the government (sic) invest more with SUCs.” Moreover, Abad “highlighted the need to have good linkage with the industries, such as the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, which is gaining ground in the country, and the electronic industry like Texas Instruments in Baguio City and Clark, Pampanga.
Members of progressive youth organizations in the Cordillera see these statements by Abad as a clear manifestation of the government’s initiative to further commercialize the sector of education in the country. Abad’s remark that pushes SUCs to establish ties with industries like BPOs clearly manifests the kind of prioritizations the government is strongly recommending for these SUCs to take. The government is encouraging SUCs to design their education program so that it builds “global competitiveness” which is just serving foreign interests in disguise. It is also short of saying that funding will be more abundant for SUCs who abide by this recommendation of the government. We assert that these partnerships with private industries open the SUCs to compromise the education they give to students in favor of the industries’ and other profit-seekers’ interests.
This statement by Abad only manifests the way the government treats the education sector. Instead of seeing this as a basic service that must be given to its citizens as part of their rights and as a means to equip them with knowledge and skills necessary for the development of a nation, the government merely sees education as a business where they can invest on. They invest on students by training them in selected fields which they deem can contribute in boosting the country’s economy. Sadly, the government’s idea of boosting the economy is through OFW remittances obtained from Filipinos working abroad. Education is not geared towards what the country really needs and what kind of skills its citizens must have in order for them to help in building the nation. In the end, this only reflects the dilemma of the education system in the country. More than the issue about the budget it receives, it is a question of what is the content of this education and what are the ends projected for it to respond to. Now, the government is becoming more vocal in the kind of education it seeks to sustain. It is a kind of education that trains students to be “globally competitive” and work abroad instead of contributing in boosting the country’s economy by working here, support its own industries and give services to its fellowmen.
We, members of different youth organizations in the Cordillera sees the current education system as one that does not attend to the needs of the entire Filipino people and is utilized to maintain the status quo where the rich and those in power benefit from the labors and by exploiting the impoverished majority. Only by overhauling this education system and the larger social set-up where this is included can we more easily achieve genuine, and not tokenistic progress for this nation. We call for the institution of an education system that caters to the interests and needs of the Filipino people which will replace the current system that is geared towards the interests of foreigners and a few local elite.
KABATAAN PARTYLIST CORDILLERA
COLLEGE EDITOR’S GUILD OF THE PHILIPPINES BAGUIO-BENGUET
NATIONAL UNION OF STUDENTS OF THE PHILIPPINES BAGUIO-BENGUET