High quality and mass-oriented education, not fascism

This article is available in Pilipino

The classes have opened last week. But the deplorable situation of students, teachers and schools remain while Dep-Ed, under the helm of Sara Duterte, is in a frenzy asking for a bigger budget for fascism and corruption. Duterte proposed the P150 million confidential and intelligence funds for Dep-Ed because she believes that education and national security are connected although this department has no constitutional mandate of surveillance and intelligence.

Duterte’s militaristic logic means heightened suppression and attacks against teachers, students and the whole academe as well as the tighter integration of fascism in the curriculum. In Bikol, teachers who are members of Alliance of Concerned Teachers in Catanduanes and Masbate have been repeatedly red-tagged, threatened and intimidated. In some cases, the military arrange meetings within their headquarters and coerce the teachers to surrender as NPA members. In other parts of the country, cases of illegal arrests of teachers and professors and continuing attacks and forced closure of Lumad schools have been occurring.

While Duterte and Dep-Ed feverishly militarize schools, the national learning crisis worsens. Millions of children are unable to set foot in schools or forced to leave because of problems such as their families’ incapacity to support the demands of a commercialized educational system, extreme poverty forcing them to child labor as well as military presence and occupation of schools, daycare centers and other academic facilities within barrios in the countryside. These children who have no access to education are the most vulnerable to suffer from intergenerational disenfranchisement and denied opportunities because of their lack of skills and knowledge.

There is still a big deficit in classrooms, teachers and even teaching materials. Around 150,000 classrooms are lacking in schools across the country. In Bikol, 17 schools are still used as evacuation centers after more than 20,000 Albayano were forced to vacate their residences due to Mayon volcano’s eruption. Teachers’ salaries also remain paltry while budget cuts beset state universities and colleges.

It is only right and just for teachers, students and their parents to denounce this current regime’s perverted focus on fascism instead of delivering quality education. A nationalist, scientific and mass-oriented education for all is a fundamental right critical in shaping the future of the Filipino youth.

High quality and mass-oriented education, not fascism