Dried Leaves And Charcoal

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EDUCATION has always been held as one of the top priorities of people. Parents tell their children to study hard for a better future. They tell them that their education is the only inheritance they can give them.

However, not everyone can go to school to get an education. That’s because there are some schools in extremely impoverished areas that are neglected by the government. These schools lack the facilities needed for a decent education.

In one of the towns in Surigao del Sur [Philippines], before two volunteer teachers were sent there, they had no schools at all. They were so eager to learn that the students used dried leaves in substitute for paper and charcoal for pencil just so they can practice writing. The teachers even spent their Sunday mornings to look for dried leaves they can use in class.

This is the state of the educational system here in the Philippines. Surigao del Sur is just one example. Even in Davao City, the public high schools are so overcrowded that they use classrooms in shifts just so that they can accommodate as many students as they can.

Even with the shifting schedules in place, the classrooms are still overcrowded, at times packing as many as 70-80 students to a class.

However, the [Philippine] government seems to not care at all. Last July 25, President Benigno Aquino III, gave his speech for his annual State of the Nation Address. Out of the 5,989 words in his SONA, however, only twice was anything education-related mentioned. In both times, education wasn’t even mentioned directly, but just used as examples to make a point.

He didn’t mention anything about the cuts in the budget for the state universities and public schools. He never mentioned the increase in tuition fees in the private schools. No mention of leaves and charcoal, nothing about classroom shifts, nothing about the education in the Philippines.

This just goes to show how important education is for our current government, not at all. Maybe we need to rethink our priorities. We need to focus more on the things that really matter.

How is the youth supposed to become the hope for our nation they are meant to be when they are deprived of something as basic as education? We need to educate our youth because it’s the only inheritance we can give them.


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