Monday, July 6, 2009
Their rehashed statements fared badly when heard alongside the sincerity of Nicky’s desire for a true education that nourishes the mind, heart and will.
I attended the Talakayan Forum sponsored by the Movement for Good Governance last week. It was a first of a series of forums on different issues. Yesterday’s issue was Education. The “leaders” on the panel were Nick Perlas, Dick Gordon, Chiz Escudero, and Grace Padaca. There were no set questions but questions were posed by people from the audience. Let me just say: Nick Perlas brought the house down! Before I start gushing with pride, let me tell you concretely why:
Nicky advocated contemporary and novel approaches to solving our problem on education. All the other speakers merely echoed one another, emphasizing the education budget (too low, corruption or being used elsewhere) and that the solution to the crisis was funneling more money into education (better books, buildings, teacher’s salaries.) In a nutshell, “lumang tugtugin.” It was Nick’s time to shine. I could see a number of people in the audience nodding as he spoke. He said that while these systems and structures are important and play a role, we should also, and more importantly, focus on the “learner,” what is the kind of education being imparted to the student? He proposed (and I am sure, it has never before been done in any political speech or fora) that education for Filipinos should recognize multiple intelligences, instead of traditionally focusing on merely academic and mathematical proficiencies. Imagine the audience amazement when Nick said that in this modern age, machines can take the place of all academic work (calculation, medical data, legal data) but what you can never replace or replicate in machines is human creativity. So he said, we should revolutionize the way we view education, and the kind of education we want taught to our students.
While Chiz kept emphasizing decentralization (and someone from the audience again said this might not be the solution, as can be seen with decentralizing health, you are at the mercy of the local government), Nicky proposed education reform that involves the community so you engage the citizens and the community in creating and building true education for the students. He pointed out that there are a number of poor communities with little to no funding for education but they have an educated populace, precisely because the community has involved itself in the raising and educating of its members.
When asked about language, all three speakers were more or less similar in saying Filipino/native dialect (first few years) and English later. Nick again, surprised everyone by saying, more than just language, linguistics has a greater role to play in building a child. He said language has to do with culture, and the kind of language taught in the crucial years of a child, builds not only language skills but molds him to embrace the culture intrinsic in the language.
Nicky and Dick had a similar view on the need to go beyond science and math. However, what I noticed was while Dick used the word “attitude,” Nicky chose to use “pagkatao” and I believe that said a lot to the audience.
What was funny was when asked about how they used their pork barrel for educational projects. The three were boasting about the number of buildings they have put up. I am certain people were expecting Nicky to lose out on this one, as he has no pork barrel, and private individuals do not build schools! But lo! Nicky confidently answered, he had created three schools, and not just build schools, but with the very concept he espoused, of recognizing multiple intelligences. Not only that, he said, more than the structures (he said really, behind structures are people), he has engaged in teacher training for the last (I forget) years. He emphasized the need for educators to understand, the innate and latent potential of each individual, and that we are not filling an empty vessel but drawing out what is the highest potential of every person.
One last thing, sorry telenovela na, in their closing remarks, I could sense how people reacted to Nick’s statements. He told them, education should make us realize that we have the potential to greatness. We were not born to be corrupt, we were not born to apathy or indifference, we were not born to live in a country that has become desolate for the last 30 years (something like that, I cannot, by any chance, say it like him.) The other speakers reiterated what we already know, and of course, their grand plans. But Nicky, I am certain, was able to awaken their minds and even touch their hearts. Their grand plans made sense (increase the budget by getting contributions from text according to Dick) but could not stand against Nicky’s emphatic statements that the answer is not just systems or structures, it is real change in our idea of education, what we value as intelligence, how our teachers draw out potential from full vessels. Their rehashed statements fared badly when heard alongside the sincerity of Nicky’s desire for a true education that nourishes the mind, heart and will.
So there. Listen and watch him in the next forum on August (so I don’t have to sound/read like a gushing Fan who has found a new Michael Jackson.) :o)
| Pagod Ka Na Bang Maging si Juan? | Newz Around Us |