School begins tomorrow; the more fortunate can afford a nine-day countdown. Soon, the news will report on even more shortages and excesses: too few classrooms, too many students. Then cue the pundits who decry politics and the academics who argue demographics. Finally, there will be the all too familiar picture of that education minister with his tail between his legs, chided by his queen for not doing enough, well enough. Often, this is the picture painted in the broadsheets and flashed on our screens. But for all they’re worth, they fail to describe the real problems to which Gian Dapul’s math teacher once said, “there is always a solution” to.
I have been invited to write here in Filipino Voices for quite some time now. I am in awe of my colleagues’ abilities to write on and on about the issues that matter to them and thus, I told Nick, I would hold off until the school year starts. As an educator, social scientist and aspiring student of public policy, I rather run my mouth on something that I not only know of, but matters to me personally. So in inviting everyone to think about the issues in Philippine education, let me start with a story.