A question was asked: If there is one thing you can give to the Philippines, what is that gift?
It will sound cliché but my answer is “Education”.
Why? For the reason that education solves a ton of other social problems. You give education to the people, then you are actually not only giving education – you are also giving them hope, morale, and a general sense of national direction and a lot of other “intangibles” that comes along with it.
But not just any education. It has to be quality, top-notch, and state-of-the-art education which makes the Filipinos competitive and will ultimately make the Philippines a global standout no longer recognized for its hardworking OFWs but known for the intellectuals it shall produce.
In the latest UNESCO data (2008) 1 , the Philippines registers and boasts a high literacy rate. The literacy rate of Filipinos aged 15 and above is a whopping 95%.
But don’t get too excited nor confused or baffled by this statistics. “Literacy” in literacy rate simply means “being able to read and write”. This data simply means that 95% of adult Filipinos are able to read and write.
If we would go to the details, we’d actually see that for every 100 elementary students, only 58 of them will reach high school. Out of the 58, only 23 will reach college. Out of that 23, only 14 will actually finish college 2. So in reality, only 14 out of 100 Filipinos are educated. Sure, the country is not remiss in its duty to provide basic education – but that’s all where the effort is.
The implication of this is baffling in so many levels and in so many aspects. A lot of today’s problems can be explained by this. Problems like why are the Filipino masses so gullible? Why are we oppressed? Why are we, as a nation, not doing any real effort to combat oppression? Why do we continue to be fooled by the same people over and over again? Why don’t we care? It’s because we, as a people, lack the education which empowers us.
A third of the country’s problem would be solved if we have a country filled with educated people – not just an army of people who can read and write.
Education gives the people power. It puts them on equal footing vis- à -vis the traditional elite. It makes the society dynamic because there will be a constant exchange of public opinion. Power will not be retained in just a few group of people because people will be more critical of their leaders.
Education scales down the number of pawns. People do not have to wait for others to tell them what to do because an educated crowd is a thinking crowd capable of initiating significant changes. People will have the confidence to speak out their minds. It will remove that mentality of self-pity. The ordinary Filipino will no longer have to say “Nahihiya akong magsalita kasi wala akong pinag-aralan.” Surely, tables will be turned.
Education will create a society which is proud of itself no longer oppressed and being silent about it.
So if I have one gift I can give to the Philippines, it would be education!
How about you? What is that one gift that you’d like to give the Philippines? Post your answers on the comment form below!