"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Monday, March 3, 2014

"Buwisit" in Philippine Education

The website "Tagalog Lang" traces the Tagalog word "buwisit" to the Fukien Chinese phrase "bo ui sit", which means no clothes or food. Food and clothing are among the basic needs of a human. Thus, a word associated with a lack of these necessities is as empty as a promise made by a politician in the Philippines. It is as empty as the reforms in education currently being forced upon schools in the country. It is just appropriate that Pinoy Weekly's Pher Pasion uses the word for the title of a recent article:


The above discusses the shift in the school calendar in most of the campuses of the University of the Philippines. The shift is in preparation for the coming integration among members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). As described in a previous article on this blog, "When Should the School Year Begin and End", changing the school calendar year is not necessary. On top of just wasting time and causing aggravation, the shift may even harm students because most facilities are not equipped with air conditioning which is badly needed during the hot dry and summer months in the Philippines. Pher Pasion therefore uses the word "buwisit" appropriately and the following protester simply highlights the emptiness in the directions being laid out by education reformers/leaders in the Philippines:

Simbolo ng pagtutol ng mga mag-aaral at propesor sa calendar shift. Pher Pasion - 
The above represents the objection of students and professors to the calendar shift. The calendar shift after reducing to its very essence does not really hold any substance or value. Here are some of Pasion's arguments. Similar to K+12, copying other countries is provided as one justification. Unfortunately, the countries where universities may work or partner with the Philippines like Japan, Korea and Australia do not have the calendar year targeted by the current shift in the Philippines. Most importantly, there are so many other issues that require our attention. The calendar year is as high of a priority as writing standards or a curriculum. These are simply not the factors that define quality in education. People choose to discuss these items because these are a lot easier to comprehend and digest. And here I am thinking that I am the one who is "purely theoretical". The reason why education in the Philippines is facing serious challenges is not in the "drawing plan". It is fully explained by what is happening on the ground. "Neither clothes nor food" - that is all education policy makers in the Philippines have to offer, simply "Kabuwisitan".




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