Disadvantages and Bad Habit Woes of Online Education Learning

Bad habits are deeply rooted and their change requires a deeper understanding. In all my years of writing about the beneficiaries of online education learning I have come across several disadvantages of online courses.

Modern lives require high-end careers. Kudos to online learning for it has eased the age old conventions of higher education. Now career goals are no longer limited to the handful. Online higher degrees are meant to cater the educational needs at large.

  • Low Motivation – Acquiring online learning experience requires motivation, dedication and sincere endeavors. Students with low motivation and bad study habits can find it difficult to complete an online study. It requires self-motivation as the student has to study on her own and there is hardly any pressure from the part of the tutor.
  • Too Much Time – E-courses require more time than courses in colleges or higher educational institutions. Giving ample time to students is actually a disadvantage. Students with bad habits feel lethargic to attend regular interactive classes and keep postponing the time schedule.
  • Lack of planning – To earn from online education which is well planned may be easy. But the study patterns are not that easy and have to be well planned. Improper study planning added to bad study habits can derail the process of learning. However, the course activities have to be planned if possible with an expert help.
  • Traditional Class Formats Are Missing – Students too familiar and dependent on traditional classes can find it difficult to cope with virtual online classes. Traditional class formats are missing that may lead to confusion. Online classes therefore require more attention and prioritizing.
  • No Availability of Personal Tutorial Help – The tutorial guidance sometimes may not suffice or satisfy the educational needs of the students. So, the student may feel the absence of personal tutorial guidance. An online video class may fulfill the requirement to some extent.
  • Isolation from instructor and classmates – In an online class a learner may feel isolated from the instructor and classmates. Classroom like environment, proper test timings, semesters and project submission within a particular deadline are all missing in virtual classes. Therefore an online learner may feel sluggish to work and study on her own.
  • Lab Work Is missing – Lab work is difficult to mange in virtual classroom rather it is missing. The absence of laboratory work is a serious disadvantage particularly in disciplines like physical or biological science.
  • Self-Learning – Online learning is almost like self learning where a person has to take responsibility of his or her own course of studies.

Limited interactions and missing out on non-verbal communications are potential disadvantages that can only add to the bad habit woes.

Working Parents & Childcare – Selecting High Quality Care When Parents Must Be Away!

Parents frequently ask me what they should look for when they are selecting care for their youngsters when they must be away at work. The answer to this question depends on their expectations, requirements, scheduling needs, and budget for care. In this article I have composed a list of parents’ most commonly asked questions along with answers from a professional standpoint. I will also provide some basic information about early childhood so that parents can make an educated decision about who they choose to care for their children when they must be away from them.

First, it must be noted that there are two types of care for young children: 1) There is care that is meant to keep children healthy and safe; and 2) There is care that is meant to keep children healthy and safe while simultaneously providing educational opportunities that prepare children for formal educational settings (K-12th grade) and everyday life. Second, parents need to understand that at birth the brain is not fully developed. In fact, a tremendous amount of learning occurs during early childhood (birth to age seven years). Consequently, the type of care parents choose, whether the care is for the health and safety of children or whether the care is to include educational opportunities, the primary caretaker should, at the very least, understand and use “best practices” for developing healthy children.

Child development specialists view and use empirical research to describe best practices. Best practices are shown to be those that address the developmental needs of the “whole child.” The “whole child” consists of 5-distinct selves, and each of the selves must learn specific skills in order for children to reach their full potential. These selves include: 1) the cognitive self – the part of the child that thinks, solves problems, makes judgments, and perceives or interprets information. Each of these tasks requires specific skills that are developed during early childhood; 2) the creative self – the part of the child that creates something new out of already existing materials. Today, in America, creativity is grossly undervalued, yet cures for diseases, solving our nation’s most complex problems, and every convenience used by mankind are the result of creativity. Children must be given materials that allow them opportunities to create their own masterpieces, without being criticized, if adults want them to grow up and think outside of the box; 3) the emotional self – the part of the child that feels (sad, happy, frustration, anger, etc.). Children learn to control their emotions, or they fail to learn to control their emotions, during early childhood. The primary caretakers of young children have much to do with whether they develop appropriate emotional regulatory skills; 4) the social self – the part of the child that interacts with others. Children learn both appropriate and inappropriate social skills from their primary caretakers during childhood; 5) the physical self – the part of the child that navigates the body through the physical world. Physical skills include crawling, walking, running, writing, coloring, drawing, etc. These skills begin in infancy and build on each other. Therefore, the early physical skills are critical to developing the physical skills of tomorrow. Naturally, young children also have physical & biological needs such as nourishment, medical care, adequate grooming, and a safe and warm environment.

The various skills associated with each of the five selves begin developing during early childhood. These skills are developed through the opportunities that primary caretakers provide to children during the early years of development. Primary caretakers are the models for children and the ways in which primary caretakers respond to the various needs of young children, including their misbehaviors and their mistakes, actually deliver powerful messages to children. These messages can have positive or negative effects on the brain development of children; AND these effects have long-term consequences for children. The information children learn about themselves (e.g., I am competent versus I am incompetent) from their primary caretakers during early childhood development become hard wired into their brains and set the foot print for their entire life span. A common mistake that is made by parents is to believe that their young infant only needs someone to feed them, change their diaper, and keep them safe while parents are away. While these caretaking tasks are important for the physical needs of children, these behaviors alone do not provide appropriate care for the cognitive, creative, emotional, and social needs of developing children.

FAQ

Q1. What is the difference between childcare and preschool/educare? While these definitions may vary slightly most will agree that childcare is primarily designed to care for the health and safety of children. Preschool/educare is meant to provide care for the health and safety of children while simultaneously providing carefully planned curricula that prepare children for formal educational settings (grades K- 12th grade) and real life situations. Many people believe that preparing children for formal education means teaching youngsters the alphabet, numbers, and simple shapes, yet this is only partly true. Youngsters need to learn appropriate social skills and emotional regulation in order to succeed in formal classrooms settings, educational institutions, and in everyday life. To the extent children are able to master cognitive (thinking), creative, emotional, social, and physical skills is the extent to which they are able to successfully navigate through formal educational settings.

Q2. Who qualifies to work as a preschool/educare teacher? Each state is different so it is important to contact your state’s local branch of the Office of Education to learn about the specific requirements for the state in question. In the state of California those who earn a California Pre-K Credential, also referred to as a, Permit, qualify to work as preschool teachers by 1) earning a degree in Early Childhood Education; or 2) completing specific coursework in Early Childhood Education and completing a specific number of days/hours of work experience in a licensed Early Childhood Education facility.

Training and education of Pre-K Teachers is expected to foster knowledge on several fronts: 1) child development, typical & atypical; 2) identify long-term & short-term educational goals for children’s cognitive, creative, emotional, social, and physical development; 3) write monthly, weekly, and daily lesson plans; 3) design curricula that is interesting to children, fun, and educational; 4) use appropriate forms of positive child guidance to set boundaries for children; 5) work with families as a member of a team; and 6) develop a profound sensitivity and ability to work with children of various abilities, temperaments, and personalities. In all of these areas teachers are taught those empirically supported strategies that are shown to promote rather than impede children’s learning, even when children become frustrated, have difficulty, or engage in misbehaviors.

There are 4-levels of Preschool Teachers in the state of California. Levels 3 & 4 also require coursework in general education.

· level 1 – Assistant Pre-K Teachers have completed 108 hours of education in early childhood studies.

· level 2 – Associate Pre-K Teachers have completed 216 hours of education in early childhood studies.

· level 3 – Pre-K Teachers have completed 432 hours of education in early childhood studies and approximately 287 hours in general education coursework (e.g., college level English, college level math, etc.)

· level 4 – Pre-K Teachers have completed 432 hours of education in early childhood studies, approximately 287 hours in general education coursework, and additional coursework in a specialized area of early childhood studies (e.g. infant/toddler, children with special needs, school age, etc.). Note: Level 2 and beyond are allowed to be alone with the children enrolled in their classrooms, and are responsible for curricula development and implementation in Pre-K settings.

Q3. Why is the level of education and training important when selecting or interviewing a Pre-K teacher for your child? School readiness curricula is carefully planned, implemented through playful activities, and designed to provide opportunities for young children to develop effective: 1) cognitive, 2) creative, 3) emotional, 4) social, and 5) physical skills. Skilled Pre-K teachers understand how to help children view their mistakes as opportunities, and how to use children’s misbehaviors as chances to facilitate children’s development of appropriate social behaviors, and emotional regulation. Well educated and trained Pre-K teachers understand that adults who interact with children actually shape their brains for their entire life span.

Q4. What is the relationship between parent-child interactions and teacher-child interactions and the child’s developing brain? A child’s brain develops mostly between the ages of birth and age 7 years. During this time period the young developing brain is similar to the hard drive of a computer. Those adults who spend the most time with young children (e.g., parents, caretakers, teachers, etc.) have the most influence on the developing brain. It is these adults who teach the child, intentionally or unintentionally, that he or she is lovable, worthy, and capable of success in a variety of situations and settings. In other words, the adults who spend the most time with children are the programmers of the developing brain. Due to the nature of the brain, it is nearly impossible to deprogram early learning. Parents, caretakers, and teachers who are punitive (e.g., shame, blame, humiliate, embarrass, and degrade children) are hard wiring them to believe that they are useless, worthless, bad, and that something is wrong with them. To sum, the hard wiring of the brain, sets the footprint for the child’s entire life span!

Q5. What is the difference between positive child guidance and punishment? First, it is important to recognize that when children misbehave there is a goal for their misbehavior. Whether children have a physical or emotional need that is not being met or whether they are exploring their environment because they want to learn about it, these are all reasons that children’s behaviors are, at times, unsafe, annoying, or inappropriate. While caretakers of children need to keep them safe, help them learn appropriate social behaviors, and assist them in developing emotional regulation, it is important that adults accomplish these tasks while protecting children’s self-esteem, self-worth, self-concept, efficacy, autonomy, industry, and a host of other characteristics that children must develop and maintain to become their best possible selves.

Hint 1: Using positive child guidance rather than punishment assists children in developing emotional regulation and appropriate social behaviors without delivering the message to children that they are unlovable, inherently bad, worthless, and will never be able to achieve their own goals in life, or be successful in life.

Hint 2: The consequence of positive child guidance is that children develop appropriate social skills, learn the appropriate ways to regulate their emotions, develop healthy self-starting behaviors, and hone healthy effective cognitive skills while establishing healthy self-esteem and self-concept. Punishment does the opposite of positive child guidance.

Q6. Can you give us an example of positive child guidance versus discipline? Yes. In positive child guidance we simply tell the child what we want them to do. In punishment we tell the child what we don’t want them to do, and often times, even without physically harming a child, adults may make statements that leave children feeling badly about themselves. Psychological abuse is defined as behaving in a manner that leaves children feeling worthless, and perhaps fearful of making mistakes. Children who are fearful of making mistakes are afraid to explore, create, or think outside of the box for fear of being put down. Exploration, creativity, and making mistakes are all a part of life and learning, and have led to virtually every convenience used by mankind.

Imagine a young child climbing up on a chair. He stands there and the entire room looks very interesting. Perhaps he begins to jump off of the chair and onto the floor. “Wow” he thinks to himself, this is fun. The teacher or parent walks in and becomes upset for a variety of reasons. The chair isn’t to be used as a jumping board; the child might get hurt; and perhaps the adult is already upset at something else in life that has nothing to do with the child’s behavior. Nevertheless, the adult snaps and begins asking the child “What’s wrong with you? How many times do I have to tell you? Don’t you know how to listen?” These types of statements imply that there is a problem with the child.

Using positive child guidance, allows adults to assist children in constructing knowledge that is useful at other times in their lives. In positive child guidance boundaries and limits for children are set, and the reasons for the boundaries and limits, depending on the age of the child, may also be discussed. This process allows children to develop cognitive skills about safety or appropriateness of behaviors, and allows children an opportunity to make better choices for themselves. When children make better choices the environment (adults, other children) respond in positive ways and these responses send the message that the child is competent, worthy, & lovable. When humans believe that others have positive perspectives of them, healthy self-esteem, self-concept, and self-efficacy are established.

The primary problems with punishment and time outs are that children are berated for their choices and, worse, children are often not told why their choices are inappropriate and are not given opportunities to make better choices. Some adults feel that they should not need to explain anything to children because “after all I am the adult and the child is just a child.” But this thought actually reflects the failure of adults to respect children’s feelings, needs, temperaments, frustrations, and natural inclination to investigate the world they live in. In addition, this thought and other similar thoughts assume that children are miniature adults who understand the world and know how to effectively and appropriately deal with their emotions and exploration tendencies.

Examples of punishment versus positive child guidance: 1) A child is standing in a chair. Using punishment adults make statements such as: “What is wrong with you? You know that is unsafe. How many times do I need to tell you not to stand in the chair. You aren’t listening you need to go to the time out chair. Don’t stand in the chair you’ll get hurt.” 2) Using positive child guidance adults make statements such as: “I need you to sit in the chair so you will be safe. You can sit down on your own or I can help you.” While making these types of statements the adult is walking over to the child, ready to help the child sit down if the child doesn’t make the choice to do it on his own. Next, adults may say something such as, “I know it is fun being up high but I want you to be safe. If you want I can stand next to you while you stand on the chair and look around.”

There are many statements that can be made that help children do what we want them to do yet do not destroy their inquisitive nature. Parents should observe caretakers and teachers to make certain that they use positive child guidance rather than punishment. Observations should be for long time periods and during different times of the day. This will give parents an idea as to whether caretakers and teachers use positive child guidance with all of the children all of the time, even when several children are “misbehaving.”

Q4. How do I select a high quality preschool/educare or childcare facility? Today approximately twelve million children receive care outside of their family homes, yet, only 1 in 7 preschool and childcare facilities are considered to be high quality. In the state of California, both Family in Home Care Providers and Preschool Centers are required to have a license which is issued by Community Care Licensing. This license is provided to a Home or Preschool once minimum health & safety guidelines have been demonstrated (each person living in the Home or employed by the Preschool has passed a criminal background check by the FBI; sharp objects, toxic items are locked away, etc.). Family providers must have a current CPR training completion card, and Health & Safety training Certificate, but there are NO educational coursework, certificates of completion, or work experience required. Preschools are mandated, however, by the state to hire Pre-K Credentialed Teachers if the teacher will be left alone with children.

Although it is not required by the state of California at this time, there are a growing number of nannies and Family Providers who hold Pre-K Credentials and/or Degrees in the field. This is great for families who are in need of care and/or education for their youngsters because there are many more choices available to them. With more options, parents have a better chance to find the care and or education that fits best with the needs of their family.

Whether families select a Family Provider, Preschool Center, or Nanny to care for their families’ needs they should ask those who will spend the most significant time with their children some questions about their training in Early Childhood Education; knowledge about the effects of adult behaviors on early brain development, and whether the teacher or adult spending time with their children uses positive child guidance or punishment (pose questions such as, “What would you do if my child stood on the counter?”).

Below are some sample questions:

· What level of the Pre-K Credential/Permit do you hold?

· What is the effect of punishment on the developing brain?

· What are your long-term goals for my child (what does the teacher expect your child to be able to do cognitively, creatively, emotionally, socially, and physically by the end of the year?

· What types of curricula do you use to develop each of the above skills?

· What will you say to my child when his or her behavior is seen as inappropriate?

· How many parent-teacher conferences will be given within a year?

· How many authentic assessments is done on my child each day or week? Are these included in the parent-teacher conference?

· Will there be an electronic version of the parent-teacher conference sent to me?

· Will I receive samples of my child’s work with interpretations that explain my child’s development?

Parents should write down the responses to the questions they pose to caretakers or teachers and then observe often to determine whether they practice what they reported about their behaviors. Parents who have a desire to help their children develop a profound respect for different cultures should review the books and curricula used in the home or facility. Some issues to consider include:

· Are there families with different abilities portrayed in books?

· Are families and people of different sizes portrayed in books?

· Is the art work on the walls reflective of a multicultural world?

Q6. How do I know whether it is best to hire a Nanny, place my child with a Family in home provider, or select a Preschool Center? Children are different from each other and families should understand that there is not a one size fits all when it comes to selecting appropriate care and/or education for their youngsters. First, each family must decide whether they prefer childcare only, or childcare and education. Second, each family must decide whether their child has the temperament to do better in their own home, a small family environment, or a larger preschool setting. Sometimes families do not know what works best for their child until the child begins this journey. Relax, nothing is set in stone. Families who discover that the selection they made does not work as well as they anticipated are able to change. Sometimes, children outgrow a situation that has worked well for a long time.

Sometimes the choice between hiring a nanny, selecting a family in home provider, or selecting a preschool center has nothing to do with a child’s temperament but everything to do with the parents preference, work schedule, and/or finances. Remember, there are high quality nannies, family providers, and preschool facilities. And the opposite is also true. To know what you are getting parents should ask questions of the primary teachers or caretakers of their children; parents should drop in often and observe the behaviors of teachers or caretakers before enrolling their child in any settings.

After enrollment occurs, parents should initially stay with their child in the setting they have chosen to assist their child in building “trust” with their primary and secondary (assistant teachers) caretakers and/or teachers. Children who have a difficult time in a larger setting may do better in a smaller setting or with a smaller group of children.

Final Comment: There are those who have completed coursework in early childhood education but choose not to use the strategies they have learned. There are those who have not completed any early childhood education coursework yet are naturally gifted when it comes to working with children. I would not, however, choose to have my children cared for by persons who are not extremely knowledgeable about the effects that adult behaviors have on developing brains; nor would I choose to have my children cared for by persons that use punishment rather than positive child guidance.

Contents of Education

An Islamic Perspective towards Philosophy of Education

Introduction

Philosophy is the study of realities, pursuit of wisdom, and commentary on general principles of life. It is concerned with a search of eternal truth, both conceptual as well as practical. It has five areas of search – Epistemology, Metaphysics, Aesthetics, Ethics and History. The instrument used by philosophy to unearth realities or to discover truth is logic, both inductive as well deductive. Educational philosophy is a branch of general philosophy, it gains strength from epistemology. It formulates the aims and objectives or contents of education that, in turn, influence the whole learning environment, society, and future generations.

Philosophy of education is based on general principles of psychology, sociology, politics, economics, history, science, and religion. Education is dualistic phenomenon; it is static as well as dynamic. The major portion is dynamic or provisional and adjusts with the change and growth in knowledge, social structure, and civilization, while the minor but vital portion is static or eternal. We proposed that the contents of education are eternal while the application and explanation of these contents, a major portion, is dynamic. We assumed multi-disciplinary approach towards contents of education. The analysis accommodates the needs of individuals, society, and time and encompasses the cultural, social, and vocational aims of education.

Education may be formal as well as informal. The formal education is given in schools or colleges or universities, on the other hand informal education is obtained and absorbed from society and environment. Education, formal & informal, is developed and internalized in one’s personality through reflection and experience. It means all of us are learners during our lifetime. However, we are going to analyze the philosophy (aims & objectives) of formal education. Moreover, education has three levels – primary, secondary, and higher. Primary education deals with infants of 3 to 11 years old, secondary education covers teenagers of 12 to 18 years, and higher education shapes young learners of above 18 years. A distinctive approach is required for each level of education.

The contents of education vary from community to community. A secular society would have a different approach towards contents as compare to some ideological society. Moreover, the explanation or implementation of contents would be different in different societies. Our analysis is ideological and dominantly based on Islamic view towards education.

Terminology

The term “education” has been derived from the Latin words Educare, Educatum, or Educere. Educatum and educare mean to train and to nourish, while educere mean to lead out. The former implies that education is something external; to be imposed or put in from outside, it means the external environment plays a decisive role in learning process. The latter indicate growth from within; it means internal potentialities of an individual are decisive in learning process, the external environment has secondary role in educational process. Naturalists / Psychologists gave more importance to internal dispositions of learning process while the social philosophers put major stress on external demands of educational process. We assumed a mixed and balanced approach towards role and importance of internal-external environment of learning process.

Definition

Aristotle defined education as process necessary for the creation of a sound mind in a sound body, according to him, the aim & objective of education is to create good and virtuous citizens. Ibne Khaldun, in fourteenth century, expresses the view that education consists off intellectual, social, and moral training through which hidden potentialities are developed, traits of character are built and culture of the people is conveyed to the coming generations. Dewey, in twentieth century, defined education in these words: “Education is a process of living through a continuous reconstruction of experiences. It is development of all those capacities in the individual that will enable him to control his environment and fulfill his possibilities.” We may define education as, Education is the mean whereby adults pass on and inculcates to children their knowledge, thought-pattern, and behavior pattern and develop their genetic potential to manage existing and future challenges.

Aims & Objectives – Islamic View

Islam is Divine religion. It is based on revealed book, Quran, and prophetic commentary, Hadith. The foremost responsibility and ultimate purpose of prophets and Revealed Books are to educate the mankind for better, happy, and purposeful life. They specify the purpose of life, outline the procedure to actualize it, and present a practical example of purposeful life. Thus, the aims and objectives of education or contents of education can be understood from the last Revealed Book, Al-Quran. We quote a verse of Al-Quran,

Undoubtedly Allah did confer a great favor on the Muslims when He raised an Apostle from among themselves, who recites to them the Revelations of Allah, and causeth them to grow, and teacheth them the Scripture and Wisdom whereas they were in manifest error before.” (Al-Quran)

The verse identifies aims and objectives of education. These are:

  • Faith Plantation
  • Knowledge Advancement
  • Wisdom Enhancement
  • Manner Development

A. FAITH

The word faith has various meanings and uses, however, the central meaning is similar to “conviction”, “belief”, “trust” or “confidence”, but unlike these terms, “faith” tends to imply a submissive and transpersonal relationship with God or with someone having superior powers. Faith is founded on certain beliefs; beliefs’ indispensability to faith is just like seeds’ inevitability to plants. A belief system has certain perceptual ingredients with practical implications. A living faith must fulfill two conditions, the necessary condition is logical reasoning and sufficient condition is practical fruits for believers / mankind. A living faith gives stability to the believer, creates dynamism in one’s personality, brings fruits in one’s life, promotes cohesiveness among the believers, and assigns a specific shape to a group with peculiar traits.

We mention a few verses of the Holy Quran to outline and explain the basic elements of Islamic Faith.

A Glorious Book this! Which has nothing of doubt in it; it is guidance for the God-conscious who fear Allah. Those who believe in the Unseen and establish prayer and spend in Our way out of what We have provided them. And those who believe in that which has been sent down to you (O My Apostle) and in that which was sent down before you, and they also have faith in the August Day of Judgment. They are the ones who are rightly guided, and verily it is they who are successful in both the worlds.” (Al-Quran)

The first thing that the Quran does it removes the element of doubt, which is the foremost requisite of modern philosophy by introducing the faith as a fundamental factor behind reality. Doubt is a negative factor that hinders the exact understanding of reality; curiosity is far better alternate to doubt for knowledge development or to unearth realities. The faith concomitantly presupposes some obligatory beliefs – Unity of God, Unseen System (Angels, Heaven, Hell, etc.), Revealed Books, Institution of Prophets, Day of Judgment, Fate, and Life after Death. In addition, it imposes some obligations on believers – Kalimah (a confession of faith), prayer, fasting, alms giving, and pilgrimage. It is noteworthy that the idea of Unity of God must create the belief of mankind’s unity.

The Islamic approach towards faith is that it is revealed, explained, and planted through reverent personalities, i.e., prophets; a faith based on personal reasoning is not acceptable in Islam, the finality of prophets’ wording about faith elements is also essential. In addition, a loving and trustful posture towards prophets is fundamental for complete faith, without it faith is incomplete or objectionable. The very foundation of faith is thus love and submission to a reverent personality or a prophet. Simply, faith can be defined as accepting something true which has been told by someone who is believed to be trustworthy / praiseworthy.

The object behind development of faith is to make stable and balance psycho-spiritual formation of human personality. The prophets are sent as practical role modals and revealed books are accompanied as permanent working manual for guideline. The ultimate aim of developing faith elements is to equip the individual with necessary working tools to manage and tackle the conceptual or practical issues of life, either, big or small, simple or complex, independent or interlinked, a few or many, with fortitude and firmness. Thus, determination is necessary outcome of faith, no determination, than no faith.

Islam vehemently put forward two aspects of faith – human and transcendental. The human aspects propose the concept of unity of mankind, while the transcendental aspects propose the idea of Unity of God. Faith is incomplete if one aspect is ignored or not forcefully defined. In addition, the ignorance of one aspect makes the human personality lopsided and unstable. The repercussions of wrong belief about unity of mankind and Unity of God are manifold and penetrating to each and every aspect of human society. It can lead the nations into some kind of continuous strife and belligerent attitude towards each other. Moreover, the effects of wrong belief go beyond the present generations’ outlook and disturb the peace and tranquility of future generations, as well.

B. KNOWLEDGE

It is the understanding of the factual/declarative, procedural and conceptual aspects of something that a person acquires through education, observation and experience. Acquisition of knowledge is basic demand of human nature. It plays vital role in growth and development of a person or a nation.

1. Bases of Human Knowledge: –Let us quote some verses of the Quran on the subject:

And recall when your Lord said to the angels: “I am going to appoint a vice-regent in the earth.” They said: “Will You set in the earth such as will make mischief and cause bloodshed, whereas we celebrate Your praise and glorify You.” Allah said:” Surely I know that which you know not.”And Allah taught Adam the names of all things. Then He set them before the angels saying: “Tell Me the names of these if you are really truthful (in your opinion)” They said: “Glory to You! We have no knowledge what You have taught us. In truth, You alone are the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.”

Allah said:’ O Adam! Tell them the names of these things.” Then Adam had told the angels the names of those things, Allah said: “Did I not tell you that I know full well all the hidden mysteries of the heavens and the earth and I know whatever you disclose and whatever you have been concealing?

The verses manifest that the human nature has been made inherently fit and capable of receptivity and absorption of Divine Knowledge. Moreover, Adam’s knowledge has ability to conceptualize the things in nature. Thirdly, man has ability to develop language because Adam assigned names to items without prior formal training. These verses also show that the first man of the earth came down fully abreast of scientific knowledge, in full monopoly to develop it for natural conquest. According to Quran, than the program of human activity should proceed hand in hand with the divine cooperation and blessing, before the plan was being carried on unilaterally in which God has no vice-regent. The verses also indicate that a man has free will to choose right or wrong path of life. There is no external compulsion on his free choice. The verses also indicate that the mankind has strong tendency towards injustice and strife, however, it can be managed through human knowledge and is restrained by the Will of God.

2. Types of knowledge: –Knowledge can be classified into following groups:

  • Natural Sciences: –Natural sciences deals with inanimate objects of universe. The major branches are physics, chemistry, and astronomy.
  • Biological Sciences: –Biological Sciences deals with animate objects of universe. The major branches are zoology, botany, and psychology.
  • Social Sciences: –Social Sciences deals with collective life and relationship between individual and society. The major branches are sociology, political science, and economics.
  • Professional Sciences: –Professional Sciences deals with professions of individuals necessary for human survival / quality of life. The major branches are medicine, engineering, and commerce.

Islam accepts the scientific classification of knowledge, however, it proposed a broader taxonomy of knowledge for mankind:-

First, Absolute verses Dubious Knowledge. The absolute knowledge is based on some scientific facts or given through some reverent personality (i.e., prophets) in a shape of Revealed Book (e.g., Quran). The dubious knowledge is based on subjective analysis (e.g., the theory of psycho-analysis proposed by Freud.). Second, Fruitful verses Fruitless Knowledge. The fruitful knowledge gives benefit to mankind (e.g., natural sciences, biological sciences, social sciences, and, professional sciences.) while the fruitless knowledge is of no use for mankind (e.g., occult sciences).

3. Aspects of Knowledge: –A peace of knowledge can be broken into three categories or has three aspects – Declarative, Procedural & Conceptual.

  • Declarative Knowledge: –It is knowledge about something, e.g., structure of body, structure of computer, format of earth, and parts of speech. It deals with WHAT type of questions.
  • Procedural Knowledge: –It is knowledge about the procedures and sequences. It narrates and explains procedures & sequences of any compiled information or data, that is, it deals with HOW & WHEN type of questions. For example, HOW computer is manufactured or used, WHEN computer is ready to use or sale.
  • Conceptual Knowledge: –It is knowledge of concepts working behind the declarative and procedural knowledge. It is abstract aspect of knowledge. In conceptual knowledge, the relationship among concepts is also discussed. It deals with WHY type of questions. For example, the mathematical concepts and their relationship with each other that provide basis to the working of computer hardware or software.

C. WISDOM

Knowledge enables us to understand the realties of things (i.e., Divine Scheme of Creation, Natural System of Growth, natural forces, and history) and wisdom equip us with abilities to utilize the realities for the benefit of self and others. According to Islam, wisdom is higher level attribute, it comes after knowledge. Wisdom is bestowed when will of man is replaced by Will of God and human understanding is fully exploited, thus, wisdom is based on knowledge and intellect. Let us quote a verse to make it clear:

“He bestows wisdom upon whom He will, and whosoever is granted wisdom he is indeed granted abundant good and none accepts admonition except men of understanding.”

(Al-Quran)

Islam proposed two diagonally opposites aspects of wisdom – Divine Wisdom and devil wisdom. The Divine Wisdom is based on right faith and fruitful knowledge and produce good results for self and mankind, materially as well as spiritually, while the devil wisdom is based on wrong faith and fruitless knowledge and leads the mankind towards only worldly or material benefits, completely ignoring the benefits of others and spiritual benefits. The devil wisdom guides for self benefits at the cost of others, however, the devil / worldly wisdom is short-lived and weak, ultimately fails to materialize her lopsided designs.

Character-Sketch of a Wise Person

Wisdom is personalized, established, and manifested through struggle. A person fully involved in chores of life would qualify for wisdom. Seclusion or solitude is very negation of wisdom, while the participation is very basis of wisdom. A wise person pursue his goals/responds the problems of life with certain characteristics. These characteristics are essential working tools of a wise individual that give him/her edges over non-wise. The prominent attributes of a wise person are – Effective Communication, Enthusiasm, Discipline or Rigor, Decision Power, Sense of Responsibility, Moderate Behavior, Self-Confidence or High Morale or Courage, and Appropriate Appearance.

D. BEST MANNERS

Manners are countless, structurally, and diverse, practically. However, the essence of good manners is constant for all and sundry, it is humility. Humility is unique positive attribute of human personality; it is an attribute as well as essence of every positive attribute. Absence of humility makes the existence of all manners a soul-less ritual unable to produce fruitful results for self and others. A proud person is ill-mannered and creates problems for self and others.

Manners have two aspects – inner and outer. Inwardly, manners are shaped by dynamic organization of all the perceptions, intentions, and emotions of an individual and the behavior that results from the organization of these aspects, while, outwardly; they are shaped by social acceptance of behavior. Simply,conformity to some rationally defined and morally established interactive standards is considered best manners. Manners are developed under the guidance of intellect, knowledge, wisdom, social norms, and religion. They are time-honored phenomena. The reasonably/indisputably evolved set of manners creates order, consistency and continuity in one’s life and gives beautiful look to an individual or society. Manners are forerunner of culture and give longevity to civilizations. A society of ill-mannered persons will not be able to survive, at least with respect and recognition.

Bases of Best Manners

Man is combination of three basic realities, i.e., body, mind, and soul. Body has certain physical needs for survival or continuation of life such as food, water, and sleep, mind has some instinctual desires for interactive life such as parental instinct, gregarious instinct, learning instinct, and sex instinct, and soul has some ingrained urges towards moral excellence. Body needs are fulfilled by physical powers, psychological instincts are satisfied by mind powers such as will-power, decision-power, and emotional-power, soul urges are calmed by spiritual powers such as insight and intuition. A sustained manifestation of countless human efforts to satisfy body needs, psychological instincts, and soul urges shapes human personality. In addition, physical balance or health depends on diet, leisure time, proper sleep, and constructive physical activities. Mind normality or peace of mind hinges on positive approach towards intentions, perceptions and emotions. Soul is satisfied by rationally-intuitively defined belief system. A balanced approach towards physical health, mental satisfaction, and spiritual contentment give shape to mannered personality. Moreover, a mannered life is formed and improved through several group interactions such as social relations, economic dealings, political contacts, and customary connections.

Concluding Remarks

The aforementioned elaboration about contents of education – faith, knowledge, wisdom & personality traits or manners – manifests that educational institutions should have a comprehensive approach towards learning. They plant FAITH, give KNOWLEDGE, equip with WISDOM and develop PERSONALITY / MANNERS to face existing and upcoming challenges of life. Each aspect has its own importance and indispensability, one cannot be left at the expense of other, and all is needed. It is noteworthy that only a content-based educational system can produce fruits for society, coming generations and concerned individuals. On the bases of whole analysis, we propose two sample Mission Statements of educational institutions.

  • We strive to develop among our students Individuality with Humanity, Independence with Inter-dependence, and Science with Technology.
  • We strive to develop among our students Personality with Patriotism, Faith with Manners, and Knowledge with Wisdom.

Linking Quality Assurance’s Operational Plan in Higher Education Institution’s Departments

All organizations strive for stability to accomplish recognition. To achieve immovability, they need accreditation by authorized bodies that release institutional sanctions based from standardized criteria and procedures. In order that educational organization will be qualified for recognition, its quality assurance should stipulate the important tenets in its operational plans. According to Church (1988), quality assurance is about ensuring that there should be instruments, actions and procedures available to guarantee the achievement of distinctive level of superiority, which alludes to UNESCO’s academic definition as “the systematic review of educational programs to ensure that acceptable standards of education, scholarship and infrastructure are maintained.”

Quality Assurance systems connect to the mandates and other related policies released in any country. It is highly needed for academic, social and economic development. A country’s development plan acts as legal basis of implementing quality assurance in an educational institution since it contains mandates and policies by orders or decrees which are directed to all state’s agencies. It acts as a mother plan for quality assurance- accreditation bodies that implement and monitor. Usually, in the absence of a created quality assurance group for endorsement, the Higher Education becomes the channel of implementation which connects to private or public institutions, through releasing guidelines. Every institution plans its own quality assurance system with the employment of development plan. The legal bases of Quality assurance vary from one country to another. Despite difference of legal bases, general operational plan of colleges and universities commonly exists that can further branch out for all departments to pattern depending on the organization’s structures or sizes.

To formulate an operational plan, there must be constitution and by-laws, college manuals, quality assurance accrediting council guidelines and the institution’s development plans that stipulates or implies the tenets of accreditations that are to be achieved. All these three elements’ are interconnected through the mandates containing operational canons or principles to be attained specified by the mother plan or the university’s general operational plan. Assuming that the X University has five departments namely College of Teacher Education, College of Liberal Arts, College of Tourism and Hospitality, College of Engineering and College of Nursing. Each of this department will frame its own Operational Plan; a portion is a part of a whole that is analogous to sub-operational plan is to department while a general operational plan is to its university.

A department’s plan operationally defined herein is a process to be undertaken by all members of the department to link and augment the achievement of the whole institutions’ operational plan. It is how every member of a department functionally and effectively contributes in the expansion of clients and stakeholders’ welfare in an organization. The performance of this operational plan hopes to lead for quality services.

It comprises a department’s background in a form of a preamble in conjunction with the mother plan. It states the types of students as recipients of services, courses it offers, content of the curriculum and how this curriculum operates for the promotion of students’ development. It also contains vision, mission and objectives revolving around the relevant the tenets. These principles to be strictly followed include but are not limited to the curricular programs of the educational institution, methods of instructions including faculty requirements, institutional facilities for the development of course offerings and the faculty, technical and academic services offered to the students’ learning development, faculty researches, publications, the management, and community alliance or linkages whether they are local or international private or public organizations. The operational plan stipulates how these tenets are achieved in a specific period. Since it is designed as an element of the mother plan or whole institutions’ operational plan, it is divided into University’s Operational Goal/s based from the goals stated from the general operational plan. The university’s main goals are further formulated into University Operational Plan Sub-goal with Specific Objective/s to be supported by Specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These three (3) elements are associated together depending on the extent of the whole organization’s goals. Furthermore, these four elements provides five (5) major components to follow in the execution of the plan of actions which are objectives, strategy, accountability, indicator, and targets as products of institutional discretions which means that these components can be revised or added depending on necessities for the fulfilment of the plan. The objectives refer to the intended outcomes extracted from the main goals linked with sub-goals.

Strategy is the approach on how these objectives will be carried out, accountability refers to the members of the institution such as administrative bodies or staff in charged or any personnel connected to the accomplishment of the objectives. Indicators are the performances done by the staff/members of the organization in achieving the objectives. Targets refer to the frequency, extent or measure of performing the tasks, accomplishments and its period of attainment. It also indicates expected outcomes. A target elucidates the functionality of the strategies employed. The department’s operational plan is a subdivision of the university’s operational plan, so it has to follow the chronological components from where it links. Therefore, it has to contain General University Goal, Specific Department’s Operational Plan sub-goal and Key Performance Indicators together with the components of the action plan on how to acquire.

For example, the tenets targeted to be accomplished as stated in the mother operational plan is on instructions and faculty requirements, this principle will be stipulated in the department’s operational plan similar to what appears below.

(1) X University’s Operational Main Goal: The university strives to provide quality education that will allow graduates for national and International competitiveness through staffing of faculty employees of high qualifications.

(1) Specific Liberal Arts Departments’ Operational Plan sub-goal/specific objectives: To standardized recruitment policies in the college of Liberal Arts by employing college instructors with relevant experience vertically aligned to their specializations and who possess Masters or Doctorate qualifications from internationally recognized public or state universities from around the world.

(1) Key Performance Indicators: Increase population of college instructors with masters and /or doctorate degrees with relevant college teaching experiences alongside with impressive international researches and specialized trainings.

To establish the plan of action, a table consisting of columns for objectives, strategy, accountability, indicator and target must be framed. As an example, the objective will contain: organize and strictly observe the standardized guidelines on the recruitment requirements of teaching personnel in the department. The strategy entails: strict compliance to the recruitment guidelines mandated by the Department of Higher Education in admittance of university teaching personnel. Accountability encompasses: department dean, department head, and dean of academic affairs. For indicators cover: appraisals of the recruitment policies and monitoring teachers’ professional development. The target provides: perform hiring and retention every beginning of the academic year, rendition of faculty’s degree survey once a year, reclassification of teachers’ position per semester, 100% compliance to the recruitment standards set by the Higher Education Department.

As a second example, let’s presume that the second tenets stipulated in the general operational plan goal No. 2 of the institution is on research. An approach to this general goal is illustrated below.

(2) X University’s Operational Goal: The university endeavours to produce teachers with viable researches that contribute to the development of the institutions’ curricula and the recognition of faculty’s academic standing institutionally, nationally and internationally.

(2) Specific Liberal Arts Departments’ Operational Plan sub-goal/specific objectives: To encourage teachers’ research regarding their respective specializations by funding the conduct and publications of researches in institutional, national and international peered journals and award faculty’s scholastic efforts as evidenced by their written works.

(2) Key Performance Indicators: Increase of faculty researches in national and international -peered academic journals. Researches are used in the department, university and are accessed by other institutions nationally and internationally.

Now to establish the plan of action, a table consisting of columns for objectives, strategy, accountability, indicator and target will follow. To exemplify, the objective/s will contain: to produce research’s which are useful in the institutions or in other organizations in national or in international setting. To create an image of faculty vested with thorough knowledge capable of international effectiveness. The strategy entails: fund and encourage the concepts of faculty members for research engagement and assist the publication of researches to institutionally, nationally, internationally peered journals depending on the nature of the researches and award or compensate teachers with published researches. Accountability encompasses: the university president, human resource management, academic affairs and department head. Indicator covers: the approval of proposed research, monitoring of ongoing and accomplished researches in the college of liberal arts and submission of reports on feedback regarding research status to the head of the department. The target provides: yearly completion of accomplished reports to be submitted to staff accountable for evaluation. Reminders of research proposal through issued directives at the beginning of the academic year. 80% submission to the directives of the department heads.

Quality assurance in an educational institution doesn’t surface without the availability of relevant resources and these principles which educational goals are based on are the following tenets: curricular programs, instructions, facilities, academic services for students, faculty researches, publications, management, and community alliance or linkages with local or international private or public organizations. The operational plan stipulates how these tenets are achieved in a specific period of time. The quality assurance status of a general university will be assessed through its individual departments’ accomplishment whose quality assurance’s status have been weighed according to quality assurance standards by accreditation institutions.

Waiting For the Rain – Sheila Gordon – Book Review

Before realizing the significance of the name of the story, I thought more appropriate titles might be My Friend, Frikka or, perhaps, War and Peas. Last Tengo in Jo’burg came to mind but was quickly dismissed because of the nature of the original movie. Then, I saw a metaphorical relationship that equated the rain, relief from the drought, to peaceful coexistence of blacks and whites in South Africa so that education for all could be attained. Just as the rain never came, neither has the much desired defeat of apartheid nor equality of education. Not, yet. The story affected me not so much for the reality of the social problem it depicted as for the many quotes that awakened long-dormant memories of the innocence of youth that is adulterated by the unreasonable hatred that grows from unfounded fear based on illogical premises and perpetuated by uninformed ignorance (to use an appropriate redundancy).

I empathized with both Frikkie and Tengo as they innocently frolicked unmindful of the raging social conflicts that exploded in the urban centers. To one another they were equals in all ways, the different color of their skin having as much affect as either one’s dislike of boiled okra. They were two young boys involved in life for the love of it. My own youth was spent, for two months every year, in total isolation from the destructive power of prejudicial conflict. The camp at Boys’ Harbor in East Hampton was secluded and insulated from the mainstream of social lines of demarcation; there, blacks, whites, Chicanos, Protestants, Catholics, and Jews intermingled with total imperviousness to the differences that otherwise would have had us at each other’s throats for no other reason than the fact that we were different. There, we were all the same. I recalled with Ferrant fondness the relationship I had with a young Hispanic boy with whom I lived within a group at a convent in Sparkhill, New York. We were playing cowboys and Indians. At five years old each, we enjoyed the role playing and changed sides as often as the Spring breezes changed directions. During one of our capturing moments, when the Indian wrestled the cowboy to the ground or the cowboy held the Indian at bay with a sneak attack hammerlock, we fell together to the ground still intertwined inseparably. We were exhausted from the play and rested still caught in the entanglement as if in a lover’s erotic embrace. I was on top and looked into the eyes of Fernando Hernandez with a deep love for another human being because he was alive and happy to be with me as I was with him. I often watch puppies and kittens play with the same disregard for their differences as I did for what made Fernando and me different. The fact that we were both human beings was all that really mattered. I still feel that way, but society, as a whole, doesn’t. That is unfortunate.

The contrast of Frikkie’s negative attitude toward school to Tengo’s thirst for knowledge remained constant. It was pleasant to see that Tengo was able to get the opportunity and took advantage of that occasion to the ultimate of his capability. It was likewise sad to see that Frikkie never saw the light, that Tengo’s enthusiasm was not contagious. That scenario may have seemed too ideal and unrealistic for a story that stresses the real world conflicts rather than story book endings. It was not unbelievable that the army would have done for Frikkie what it did nor was it incredible that the chance meeting of Frikkie and Tengo under those direst of circumstances could have happened. It could and many similar chance meetings with more serious consequences have occurred.

How wonderful it would be if all children of reading age had the same hunger for knowledge that Tengo shows throughout the story until his decision to return to the farm. A world of adventure opened for me like windows to the universe when I discovered how I could vicariously experience the wonders of other countries without ever leaving the ghetto of my birthplace.

Need I say more? This theme of the threat by the educated black was hammered mercilessly by Sannie and the oubaas. I do not, however, believe that this is a universally accepted conviction. Education is the key to eliminating prejudicial hatred. Ignorance is the poker that stokes the fires of racism not just against blacks by whites but any minority by any other group that thinks it is superior.

Consider the following concept.

In the black schools and universities, they’re giving us an inferior education — gutter education. Bantu education is designed to make us better slaves. (page 113)

The truth of this presumption may very well have some basis in Africa, but the aim is not to make better slaves as was intimated. That is the kind of fallacy that perpetuates the hate based on fear ideology. There are poor schools in third world countries that try to do the best with what they have and they coexist with far wealthier institutions. But, it is an economic problem, not a social one. Both schools vie with one another for the dollars of the student base. Those who can afford the more prestigious school with the more motivated teachers and more copious supplies do so. The others suffer with less than the best. The motivation is not suppression. It is part of the way of life, a kind of survival of the fittest.

These lines struck a note that reinforces the idea that in our youthful innocence, when we are green like young saplings, we feel no prejudice other than what we learn from others, particularly those from whom we learn — parents and teachers — and our peers who affect us with their experiences and beliefs and infect us with what poisons were unwittingly slipped into their unsuspecting bodies and minds. I saw the relationship of green with innocence immediately and connected the rain, which makes nature green again, to education, which can make the darkness of ignorance light again.

This Catch-22 goes on even now regarding any conflict that involves two sides each of which wants concessions before concord. For example, one faction won’t give up its guns until peace talks begin while the other side won’t begin talks until the guns are surrendered. These are power struggles that will exist in innumerable forms so long as one group has something the other wants and neither will budge until the other sacrifices something of value — like power, possession, or assets. This is a recurrent theme for which there are countless stories, one for each conflict about man versus man, man against god, or man in conflict with society.

There are passages that remind me that when we feel all is lost and we sink into the unfathomable abyss of despair, we can reach out to someone who can make life seem more worthwhile because of his/her existence. Happiness is sharing even unhappiness with another who is willing to understand, be compassionate, and still remain steadfast and loyal to one another. It was disappointing to see Tengo release his tentative grip on someone he cared for because of the fear of falling into a trap that caught someone else. He had a chance to show integrity and strength. Instead, he succumbed to the fear of failure. Well, we all have our Achilles heels.

Everyone pays for prejudice. It is not inherent. It is learned from those from whom we least expect it. Education is a healing remedy, but by the time education can apply its balm, the cancer had already spread its deadly venom too late to cure the unwilling victim.

Social Efficiency versus Democratic Equality

Larabee describes social efficiency as an educational framework in which the school sees its role as that of preparing the students to become workers. Curriculum responds to society's needs in a pragmatic manner; hence, it is seen as a public good designed to meet collective needs. Society depends on the school to meet its human capital needs in all phases of economic life. In this model, schools must necessarily adapt to existing socioeconomic and social structures. While maintaining the status quo, they realize their full educational, political, and cultural impact.

Society has the responsibility of enhancing productivity in all phases of life. This means that schools must seriously prepare students of all levels, for all levels. However, some very interesting assumptions are taken for granted. It is implicit that all societal positions are not equitable. The objective of social efficiency is not to elevate or demote people socioeconomically, or socially. It is the overall, collective benefit of the public that is being served. Hence, schools are induced to replicate, with unerring accuracy, society's hierarchical form and complete structure. Tasks in the society need to be done by everyone. So it is everybody's place to contribute and do what needs to be done for the public good.

To get this model to work, certain institutions had to be artificially contrived. Tracking, on the basis of perceived abilities and preferences, vocationalism, ability testing, educational standards, and other forms of stratification were all instituted with one aim. They separated students into different groups to fill different societal roles. Many of the roles were based on society's historical perceptions of which groups of people should be performing what tasks, or on actual abilities and talents the students possess. Hence, the question came down to whose children should be educated for what roles in society. People upholding the social efficiency ideology can be perceived as blocking chances for social mobility and political equality.

As said earlier, social efficiency is not designed to alter the status quo of society members. In other words, children of the elite will not be trained to fill societal roles not already consistent with their status. Nor will children of people working in menial positions be expected to be trained for those held by the elite. These would be taught vocational skills for different array of jobs, and would be channeled directly into these jobs. In this sense, education can be seen as a duplication of what already exists. The education is designed to predict working class job roles for working students and to prepare them so precisely as to render all other options impossible. Some would see this as not being unfair since it does not rob those who already have nothing. What specific groups had previously is what they continue to have. Society's needs are met, and things continue to run as they always have.

But not so, some say. Democratic equality must prevail. It must be interpreted to mean equal access to all students for all possible positions. Here as everywhere else, the philosophical framework of educators, parents, the community at large, and the students come into play. Certain questions emerge as important: What responsibility do teachers have toward their students in terms of pushing them towards a type of education that does not coincide with the the student's social background? How motivated should a teacher be to push certain students toward more advanced classes? How inclined should a teacher feel or feel impelled to make available certain types of information that may permanently and favorably alter the student's future? Which students get pushed toward a more vocational education? Which ones get steered toward a more academic program?

The position that principals, guidance staff, the community, etc. take depends on their philosophical stance. If these educators are operating from a social efficiency perspective, they may not very well consider themselves immoral, or unethical for choosing not to inform students of certain channels leading to positions that would enhance their lifestyle. They may feel that as long as they equip the students with the tools to help them fill positions like those held by their parents, they are fulfilling their obligation to their charges.

Joel Spring describes the type of community in which the labor market does not depend on a high level of education. He refers to these communities as inert. The primary consideration of educators with regard to inert communities is to provide the best possible basic education to students to fill just these needs.

Apparently, many schools adopt the social efficiency model for their students of color. This model is also being used in several African American and Hispanic communities which have come to expect that their members will hold only certain types of menial positions, simply because that is what they have always held. Hence, only certain professional expectations are developed and enmeshed within the community. Moreover, the dominant community overtly and covertly expect that members of the subjected community will continue to hold those positions.

Notions about what roles members in these societies will hold are reinforced and maintained by teachers responding to stereotypes about the quality of thinking, work ethic, disposition, etc. of minority students. Teachers can also make deliberate efforts to maintain the status quo of students' potential social positions through their attitudes and behaviors, overt and covert. These behaviors and attitudes reinforce within students self-defeating ideas and help them enliven self fulfilling prophecies.

Defining or understanding concepts such as social efficiency and democratic equality is relatively easy. Being in a position of educator and knowing how to act fairly towards students depends on the educator's embraced philosophy and sense of fairness and responsibility towards all students.

Larabee, D. Public goods, private goods: the American struggle over educational goals. American Educational Research Journal. Spring 1997, vol. 34, No. 1, pp. 39-81

Why Does Freemasonry Support Public Schools?

Each year the California Grand Lodge and its constituent Masonic lodges throughout the state proclaim one month to be “Public Schools Month.” A proclamation is routinely delivered by the sitting Grand Master, read aloud in each constituent lodge during one or more monthly stated meetings. Its purpose has always been to encourage lodges to plan a program publicly supporting Public Schools in a way that reveals for all to see the depth of Freemasonry’s commitment.

Until 2011, each constituent lodge was generally left to decide for itself what to do without the benefit of also embracing a statewide Masonic project in which it could become involved. That effort has been a rather haphazard implementation of a series of different activities by different lodges working independently of each other. The programs ranged from elaborate and energetic interaction with selected Public Schools to nothing at all.

There are many various reasons why certain lodges have done little or nothing. In some lodges the members have not been particularly active outside of lodge ritual or lodge social events. In other lodges the past leadership simply did not provide adequate vision. And in yet other lodges financial resources were inadequate to do much more than struggle to support the bare minimum of activities.

But all of that changed in 2011 for California Masons and their lodges. Grand Master William J. Bray III led the way to implementing a statewide Masonic commitment to the state’s public schools. Although it was his leadership that provided the energy for implementing the programs, the plan came from ordinary Masons who work in the trenches of Freemasonry throughout the state.

The most recent Grand Lodge Strategic Plan is the product of a survey taken by its Executive Committee and staff delivered to each and every member of a constituent lodge. Woven into the fabric of that plan was the overwhelmingly most popular response: Masonry should become a force for profoundly invigorating our Public Schools. Masons up and down the state concluded that it was important to save public education, make it better than ever before, and prove to our communities that Masons believe that a successful system of free public education is essential to the continuation of a free society.

To better understand why such a diverse group of men and women from differing political, religious and cultural backgrounds stand linked arm-in-arm in support of public schools, it is instructive to first learn how and why public schools came to dominate America’s educational system. A great deal of credit for that goes to Horace Mann – the “Father of the Common School Movement” – who also happened to be a Mason. It would be a mistake, however, to conclude that Mann’s dedication to the public school cause was due to his being a Mason. It would also be a mistake to infer that Freemasonry supports Public Schools simply because Horace Mann was a Mason. The truth of the matter is that Masonry embraces values that Mann found appealing enough to be initiated into the Craft. Freemasonry and Mann shared the same reverence for virtue, morality and the advancement of an enlightened public.

Today, Public Schools are the primary source for educating our children from kindergarten through high school. That was not always so, for from the beginning of this country until the present day advancing the cause of Public School education has been strongly opposed by parents with powerful political backing who have steadfastly resisted turning their children over to teachers for their moral education. Even in America’s early years some children were home-schooled. If their parents were wealthy enough others were taught by private tutors. However, soon after the American Revolution was concluded, Thomas Jefferson initiated a nationwide dialogue that gained such tremendous momentum that Public Schools eventually became the norm rather than the exception.

Jefferson argued that a free and independent society would be stronger if all of its citizens received equal access to knowledge – knowledge which each could then apply in their daily lives. At the end of the Revolution the nation found itself without any educational system and the people were left to fend for themselves. To remedy the matter, Jefferson – who at various times argued with equal vigor for small and large government – suggested that tax dollars be used to fund a nationwide educational system. His suggestion was ignored at the time and his idea languished for nearly a century.

By the 1840’s a few Public Schools had popped up around the country financially supported by communities that could afford them. At about this time Horace Mann began his own crusade, picking up where Jefferson had left off. Mann’s life story cannot be told here, but suffice to state that if he had not acted with energetic, single-minded dedication to what he believed was necessary, Massachusetts would not have passed the first compulsory education laws in 1852. New York followed the following year and by 1918 all American children were required to at least attend elementary school. What followed was the nothing less than the successful pursuit of something shared in common by Freemasonry and America’s Founding Fathers: equality.

At the turn of the 20th century schools in the South, as well as many in the north were segregated. In 1896, in a case entitled Plessy v. Ferguson, the United States Supreme Court ruled that segregation was legal – a decision that would be overturned decades later in the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka Kansas. What was at issue in 1954 and decided once and for all time was the ideal that all men are created equal under the eyes of the Supreme Architect of the Universe – at least when it comes to the question of equal access to education. It certainly comes as no surprise that the Chief Justice in 1954 was Earl Warren who, like Horace Mann, was a Mason. From that year forward all Public Schools have been open to children of all ethnic backgrounds.

Between 1896 and 1954, Masons throughout America led the charge for the advancement of enlightenment with its clarion call for the support of Public Schools. It is neither ironic nor wholly surprising that the first time the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, whose see is at Charleston, North Carolina, ventured out into the world of community service was to further the cause of Public Schools. Much gratitude is owed to the Grand Commander at the time, George F. Moore, for his uncompromising leadership in that venture.

Before being elected Grand Commander in 1914 by the Supreme Council, Moore – a prolific writer – auditioned his Masonic position in favor of Public Schools in such publications as The New Age – a predecessor to today’s Scottish Rite Journal. His attempts, made before the onset of World War I, were well received everywhere – including in New York which was prompted by men such as Moore, as well as organizations such as the Scottish Rite to pass it’s compulsory education laws in 1918. In the years after Moore had passed his elected position as Grand Commander on to John Cowles, the Scottish Rite became known throughout America as the great promoter of nationwide literacy through the auspices of Public Schools.

California Masons were no less active in their support of Public Schools. In 1920 Charles A. Adams, Grand Master of Masons in California made Public Schools a Masonic project for the first time. The demands for manpower made upon the populace by World War I led to the flight of thousands of teachers from their classrooms. More important jobs awaited them: combat overseas, attending to farmlands to grow the food necessary to sustain a struggling nation, and manufacturing factories that had to fulfill ever increasing demands for the production and delivery of war materiel. Grand Master Adams witnessed the accompanying fallout with great alarm. Approximately 600 schools were closed throughout California – an extraordinary number for that time.

Although Freemasonry has consistently refrained from engaging in or taking sides in the world of public politics, Grand Master Adams prudently weighed the advantages and disadvantages of doing so on behalf of Public Schools. At its core, Masonry had always inculcated in its members the importance of pursuing knowledge. Its ritual sought to impress upon candidates for Masonic degrees the importance of studying the liberal arts and sciences, such as grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, music, astronomy and geometry. And the very idea about the establishment of Public Schools throughout the nation seemingly originated with our first President – and one of Freemasonry’s most prominent members. In a letter to his Vice President, John Adams, George Washington wrote:

“Wise and judicious modes of education, patronized and supported by communities, will draw together the sons of the rich and the poor, among whom it makes no distinction; it will cultivate natural genius, elevate the soul, excite laudable emulation to excel in knowledge, piety, and benevolence; and finally it will reward its patrons and benefactors by shedding its benign influence on the public mind.”

There was additional Masonic precedence for Grand Master Adams to draw upon before deciding what to do. De Witt Clinton, who served as Grand Master of Masons in New York, as well as Governor of that state, embraced the cause of Public Schools so emphatically that he is known today as the “Father of New York Public Schools.” While serving as Grand Master of Masons in Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin openly endorsed the adoption of Public Schools in that state.

With that history and precedent to support him, Grand Master Adams determined that California Masons should take a public stance in support of strengthening the Public Schools system in this state. He knew that Masonry had a long-standing belief that public education was essential to sustaining a free society. Indeed, Masonic virtues promoted a concept that went far beyond encouraging the mere accumulation of knowledge: equal access to knowledge promotes freedom and strengthens the middle class without which democratic principles fundamental to this Republic will wither away and eventually disappear. On those grounds it was easy for Grand Master Adams on August 30, 1920 to issue the first Masonic Public Schools Week Proclamation.

The history of Masonry’s support of Public Schools did not end there. That support has continued since then in every Masonic jurisdiction, but was perhaps most profoundly demonstrated by the continuing nationwide work by the Scottish Rite. For example, seizing upon the examples set by Grand Commanders Moore and Cowles – that freedom is the most significant blessing any man can enjoy – Brook Hays, a Thirty-Third degree Scottish Rite Mason and Arkansas congressman literally sacrificed his political career for Public Schools.

A lay-preacher and former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Hays also took a stand against many of his Southern Baptist cronies by leading the public charge against Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus who opposed providing public education equally to all races. Owing to Hays’ courage and persistence, President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered the Arkansas National Guard to go into action. By his command they advanced into that state and restored obedience to the new law of the land – Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas – and thereby forever linked all of America and Freemasonry to a commitment to a free public education for all people.

In 1985 when Fred Kleinknecht was elected to serve as Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite, Public Schools were under assault by various religious organizations bent upon wresting control of education from the hands of a secular public. Two Masonic values were under attack: the freedom of religion and the right of all people to a free public education. Kleinknecht was determined to continue the work of his predecessor, Henry Clausen, to keep religion separate from the state – the one and only certain way to prevent the tyranny of theocratic doctrine. Grand Commander Kleinknecht would forever be dogged during his tenure by religious fundamentalists who eventually turned their ire directly against Masonry – an ire that to this day has not entirely abated.

It didn’t help Kleinknecht’s position in the eyes of his persistent detractors that Clausen had previously taken a firm public stance against prayer in Public Schools while serving as Grand Commander. To those fervently pressing for inclusion of prayer in Public Schools, Clausen’s stance was viewed as emblematic of all that is wrong with Masonry. The result has been a continuous and unrelenting effort to discredit the Craft and its members. It is no surprise that the assault by some powerful forces upon Public Schools has also increased and poses a threat to a bedrock of human freedom.

Today our Public Schools are operated at the state level by departments of education, and locally by school districts, as well as publicly elected or appointed officials. By one estimate there are approximately 15,000 such school districts operating throughout the nation. Most are supervised and run by individual counties. Because there is little federal oversight, curricula differs from state to state – a fact that has prompted some to opine that greater coordination or centralization would even out the existing disparities among the states in student performance.

While literacy rates among students at all levels in elementary school are perhaps the most important issue for Masons to focus upon, it is equally important to understand why some outspoken critics of Public Schools blame poor performance upon the system and its teachers, but give little credit to either when students perform well. The maxim “follow the money” is particularly relevant.

First, Public Schools are funded by tax monies paid by taxpaying citizens. No one likes paying taxes and when they are asked to pay more than they have in the past, many people point fingers of blame at supposed inefficiencies within the system.

Property taxes pay for most of the cost of Public Schools. Although some monies flow into the system from parents, private fundraising, as well as federal, state and local governments, it remains those taxes which comprise the lion’s share of funding. In California, a so-called “taxpayer revolt” and well-financed political campaign led to the passage of something referred to as “The People’s Initiative to Limit Property Taxation.” While the benefits and harm of that law can forever be debated, one fact about Public Schools is beyond debate: since the 1960’s when California schools were highly ranked among the nation’s Public Schools, there has been a steady decline since The People’s Initiative was made law. Today the state’s Public School students now rank 48th out of 50 states in many surveys about student achievement.

For Masonry the challenge is not about endorsing or opposing higher taxes, or even to adopt a position in that emotionally-charged debate. Rather, the challenge is to fully comprehend the forces at work for and against Public Schools. Our discussion is not about whether to support Public Schools – it is about how best Masonry can do so. Consequently it is essential for Masons to engage in a dispassionate discussion about Public Schools without getting drawn into the politics that never seem far away. Perhaps the forum our Craft provides, devoid of political ambition, is the best forum within which that discussion can take place.

On April 1, 2011, the California Grand Lodge will “kick-off” its strategic plan to make a profound difference in public education. Celebrations up and down the state will take place at various Public School sites intended to communicate clearly and very publicly that Masonry intends to work for the advancement of Public Schools. It intends to do so because a productive, educated middle class is fundamental to the perpetuation of a free society. Enlightened people will not easily relinquish the freedoms first established by the Founding Fathers.

There is important work remaining to be done by California Masons. A kick-off celebration without something of substance to follow is little more than a show – not an effort to make a profound difference. Public school advisory councils drawing upon the talents and resources of Masons within their geographical boundaries consisting of a mix of age groups to discuss and decide upon ways to implement the Grand Lodge’s strategic plan hold out much promise for success. Masonry is at its best when it coordinates its lodges into a force for good. The advisory councils can be such a force.

Equally important, public school advisory councils provide an opportunity to California Masons that might not otherwise exist: the opportunity to engage members who are searching for something meaningful with which to make a personal commitment. As they progress through the various stages of initiation, from the First to the Third Degree, Masons anticipate learning about how they can be a part of something that changes society – and changes it positively. Our fraternal support of Public Schools offers the Craft a wonderful, perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime chance to put Masons to work to implement Masonic values dedicated to the hope that freedom will always prevail and that the pursuit of knowledge will forever be available to the rich and the poor, the high and the low – to all regardless of station in life.

The Shame of the Nation: A Summary, and Analysis

Jonathan Kosol’s interest for teaching profession and activism was triggered after the killing of three young civil rights activists in Mississippi in June of 1964 while he was working as a grade four public school intern teacher in Boston, Massachusetts. His experience as a teacher in one of Boston’s urban segregated schools gave him an insight to the plight of children of minorities, which motivated him to address the issue of segregation, and inequities that exist in public schools that has continued to plague the nation till the present day.

School Segregation

According to him, he visited approximately 60 schools in 30 districts in 11 different states. Most of his visits were in the South Bronx of New York City, Los Angeles – California, Chicago, Detroit – Michigan, Ohio, Seattle – Washington, Boston – Massachusetts and Milwaukee. In the schools he visited, he observes that the conditions have grown worse for inner-city children in the 15 years since federal courts began dismantling the landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. He notes that the number of white students in urban public schools have increasingly declined with the shifting pattern of white middle class families from urban to suburban communities since the 1960’s (white flight). He talks of the irony of school population in relation to the leaders of integration, which the schools bear their names, like Thurgood Marshal Elementary School in Seattle Washington with 95% minority students. According to him, the overwhelming majority of students in urban public schools in the United States are students of color. In Detroit for example, 95% of students in public school are either black or Hispanic. In Chicago, the figure is 87%, Washington is 94% while New York is 75%. He pointed out the cynicism in the “The small school initiative” like the Center School in Seattle that was perceived as a “tie-breaker” of school segregation that “attracted 83% white and 6% black enrollment when it opened in 2001, in a city where whites are only 40% of high school students district-wide”. (p 277). In comparing the Center School with African/American Academy in another section of the city where black students make up 93% and whites make up 3% of the enrolment, the location of the center school and its curriculum offers many opportunities to students. “The Center school which is sited in a cultural complex known as the Seattle Center, offers an impressive academic program to prepare its graduates for college while also provides a wide array of opportunities for students to participate in science projects, theatrical productions, music, ballet, and other cultural activities”, (p.278) while such opportunities are lacking in the African-American Academy. “The school in a sense represents a local version of ‘your own Liberia ‘… the African American Academy is using a highly directive method of instruction that, in some respects resembles the approach used in Success for All” (p. 279). He argues that after decades of persistent struggle against school segregation by educators and civil right activists, social and economic policies have continued to aid the growing trend of school segregation.

Inequities

Kozol laments the lack of basic resources and amenities in the urban public schools – restrooms, clean classroom, hallways; appropriate laboratory supplies, up-to-date books in good condition and classroom supplies and material. According to him, this lack of resources moves some teachers to spend between $500 -$1000 of their own money every academic year to purchase the supplies and materials in the case of Winton Place elementary school in Ohio. He argues the overcrowding of students in a classroom. For instance in Chicago, it’s not uncommon to see classrooms with as many as 54 students coupled with the fact that most of the teachers are unqualified.

Kozol also points out the issue of lack of pre-school opportunities for a large number of students because the federally funded head start programs were denied them. He also shows the disparity for money spent on a student, and its effect on state testing. In the case of New York State, the average spending on a student in the city is $8,000 while that of the suburb is $18,000. Also in New York, the inequities in expenditure between 2002 and 2003 are: NYC $11,627, Nassau County $22,311, Great Neck $19,705. The salaries of teachers in poor and wealthy school districts follow the same pattern. While the average salary of school teachers in poor communities is $43,00, the salary of teachers in the suburb like Rye, Manhurst and Scarsdale in New York ranges from $74,00 to $81,000. Even the issue of fundraising is a factor in the disparities among schools in poor and wealthy communities. Whereas schools in wealthy neighborhoods could raise up to $200,000, schools in poor districts could only raise $4,000.

Adaptive Strategy Curriculum

Kozol questions the rationale behind the scripted programs that has been adapted into the minority school system. “Authentic Writing”, Active Listening”, “Rubric for Filing”, “Accountable Talk”, “Zero Noise” etc., according to teachers account, they are meant to follow the scripted lesson to bring formality and structure to the learning environment which raises the anxiety levels of both students and teachers. The high standard language and higher expectations with little support, has taken over the moral and ethical values that use to be the integral part of the curriculum. According to Kozol, the “auto -hypnotic slogans” used by most schools has become part of the daily rituals and practices that are fashioned to boost students moral. Students from the under-performing schools are encouraged to memorize phrases like “I am smart”, “I am confident” to raise their self-confidence and academic performance. This according to him has formed the framework used to identifying the causes of the under-achievement of students of color. He argues that teachers are treated as “efficiency technicians” who are encouraged to use “strict Skinnerian controls” to manage and teach students in their classrooms, and whose job it is to pump some “added-value” into undervalued children. (p. 285)

In close semblance to the above is the business-like outlook “work related themes” that is being created in these schools, “market driven classrooms”, “sign contract”, “take ownership of their learning”, “pencil manager”, “classroom manager”, “building managers”, “learning managers” etc. This kind of corporate outlook portrays students as “assets,” “investments,” ‘productive units,” or “team player” according to Kozol. The knowledge and skills, which the students acquire, are seen as “commodities” and “products” to be consumed in the “educational market place.” Kozol argues that educational administration should in no way be equated with factory production line, and advices that “teachers and principals should not permit the beautiful profession they have chosen to be redefined by those who know far less than them about the hearts of children.” (p. 299)

High stake testing

The issue of teaching for testing has replaced the essence of teaching for learning in public schools. According to Kozol, “In some schools, standardized testing begins in the kindergarten. Courses that are not included in the high stake testing are often not taught any more or they are completely removed from their school curriculum, like arts and music. In some schools, naptime and/ or recess has been reduced or taken out completely to allow more time for the preparation of state standardized test. Even teachers meetings are geared towards the discussion of effective strategies to prepare students for quarterly assessment tests or reviewing state and district standards. Teachers are encouraged to attend workshops and conferences in regards to the testing to acquire more knowledge on how to integrate their teachings to the state testing standards.

In the bid of all the educational superficiality imposed on the students, they are also tracked and labeled. Labeling the children from level one (lowest) to level five (highest) places them into categories supposedly for further instructions. Instead of being given adequate attention regarding their labels, it is used as a description of their academic stance. “She’s gone down to level two,” “She’s a level one.” The issue of academic tracking and labeling in these schools poses a huge obstacle in creating equity and democracy in a learning environment. According to Kozol, learning is taught as “a possession” not something one “engages” in. Students are encouraged to select “a career path” during their freshman year, so as to tailor their course work. Nevertheless, there is little encouragement on the career path of college education. For example, the case of Mireya who attends Fremont High in Los Angeles, while she aspires for a college education, she is rather placed into vocational classes – sewing and hairdressing. She tells Kozol “I hoped for something else.” “Why is it that students who do not need what we need get so much more? And we who need it so much more get so much less?” She questioned.

In view of all these structured teaching strategies imposed on the urban public schools by the administrative body, both teachers and students exhibit robotic behaviors in order to achieve the set goals of the planners. Teachers who tend to veer out on these stipulations face disciplinary actions and could possibly lose their jobs. Students who do not adhere to the rules and follow the stipulated pattern face the risk of not passing their tests. Overall, there is loss of creativity and ingenuity in the classroom. Kozol points out that it would rather take a reformation than a miracle to set the schools on the right track again. He argues that desperate schools cannot be turned around by the arrival of a charismatic, tough talking principal. “There are hundreds of principals in our urban schools who are authentic heroes… But there is a difference between recognizing the accomplishments of able school officials and marketing of individuals as saviors of persistently unequal system”.

Ray of Hope

After questioning and critiquing the re-segregation of urban public schools in America, Kozol pointed out a few schools, teachers, principals, administrators and human rights activists he had met in the course of his study that gives hope to the possibility of school integration. According to him, “Virtually all the truly human elements of teacher motivation have been locked out of the market misperceptions that control so much of education policy today. But when we go to the schools in which these market ideologies have been valiantly resisted, we are reminded of a set of satisfactions and devotions that are very different from the ones that dominate the present discourse about urban education.” (p. 297)… “These are the schools I call “the treasured places.” They remind us always of the possible.” (p. 300).

He acknowledges the modifications made in most school districts since after his visits over three years. At PS 65, a new curriculum that focuses on the need of the children had been introduced. The hand-held timers and scripted lesson plans have been taken out, and actual writings of children are displayed in the walls. He also recalls the efforts of some school districts in Milwaukee and Louisville where school leaders have promoted desegregation across district lines.

Kozol sees every hope in teachers and administrators like Louis Bedrock (whom he dedicates this book to), Miss Rosa the retired principal of P.S. 30, Fern Cruz the new principal of P.S 65 and others for their dedication and persistence in fighting for the right course of education for the minority. He also acknowledges the contribution of black activists like Congressman Lewis who have voiced out publicly and written books that expose the persistence of segregation in America.

In his epilogue, he wrote “A segregated education in America is unacceptable”. “Integration is, it still remains, the goal worth fighting for” (p. 316).

The Shame of the Nation: An Analysis

I find this book very revealing, intriguing, insightful, and at the same time one sided and opinionated, but in summation, it is very educative. This book is an outcome of a good ethnographic researcher who not only puts energy in his work but also has passion in the subjects of his work – the students. The empirical analysis of this book rests in the inequality that is salient in the American society. Race, class, culture, gender and economic status which have formed the measuring tape of individuals’ worth in the American society have become the bedrock of the administrative bodies in the formulation of policies. Policies like education, housing, income and property taxes, transportation etc. have been so carefully formulated to include and exclude some members of the society. These policies of course favor the dominant group, which are whites and disfavor the targeted group which is mostly blacks and Hispanic.

It takes a critical mind to understand the game in the policies. Taking for instance the funding of community urban schools from property taxes from the community, one has to first, think of the nature of the properties in such a community, who owns them, what shape, and of what value they are. If the majorities of those properties are individually owned and are of good shape and value, the expectation is that they will yield good tax for the community. On the other hand, when the government owns such properties, little can be realized in property tax in such a community, and that in turn affects the sourcing of the school. This is the game of politics in perpetuating inequality as we have seen in this book.

Who would expect that the administration that tends to speak in favor of equal education has a hand in making it unequal? That the promulgations of “No Child Left Behind” and “Equal Opportunity for All” are only frivolities? Who would imagine that some teachers and education administrators could be so robotic that they question their ingenuity and creativeness in the face of manipulation, except for a revealing book like this? In addition, how can anyone comprehend the damage that has been done by these administrative inconsistencies over the years?

There is an insight into the social, economic, and cultural capital powers of the society in this book. Parents who are more informed, educated, with good jobs and better means have more say in the education of their children than those with little or no education and means. They surf for good schools for their children, organize themselves as the parent bodies of the school, and intervene in matters that are not favorable to their children, for instance, they raise money to employ more teachers and advocate for lesser number of children in a class. They come up with one voice to exclude others from integrating into their children’s schools and sometimes take out their children from a school that are getting more minority enrolment as the case may be. They are less dependent and more challenging to the school administration and government than the parents with fewer capitals. The parents of the minority who have fewer capitals, complain and rely mostly on the school administration and government to make the necessary adjustments in their children’s schools. The system fosters posterity of family status.

In this atmosphere of stratification, while the dominant group acts up to maintain its status, and the targeted, subordinate poor group agitates its position, the children suffer the struggle. A wider gap is created between the rich and the poor. While the children of the dominant group perceive themselves as fortunate, they are less ‘educated’ than the poor children who see it all. They face lesser chances of integrating and facing realities of multiracial society and as such are less likely to accommodate differences in future. On the other hand, the minority poor children get more skeptical and cynical when matters of equity arise. In the case of the little Bronx boy who wrote Kozol, “You have all the things and we don’t have all the things,” and the high school student from California who told his classmate “You’re ghetto, so you sew.” The disparities in their educational experiences raise innumerable questions in their heads, which only the government can comprehend in that while their parents may be ‘guilty’ of not possessing the where-withal, the students are innocent. Kozol’s study goes to predict that going by the present pace in educational strategy in America, inequality will persist; integration will be minimized, and desegregation will not only be a nightmare in schools but would be nipped in the bud in the society in future if they are not addressed now. He goes to say, “This nation needs to be a family, and a family sits down for its dinner at a table, and we all deserve a place together at that table.”

Having enumerated the classical work of Kozol in diagnosing the blatant, ugly passionate inequities in our public urban schools that plagues America today, I need to point out the one-sided, opinionated view of the issue. In a situation as this, no one person can be all right and the other all wrong, there needs to be a balance of ‘a little to right and a little to the left’. In the entire book, Kozol addresses the structural approach to educational inequality that sees the school and government administration as the factor that has perpetuated the problem, little suspicion if any, of the cultural approach to the discourse with parents and students contribution. Though there were a few mentions of all white public schools, there was little emphasis on their interactions, though one might argue that they have all the necessary amenities available for them in comparison to the minority schools that have little amenities.

I call this one sided and opinionated in the sense that the subjects of the matter visa vie poor minority parents and their children, are not addressed as potential input to the problem and as such potential contributory factors to the solution. If in a capitalist society like America where opportunity is laid down for everyone for grabs, the ‘majority’ of the minority group keeps complaining of marginalization of resources, there is a problem somewhere despite imposed limitations. The problem could be in derivation of comfort in dependency or reliability on false sense of security. The core word is value. As regards to the parents, many of them depend on the system and cannot walk their ways out to independence and instill that value of independence in their children. A culture of poverty has evolved among this minority group and they seem very comfortable in such a zone. So who makes the extra money for their children’s comfort?

The children as well due to lack of role models from their parents, do not deem it fit to strive and conquer the inevitable, they embrace violence and they keep on finger pointing like their parents instead of realizing that education not agitation is their only access to high status in the society. I believe that a focus on re-orienting the children of the minority group in exploring educational opportunities no matter the limitations they face would help in getting them back on the right track. On the other hand, if they should be contented, respectful, curtail violence, and love themselves, that would attract more empathy to them from whatever administration that is in place and they can be in their own schools without any white and feel good just the same. Understandably, the structural approach often times shape the cultural, which is unstable based on economic resources that yields self-support and autonomy.

Sex Education: Its Importance and Need in the Society

Sex Education, as the term clearly indicates, refers to education which is based on human sexual behavior. Parents, schools or caretakers offer it in some parts of the world to educate the children, who are stepping into their adolescence. If formally received, sex education is either taught as a full course at high school or junior high school level or in biology, health, home economics classes. Teaching sex education is rather a controversial issue; debates have been going on for several decades discussing if it should be taught formally in schools or not. Sex education in schools should exist without any doubts and apprehensions as it offers many benefits.

Adolescence is called the “age of storm and stress”. The young teenagers, during this phase of life are under deep psychological pressure. Mainly, this psychological pressure is the result of one’s growing sexual needs and the biological changes and hormonal effects on the individuals. During this time, most of the children are observed to become easily irritable. They find it difficult in most situations to deal with the family members. They might not want to talk to them about the natural changes taking place in their body and mind. In such circumstances, one highly suitable option is that of the teachers who are able to teach them to control their urges until a proper age. In schools, trained teachers would help the students to know how to deal with their sexual impulses. This role can not be replaced by parents or other entities. A classroom discussion and lesson would make them feel it is natural, and they would also feel that they are being understood by someone. However, taking them individually to psychologists or other trained educators would not help. In such a situation they might consider themselves to be different and misunderstood by family and people around them. Therefore, it becomes crystal clear that the best way to offer sex education is always in school.

It is a psychological phenomenon that children at young age are under an immense peer pressure. Something that they learn in the class with their peer group is what makes a better impression on their minds than otherwise. They are more focused in the lessons that teachers offer and are more eager asking question to clear their ambiguities. They might feel embarrassed and uneasy questioning their parents about it, but it always differs in case of the teacher in the class. This is because everyone in the class is going through the same stage. A class discussion becomes healthy source of learning as it helps in enhancing the knowledge on the subject.

Many people advocate that sex education should only be restricted to families, that is, that parents should personally educate their children. This view is totally illogical and holds complications and questions. The first point is that not all the parents would be willing to do it or would be able to do it. Secondly, this education needs a proper channel through which it should reach its required learners. There could be many possible problems in the families so they might not be able to take the role of a teacher in educating their children regarding sex. The demand of annulment of sex education from the schools is highly conservative.

Most importantly, there are many single parents, how would they take up this challenge of educating their children on their own? Parents can not properly educate their children about sex also because they lack details that qualified sex educators convey in schools. Thus, the stance of abolishing sex education in school is not a favorable thought. In many observed cases where parents or children are embarrassed about talking over sexual matters with each other, it is most likely to be uneasy situation at both the ends. This keeps the children from learning the answers to the questions they might have in their minds. This can be a great flaw of shifting the duty of sexual education from teachers to the parents. It will leave the children only half or less educated about the issue and as they say “Little knowledge is a dangerous thing”, this might end up in grave situations.

According to research, most of the parents also feel uneasy because they know that they are not equipped to provide the apt sexual information to their children. They also fail to comprehend what details and information should be concealed and what should be revealed, keeping in mind their children’s age. On the other hand, there might also be parents who would feel comfortable talking to their children about sexual matters, but only when the children bring the matter up.

Most parents, around the world, may also lack role models to look up to as they would not have talked over sexual issues with their own parents in their adolescent. This makes them inefficient to trigger their roles of educating their children in an effective way as the assigned teachers are able to do in schools.

Sex education is not limited to only a single branch of knowledge. This education focuses on a number of significant sexual matters that are offered with especially designed courses and programs. Sex education covers the education of relationships, sexual abstinence at a certain level and teaching to practice safe sex to the level of children who are thought to be sexually active. Therefore, its claim for being appropriate and guiding holds strong base.

At a certain age of adolescence, growing children have problems facing relationships and controlling their personal emotions. Conflicts related to such matters persuade many youngsters to commit suicides or take part in other immoral activities. Proper sex education in schools also concentrates in making the youngsters emotionally stronger and in educating ways to cope with relationship problems. This argument strongly shows the immense benefit of sex education in schools.

Sex education is an important health strategy and this cannot be denied. AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases can only be controlled if people are aware of precautions and have a vast knowledge in this case. This knowledge is conveyed through sex education, and if sex education is banned in schools and if parents have to educate their children, then it would not be as beneficial to the individuals and the society on the whole as teaching in school could be.

Sex education does not exist in all parts of the world. Asians are commonly regarded conservative when compared to westerners. It is not a part of their course in schools; this does not in any way mean that their teenage pregnancy rate is any lower if they are not exposed to sexual matters openly. In fact, this is one way how peers can mislead most of the youngsters and persuade them to bask in young age sexual relationships without any attempts for safety. This has resulted in serious problems such as the spread of fatal diseases like AIDS and has also increased rate of illegitimate births.

Researches have shown that the cause for ramification of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) in the eras of 80s and 90s in the US and the UK is the lack of knowledge and information provided about sex in schools or home. Home and family has never and will never play an integral part in conveying sex education to teenagers, therefore to rely on the option of home, is to deceive your own self from the expected exigency in the future.

Some conservative groups assert that to discuss sexual issues openly is to devalue religion. No religion in the world abstain its followers from spreading the information that is so essential for human lives. Sexual behavior is natural and takes place through biological changes and this cannot be questioned as this is a part of human life. Thus people who take refuge under the religious shelter, to make their arguments strong, are misinterpreting religious ideas and laws.

Modern time is the time of internet and powerful media. Teenagers are exposed to Hollywood, TV and internet. These sources offer demonstration of sex which is highly thoughtless and casual; in this situation it is almost illogical to leave the teenagers on their sexual choices. They are young and fully excited; therefore they can not make a favorable choice. Sex education in school offers the information and knowledge they need to understand to know the responsibility that is accompanied by sexual relationships. The teacher in school helps the students to know the difference between a thoughtless and thoughtful sex. Having an urge for sex is not a problem; it is a natural process showing that the young people are developing to become adults; however the problem is having unsafe sex and hurting people through sexual choices.

People who claim that sex education in schools have more cons than pros, often come up with the statements suggesting that sex education in classroom should be avoided because the most effective tool for offering sex education, according to them is TV, films, magazines and media. Such people fail to understand that trained sex educators under especially designed programs teach sex education to children in schools. They are thus able to handle children’s problems and clear their ambiguities in the best possible way, whereas magazines, films, TV and other channels and mediums of providing sex education are be reliable. They are most of the times urging the young people by encouraging their sexual promiscuity rather than effectively teaching and educating them. This wrong approach damages the society and the individuals in disguise of ameliorating them.

People contradicting the notion insist that sex education always makes the learners have sex and experience it personally, once they learn about it in school. The reality is that sexual urge for any human being is a natural occurrence. When children reach to a certain age, whether they find people to educated them about sex or not, they do have natural instincts about it, and therefore if provided a chance they would surely want to satisfy their urge. This natural reaction can not in any way be related to the outcome of sex education in schools. In fact, the best time for letting sex education play its role is when the sexual urge increases and the teenagers want to find a source for its satisfaction. It offers individuals with the required knowledge so that they are careful. It is only then that they understand the consequences of sex leading to child birth as well as sexually transmitted diseases. Thus sex education is basically a warning and a caution for such children who are stepping into the phase of life where they would need to know all this.

Some people who go against the topic also argue that even though sex education exists, it has still not decreased the rate of teenage pregnancies. I would rather not go deep in to the moral issue of the topic, but it is important here to discuss and point out the shortcomings of our society. Social values that insist that being single, pregnant and teenagers is fine, is what has to be changed. Through educating the children and making them aware that it is just not ‘cool’ to be pregnant when single or teenager, and just because ‘others are also doing it’ does not in any way justify their actions, this change can be achieved. There are many sexual education programs that teach the learners about the grave consequences that can result in having early sex. This type of sex education in schools is helpful and makes the learners responsible and mature enough to understand the difference between morality and immorality.

People, who are against the notion, repeatedly state the question that why sex education is given so much importance when there are also many other issues connected with juvenile delinquencies such as drugs, drinking and aggressive bullying. No doubt, there are also many other issues to consider important enough to be taught in school for awareness but psychological researches show that behind most of the juvenile behavioral problems, one main reason is always the active sexual urge which drives the young people to indulge themselves in harmful activities like drug abuse and alcoholism. It is also commonly observed that young teenagers who indulge into such activities are unaware of proper sex education. Once they are given a true picture of sex and its consequences their mental status relaxes and they are easily able to cope with other social taboos.

Parents, who believe that sex education pollutes the minds of their children, have in large number taken their children out of schools promoting sex education. In this process of instilling in their minds their religious and family values, they forget that the media, their children are largely exposed to can also lead them astray. Sex education in schools does not in any way offers them an invitation to have open sex by making them aware of the risks; it just educates them about the matter in the best way.

Apart from educating the students about safe sex, sex education in schools is also helpful as it helps students to learn proper terminology for reproductive system, STDs and birth contraceptives rather than the street lingo that is commonly used by laymen. Sex education classes are gender based and that is why the young learners are not embarrassed and are only taught what is related to their gender. Early inclusion of classes also helps the teenagers to either become abstinent for some time or to become responsible if they are already active. Therefore, many sexual problems that occur in adulthood can be controlled if effective and apt sex education is given at the right time.

A proper sex education which is holistic, nonjudgmental and comprehensive never misleads or misguides the teenagers. Such a curriculum should be imposed in all schools around the nation; it is an answer to many social problems and conflicts. Would any parent leave their kindergarten kids to walk alone on the streets without letting them know how to walk safely? No parent would actually do that, in the same way, letting your teenager children socialize with their peers and fellows without any proper sexual education is nothing contrary to the analogy mentioned above. It is hazardous and risky for their lives. Thus, proper sex education in schools should be encouraged so that they learn all the significant facts through trained teachers, who help and supports them in these matters of highly crucial value. Sex education should be taken as a positive aspect which promises healthier and better life for the youngsters. It therefore should be taken as a subject taught in schools to enhance knowledge on the subject matter; something merely as human anatomy or biology class. Sex education should be given in all schools to educate the children for their betterment, avoiding it will only result in emotional, social and health problems.

Globalization: How It Has Affected Philippine Education And Beyond

Education before the 20th century was once treated as a domestic phenomenon and institutions for learning were once treated as local institutions. Prior to the 20th century, education was usually limited within the confines of a country, exclusively meant for the consumption of its local citizens. Scholars or college students did not have to travel miles away from their countries of origin to study and to gain skills which they needed in order to traverse the paths of their chosen careers. Moreover, national borders served as impenetrable walls in the name of sovereignty. Gaining a college degree and the skills entailed with it were merely for the purpose of staunch nationalistic service to one’s land of origin. Furthermore, knowledge of the valleys and the oceans encircling the world map, as well as foreign languages and international political regimes were not much of an imperative. Intercultural exchange was not massive and sophisticated, if not intricate. Acceptance and understanding of cultural diversity were not pressured upon anyone, as well as the lure to participate in a globally interconnected world. In other words, before the 20th century, scholastic work were predominantly simple and constrained in the local, the domestic, the nearby. They were limited to one’s own village, one’s own region, one’s own country. A student had his own neighborhood as the location where he is to be born, to be educated, and later to be of service to – the local village which is his home, his community, his country.

Nevertheless, the world has been in a constant state of flux. In the 20th century onwards, the phenomenon called globalization rose and became the buzzword. Anything which pertained to the term globalization was attributed to modernization, or anything that is up-to-date, if not better. Part and parcel of this trend is the advent and irresistible force of information technology and information boom through the wonders of the Internet. The idea of cosmopolitanism – a sense of all of humanity, regardless of race, creed, gender, and so on, living in a so-called global village – is another primary indicator of globalization. Moreover, international media as well as trade and investment have been unbridled and have occurred in a transnational nature. Finally, globalization has involved the uncontrollable movement of scholars, laborers, and migrants moving from one location to another in search for better employment and living conditions.

Apparently, globalization seemed to be all-encompassing, affecting all areas of human life, and that includes education. One indicator of this is the emergence of international education as a concept. Internationalization of education is manifested by catchphrases like The Global Schoolhouse, All the world’s a classroom, One big campus that is Europe, Think global. Act local, and Go West. Students from the world over have been ostensibly persuaded to learn about the world and to cope with technological advancements, if not to become a Citizen of the World. Moreover, globalization and international education are at play, for instance, when speaking of Singapore being branded as the Knowledge Capital of Asia, demonstrating the city-state as among the world’s academic powerhouses; De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines entering into agreements and external linkages with several universities in the Asian region like Japan’s Waseda University and Taiwan’s Soochow University for partnership and support; the establishment of branch campuses or satellites in Singapore of American and Australian universities like the University of Chicago and the University of New South Wales, respectively; online degree programs being offered to a housewife who is eager to acquire some education despite her being occupied with her motherly duties; students taking semesters or study-abroad programs; and finally the demand to learn English – the lingua franca of the modern academic and business world – by non-traditional speakers, like the Chinese, the Japanese, and the Korean students exerting efforts to learn the language in order to qualify for a place in English-speaking universities and workplaces. Apparently, all of these promote international education, convincing its prospective consumers that in today’s on-going frenzy of competition, a potent force to boost one’s self-investment is to leave their homes, fly to another country, and take up internationally relevant courses. Indeed, globalization and international education have altogether encouraged students to get to know their world better and to get involved with it more.

Boston College’s Center for International Higher Education director and International Education expert Philip Altbach asserted in his article “Perspectives on International Higher Education” that the elements of globalization in higher education are widespread and multifaceted. Clear indicators of globalization trends in higher education that have cross-national implications are the following:

1. Flows of students across borders;

2. International branch and offshore campuses dotting the landscape, especially in developing and middle-income countries;

3. In American colleges and universities, programs aimed at providing an international perspective and cross-cultural skills are highly popular;

4. Mass higher education;

5. A global marketplace for students, faculty, and highly educated personnel; and

6. The global reach of the new ‘Internet-based’ technologies.

Moreover, European Association of International Education expert S. Caspersen supported that internationalization influences the following areas: Curriculum, language training, studies and training abroad, teaching in foreign languages, receiving foreign students, employing foreign staff and guest teachers, providing teaching materials in foreign languages, and provision of international Ph. D. students. Nevertheless, globalization’s objective of a “one-size-fits-all” culture that would ease international transactions has not seemed to be applicable to all the nations of the world. In the words of Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz, globalization’s effects are dualistic in nature. Globalization itself is neither good nor bad. It has the power to do enormous good. But in much of the world, globalization has not brought comparable benefits. For many, it seems closer to an unmitigated disaster. In Andrew Green’s 2007 book, “Education and Development in a Global Era: Strategies for ‘Successful Globalisation'”, he asserted that optimists would refer to the rise of East Asian tigers – Japan, China, and South Korea – as globalization’s success stories. But these are just a minority of the world’s two hundred nations. A majority has remained in their developing situations, among these is the Philippines.

In terms of international education being observed in the Philippines, universities have incorporated in their mission and vision the values of molding graduates into globally competitive professionals. Furthermore, Philippine universities have undergone internationalization involving the recruitment of foreign academics and students and collaboration with universities overseas. English training has also been intensified, with the language being used as the medium of instruction aside from the prevailing Filipino vernacular. Finally, Philippine higher education, during the onset of the 21st century, has bolstered the offering of nursing and information technology courses because of the demand of foreign countries for these graduates.

In terms of student mobility, although gaining an international training through studying abroad like in the United States is deemed impressive, if not superior, by most Filipinos, the idea of practicality is overriding for most students. Study-abroad endeavors are not popular among the current generation of students. The typical outlook is that it is not practical to study overseas obviously because of the expenses – tuition fees, living costs, accommodation, and airfare. Although financial aid may be available, they are hugely limited. There may be several universities that offer merit or academic scholarships, talent scholarships, athletic scholarships, teaching assistantships, research assistantships, full or partial tuition fee waivers, but actually there is certainly not a lot of student money. Apparently, international education is understood as a global issue, a global commodity, and above all, a privilege – and therefore, it is not for everyone. Hence, studying in America is a mere option for those who can afford to pay the expenses entailed in studying abroad.

The Philippines is a Third World country which is heavily influenced by developed nations like the United States. Globalization may have affected it positively in some ways, but a huge chunk of its effects has been leaning to the detriment of the Filipinos. Globalization has primarily affected not only the country’s education system but even beyond it – economically and socially. These include brain drain, declining quality in education because of profiteering, labor surplus, vulnerability of its workers overseas, and declining family values.

For one, the Philippines is a migrant-worker country. This phenomenon of sending its laborers (also known as Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs) abroad to work and to send money back home has been intensified by globalization. Brain drain – or the exodus of talented and skilled citizens of a country transferring to usually developed nations for better employment and living conditions – is one problem that has been stepped up by globalization. The Philippine foreign policy of labor diplomacy began in the 1970s when rising oil prices caused a boom in contract migrant labor in the Middle East. The government of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, saw an opportunity to export young men left unemployed by the stagnant economy and established a system to regulate and encourage labor outflows. This scenario has led Filipinos to study courses like nursing which would secure them employment overseas rather than in their home country. For more than 25 years, export of temporary labor like nurses, engineers, information technology practitioners, caregivers, entertainers, domestic helpers, factory workers, construction workers, and sailors were sent overseas to be employed. In return, the Philippine economy has benefited through the monetary remittances sent by these OFWs. In the last quarter of 2010, the Philippine economy gained roughly $18.76 billion in remittances which largely came from OFWs based in the United States, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Italy, Germany, and Norway.

Second, the demand for overseas employment by these Filipino professionals has affected the quality of the local education system in the form of fly-by-night, substandard schools which were only aimed at profiteering. A Filipino legislator, Edgardo Angara, once aired his concern over the spread of many schools which offer courses believed to be demanded in foreign countries and the declining quality education. Angara observed that the Philippines has too much access to education versus quality education. For instance, for every five kilometers in this country, there is a nursing school, a computer school, a care-giving school, and a cosmetic school. Angara suggested that lawmakers and educators should find a happy formula for quality education.

Third, labor surplus is another dire effect of globalization. In 2008, the phenomenon of brain drain started to subside in the Philippines. This period was when the United States started to experience a financial turmoil which was contagious, distressing countries around the world which are dependent to its economy. In the Philippines, it has been surmised that the demand for nurses has already died down because the need for them has already been filled. For instance, the United States has decided that instead of outsourcing foreign nurses, they have resorted to employing local hires to mitigate its local problem of rising unemployment. As a result, this incident has receded the phenomenon of a majority of Filipino college students taking up nursing. And the unfortunate result is the labor surplus of nursing graduates. This dilemma which has been caused by a Third World country such as the Philippines trying to cope with globalization’s feature of labor outflows has left Filipinos on a double whammy. Over 287,000 nursing graduates are currently either jobless or employed in jobs other than nursing. Nursing graduates nowadays suffer job mismatch, taking on jobs which are different from their field of specialization like working for call centers, serving as English tutors, if not remaining unemployed because the Philippine hospitals have little to no vacancies at all which are supposed to be occupied by the large number of nursing graduates. Furthermore, these professionals are accepted by hospitals or clinics as volunteers with little to no monetary benefits, or as trainees who are burdened with the policy of forcibly paying the hospitals for their training.

Fourth, a dilemma that globalization has burdened the Philippines is the vulnerability of its overseas workers. For instance, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, and Taiwan, have had no choice but to lay off and repatriate their Filipino guest workers in light of the global financial crisis. Furthermore, the threat of Saudization is a present concern in the Philippines nowadays. Presently, around 1.4 million OFWs in Saudi Arabia are in danger of losing their jobs because the Arab nation is implementing a Saudization program which will prioritize their Arab citizens for employment. To date, with more than 1.5 million OFWs, Saudi Arabia is the country which has the greatest concentration of OFWs. It is the largest hirer of Filipino Workers and has the largest Filipino population in the Middle East. As Saudi Arabia hosts a majority of OFWs, the problem of these Filipino workers losing their jobs and returning to their homeland where employment opportunities are scarce is a national threat. Furthermore, the current national instability in countries like Syria and Libya has threatened the lives of the OFWs, who still have chosen to stay in their foreign workplaces because of economic reasons which they find weightier vis-à-vis their safety.

Finally, globalization has resulted to social costs which involve challenges to Filipino families. Possessing close family ties, Filipino families sacrifice and allocate significant amounts of financial resources in order to support their kin. Filipino parents have the belief that through education, their children are guaranteed with promising futures and achieving decent lives. Thus, given the limited employment opportunities in the Philippines which are unable to support the needs of the family, one or both parents leave to work outside the country. As a result, Filipino children, although their educational goals and well-being are sustained, would have to survive with one or both parents away from them. They would then have to deal with living with an extended family member such as aunts, uncles or grandparents who are left to take care of them. This has deprived Filipino children of parental support and guidance as they are separated from the primary members of their family.

In reality, even though Filipino families have experienced the monetary benefits of a family member uprooting himself from the country to work overseas, this trend has not been enjoyed by the majority of Filipinos. The poorest of the poor cannot afford to leave and work overseas. Also, with volatile market forces, the value of the US dollar which is used as the currency of OFW salaries vacillating, rising gas prices and toll fees in highways, and the continued surge in the cost of living in the Philippines, in general, globalization has precluded long-term economic growth for the country, with the masses suffering a great deal. Moreover, with human capital and technological know-how important to growth, the Philippines suffered with globalization by losing its professionals to the developed countries which, on the other hand, experienced “brain gain”.

Indeed, globalization has both positive and negative effects, but in the Philippine case, it is more on the negative. It is justified to say that globalization is an “uneven process” and that most least developing countries did not grow significantly in light of globalization. Those which predominantly benefited are the affluent and powerful countries of the Western world and East Asia.

The Philippines was once considered as the “knowledge capital of Asia”, particularly during the 1960s and the 1970s. Its system of higher education was marked by high standards comparable to its neighboring countries, much lower tuition fees, and the predominant use of English as the medium of instruction. The Philippines, consequently, was able to entice students from its neighboring nations, like the Chinese, the Thais, and the Koreans. However, presently, this once upbeat picture has now been replaced by a bleak one because of several problems which has long confronted the system like budget mismanagement, poor quality, and job mismatch, thereby seriously affecting its consumers and end products – the Filipino students. Making matters worse is globalization affecting the graduates of Philippine universities by luring them to choose to work overseas because of the greater monetary benefits vis-à-vis the disadvantage of leaving their families home and not serving their countrymen. Now that the world is undergoing financial turmoil, the Filipino workers would then have to cope with these dire effects of globalization.

Apparently, the Philippines has remained stagnant, as opposed to the goals of increasing equality, rapid economic growth through integration into the global market, and the wide distribution of social improvements in less developed countries. These fruits of globalization, unfortunately, did not trickle down a great deal to the Philippines. Hence, although overseas employment has been a legitimate option for the local workers, it is high time that the Philippine government encourage colleges and universities to provide programs that are relevant to the nature of this substantially agricultural country like agriculture-related courses as these would play a significant role in setting the Philippine economy in motion towards development. The population boom in this country, which is commonly reckoned as among the country’s predicaments as the surging number of Filipinos is indirectly proportional to the employment opportunities available, should be taken advantage of by encouraging the surplus of people to develop employment and improve the rural farmlands. Affluent Filipino families who own large conglomerates should also participate in creating more employment opportunities and encouraging dignified labor conditions so as to mitigate the dismal trend of labor migration. Moreover, instead of adopting policies imposed by powerful Western countries like the United States and going with the flow, the Philippine government should work in reinforcing the welfare of its citizens more than anything else. (Sheena Ricarte, August 31, 2011).