The Wheel and Axle

The War on Education

by on Oct.02, 2013, under Society

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I cannot help but sometimes think there is a conspiracy against education. Whether here or in the USA, education is one of the first institutions that tend to take a hit when budget and planning come into play.

In the USA, it seems the budget for the war chest takes precedence over education (which is not surprising, I guess, considering how many enemies the USA has and how many war profiteers there are in that nation). In the Philippines, education keeps on getting budget cuts, straining state universities and causing a deterioration in quality schooling, while the pork barrel of unscrupulous politicians just keeps on growing.

It is as though we are at war against education, and our leaders want to raise morons. This, of course, may not be that far-fetched because a world full of idiots is easier to control and manipulate.

Recently, it was reported that – in the new K-12 educational system being rolled out for the Philippines – the Department of Education is looking to downscale Literature and Humanities in the curriculum. This is despite the fact that the K-12 program seeks to add two additional years to the basic education of Filipinos.

(Do not get me started on the uselessness of adding two years to basic education. At this point, quality, not quantity, is needed. All that we will accomplish with two years of additional schooling is that even more of our poor countrymen who have no means will end up not finishing school.)

Needless to say, the proposal to downscale Literature and Humanities was not met with open arms by writers, Literature teachers, and anyone who actually has brains. And why should we meet this with open arms? As the article notes, it is strange that while two more years are being added to basic education, Literature and Humanities are getting the shaft by being subtracted from the curriculum.

One of the more preposterous ideas is to collapse 21st Century Regional Literature into World Literature. One is the study of Philippine Lit in regional languages, while the other is the study of works from other nations. It would be akin to these DepEd idiots collapsing Chemistry and Biology into one subject (and not in the sense of a true Biochemistry course).

Now, while the value of Literature may not be as easily apparent in daily life as, say, basic Math or Grammar, the value is nonetheless significant.

Literature helps develop critical thinking in people. People need to read more and more, not less and less, especially in this day and age where Twitter and Facebook have become the norm in feeding us ideas not always filtered with intelligence or the sublime. Mind you, social media has its value, but it should not replace true education, especially when there is so much garbage that needs a critical mind to be filtered out by impressionable young people.

“There are magazines, too!” I hear naysayers cry. Right, because there is so much depth to learn from reading Cosmopolitan and FHM.

The fact remains that, without Literature, people will not learn to think critically as they could and will not understand more about the world around them in ways that Math, Science, or even History cannot provide. I say this as a person who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and who is a self-professed Math nerd. These disciplines show us logic and teach us about the objective; Literature and the Humanities show us emotion and teach us how about the subjective.

Literature and the Arts are about humanity. These teach us to understand and learn the human experience from all around us – whether it be through the local experience, the national experience, or the global experience.

Devaluate Literature and the Arts, and you risk devaluating how we learn to be more human.



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