"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

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Education Does Not Cure Poverty

DepEd is quick to advertise its new curriculum in terms of being decongested, discovery based, holistic, and learner-centered. However, when it comes to employment, DepEd is in fact cautious in promoting K to 12. In one of DepEd's official pages on the internet, DepEd makes it clear that the "Senior High School cannot guarantee employment". Unlike sound bites, employment is something the public could easily relate. Employment is so tangible unlike other promises that require deeper examination and reflection. One either gets employed or not. It is straightforward.

  • SHS cannot guarantee employment; but it creates the following opportunities:
    • Standard requirements will be applied to make sure graduates know enough to be hirable.
    • You will now be able to apply for TESDA Certificates of Competency (COCs) and National Certificates (NCs) to provide you with better work opportunities.
    • Partnerships with different companies will be offered for technical and vocational courses. 
    • You can now get work experience while studying; and companies can even hire you after you graduate.
  • Entrepreneurship courses will now be included. Instead of being employed, you can choose to start your own business after graduating, or choose to further your education by going to college.
The above  is copied from DepEd's answer to frequently asked questions on the additional years of high school (SHS) in its K to 12 curriculum.

Education does not guarantee employment. Education cannot guarantee employment. Education does not cure poverty. Education cannot cure poverty. Matt Bruenig in a recent article on Demos nicely summarizes this fact:
"Poverty is really about non-working people: children, elderly, disabled, students, carers, and the unemployed. The big things that cause poverty for adults over the age of 25 in a low-welfare capitalist society—old-age, disability, unemployment, having children—do not go away just because you have a better degree. These poverty-inducing circumstances are social constants that could strike anyone of us and do strike many of us at some point in our lives."
My father became seriously ill when I was just about to start college. Circumstances such as this cause poverty. Even without an illness, people could lose jobs. Unemployment is more than often not due to lack of skills. Improving the educational attainment of everyone usually leads to companies just requiring higher credentials. Fast food restaurants for instance can now prefer to hire those with college education to flip burgers.

The United States still stands as the most influential market in the world. Opportunities abound. Yet, in this scenario, the striking inability of education to address unemployment and poverty is very evident. Matt Bruenig elegantly captures this fact in the following graph:

Above copied from Matt Bruenig's Why Education Does Not Fix Poverty

And to this graph, Matthew Iglesias of Vox offers the following insight:
"We have massively improved the educational credentials of people living below the poverty line."



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