Recall that when schools re-opened last week there was that televised tiff between President Arroyo and Acting Deped Sec. Fe Hidalgo over the shortage of school buildings and classrooms in the public school system. As to WHY there is a shortage of classrooms, the reason is self-evident in the pie chart at left, which shows how the 2006 DepEd budget is divvied up. There is a class room shortage because Deped spent only P2B in 2004, P1B in 2005, and for 2006, is allocating only 1 billion pesos out of its P120 billion pesos budget for the School Building Program. Instead, it will spend P101 Biilion or about 90% of its budget on ITSELF -- on salaries for the largest single group of government employees in the biggest Govt Owned and Controlled Corporation. This simple fact has been right in front of our noses all this time and is probably why most of us do not see it. The single biggest piece of the Deped budget pie is that 101 billion peso Pac-Man shaped portion that is assigned to "Personal Services"--the salaries of nearly half a million government employees (not all of whom actually classroom teachers, since many are administrators, bureaucrats and every variety of staff there is, and most of whom have guaranteed lifetime jobs as civil servants and Comelec casuals during election time). The percentage of the education budget which goes to salaries is way above regional averages and the level of capital and operating expenses is conversely below what is generally considered healthy. But it is inconceivable that the administration -- any administration-- would ever do anything to anger that half-million strong government employee lobby. Most people who comment on the financial woes of the education sector pay too little attention to something called the Basic Education Curriculum of the public school system, thinking it is a purely academic catalog of no relation to a thing as "real-world" as the national budget. Actually, it IS the Basic Education Curriculum that largely dictates HOW the 101 billion peso budget allocation for Salaries will be spent. A little known fact is that the five subjects do NOT get an equal share of the budget and the exact split depends on the Basic Education Curriculum time specifications.
Too many people have also been convinced that there is also a perennial shortage in teachers. Like education, most are persuaded that there can never be enough teachers. But it depends on the kind of teachers you need, not just how "good" they are. And how many of them you need actually depends on how many subjects you have specified in the curriculum. The budget is driven by the curriculum. I wouldn't mind spending most of the budget on math, science and languiage teachers, but as you can see from the pie chart nearby, most of it goes under a patriotic label, though that can be deceptive too!
I assert that a dispassionate analysis and critique of the BEC can lead to the identification of at least 10 billion pesos that ought to be reallocated to investing in classrooms, computers, textbooks and other physical facilities and materials to build schools in a serious and purposeful manner. Not just to use them as aging vats and livelihood programs.
CRITIQUE OF THE BASIC EDUCATION CURRICULUM
A typical school year consists of about 40 weeks or 200 school days. The budgetary importance of the Basic Education Curriculum cannot be overemphasized, because it is the curriculum that specifies exactly how much classroom time must be devoted to each of the five subjects, and therefore how many teachers of each kind are needed. Typical scheduling may be found here.
Officially speaking, the curriculum prescribed by Deped for the over 20 million grade school and high school students in the basic education sector contains only five subjects:
(1) Filipino (PDF file is 28 pages long.)
(2) English (PDF file is 26 pages long.)
(3) Math (PDF file is 22 pages long.)
(4) Science (PDF file is 19 pages long.)
(5) Makabayan (PDF file is 102 pages long.)
Nice and compact right? After all, the global international educational community has been urging all countries to adopt streamlined curricula that focus on the very basics of "reading, writing and 'rithmetic." But the above listing is deceptively streamlined in this regard because of the subject called "Makabayan," which takes the lion share of the time allocations within the Curriculum. Here is the Bureau of Secondary Education Primer which easily reveals that Makabayan is a "super-subject" with "asignaturas" or component subjects within it.
* English: 1 hour daily 1.5 unit credits
* Mathematics: 1 hour daily 1.5 unit credits
* Science: 1 hour 20 min daily, 2 unit credits
o Araling Panlipunan (Social Studies): 40 minutes daily, 1 unit credit
o Technology & Livelihood Education: 1 hour 4x a week, 1.2 unit credits
o Edukasyon sa Pagpapahalaga (Values Education): 1 hour, once a week (Years 1-3), 0.3 unit credit; 1 hour twice a week
o Music, Arts, Physical Education, Health (MAPEH): 1 hour 4 times a week (Years 1-3), 1.2 unit credits; 1 hour, 5 times a week (+ CAT in Year IV), 1.5 unit credits
The teaching of these five learning areas is what will eat up P101 billion in government checks this year: cold hard cash from the government. And they say we can only spare P1 billion for school buildings, classrooms, computers and textbooks?
It is pretty obvious from all of this that Deped is not about education but about employment for Deped and the Comelec. At least, that is how it has turned out in the reality of budgets and real money spent by the government.
Of course, Makabayan itself did not start out that way. Here is a testimonial on Makabayan by someone who claims to have conceived of it, Prof. Isagani R. Cruz, writing for the Philippine Star in 2005 on Makabayan.
Finally, Makabayan is the heart of the BEC. The curriculum exists for only one purpose – to prepare students to become adults. Although every adult has to know a language to communicate with others in the community (Filipino) and elsewhere (English), has to understand how the world works (Science), and has to manage finances (Math), an educated adult needs to become responsible for the community, the nation, and the whole world (Makabayan). The four tool subjects train, but Makabayan educates students.Really? Or prevents the building of classrooms and the investment in computers and textbooks by creating a thoroughly congested curriculum based on the fallacies and illusions of "Values Education:"
- PELC - KapayapaanIn reality Makabayan is turning out to be an expensive govt program to promote Religion (but without God), and morals based on political correctness, in whose service, English, Filipino, Math and Science are mere tools.
- PELC - Paggalang
- PELC - Pagmamahal 1
- PELC - Pagmamahal (Disiplina)
- PELC - Pagmamalasakit sa Kapwa
- PELC - Pananampalataya
- PELC - Pinagkukunang Yaman (Pagtitipid)
- PELC - Katotohanan
- PELC - Pangkabuhayan
- PELC - Kalusugan
- PELC - Saloobin
Flagrant Violation of the Non Establishment Clause in the Basic Education Curriculum
The Mercenaries Are Going! The Mercenaries Are Going!
Newspaper Malaya is having an awful hard time getting people excited over their "expose" that Filipinos are working in Iraq as security guards and good-golly-gasp mercenaries for those evil Coalition invaders. Why do these stupid OFWs have to grasp at knife blades just to survive...when there is so much mercenary work right here at home...in politics, in education, in media. Maybe they're not so stupid and they realize working in Iraq is less dangerous than working in the Philippines. Friend and fellow blogger Ellen Tordesillas is at the center of some of this...I don't know Ellen, you might just be helping Blackwater's campaign out with so much publicity...Desperate men will take desperate measures to save kith and kin, that they would not take to save themselves. Kapit sa patalim! Remember the OFW's wager? This was publicized right after GMA abandoned Iraq and made it illegal to work there, by fiat, and explained by Filipino OFWs waiting to get into Iraq: If he goes and lives, then his family lives too. If he goes and dies, then at least insurance will take care of his family. If he stays, then they all die.
"Not even the Dutch can get me out of the Netherlands" Although this PDI article refers to Joma sticking his tongue out at the Philippine Government, I actually heard him tell an exasperated PIA HONTIVEROS on ANC News Chat how the "European Convention" prevents even the Dutch from getting him out of the Netherlands (some legal gobbledygook he's been hiding behind for years). Well that serves the Dutch right for years of heedlessly indulging the crafty head of what the US and the European Union have five times in a row since 2001 called a FOREIGN TERRORIST ORGANIZATION. I hope Jo Ma really is a Dutch citizen now -- let the Netherlands choke on him! But Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales was being quite the ecdysiast a lil later with Pia Hontiveros, as he hinted that the Dutch may finally be coming to their senses about this very dangerous murderer and communist provocateur. He hints the Dutch may expel him. He really should move to North Korea or Cuba, which he is always praising. It was uncanny how precisely he counted the number of recent killings for Pia Hontiveros: 687, just before he launched off on some tirade regarding the "broad united front" which he is triumphantly leading to inevitable victory. Sheesh! Okay okay already. The East is Red and Red is the East okay? But what's really coming to light is that many, -- if not most -- of the killings of Leftists and political activists may be part of a Left-on-Left purge that has been going on ever since the Movement split into pro-Joma "reaffirmists" and the anti-Joma "rejectionists." Two of the latter were assassinated by Joma and his See-pee-pee-en-pee-ay adjuvants here in the Archipelago, murders they publicly owned up to in order perhaps to put fear into the rejectionist ranks. Too many bloggers and media commentators have fallen into the trap of suggesting all these murders are being conducted by the government or the military.
"I love you honey...just going off to hijack a plane and blow up the US Capitol, ok?" PDI's Rina Jimenez David reviews the documentary on United Flight 93 on Sept. 11:
Though we all know how it ends, the movie still manages to draw us in and engage our emotions, and lets us see the humanity. Yes, including the four al-Qaeda members, especially the leader of the cell who is shown calling up someone on his cell phone just before boarding and telling that person “I love you.”Rina is talking about the fourth jetliner hijacked on 9/11, but foiled in a possible attack on the White House or the Congress by hostaged passengers who decided to rush the cockpit and the Al Qaeda hijackers, crashing the plane into a Pennsylvania woodlands before it could get to its intended target. Cellphones play a major role in the sequence of real events.
Although Rina praises the director, Peter Greengrass, for using largely unknown actors, she also declares that "Greengrass makes no ideological or, indeed, even emotional points."
Well, maybe he left all that for you, Rina. As for the heroes of United Flight 93, I don't think they would like anyone creating a moral equivalence between their supreme sacrifice and that of Al Qaeda's annihilists.
One last thing, I don't remember the documentary identifying who the hijacker calls and says "I love you" to. Heck maybe it was OBL. Do you know, Rina?
The Manila Bulletin's ADRIAN CRISTOBAL on ANARCHY:
The Manila Standard Today newspaper's website still runs this Be A Nasty Eye Candy Model advert on its front page -- complete with some of Julie Yap Daza's patented broadsheet cheesecake and animated, fornicating words and phrases! Haven't seen a printed copy in ages, but they probably still have that LifeStyle section with a daily full page picture of Pilipina pulchritude, scantily clad, if at all, and creatively uhmm, laid out.
What you have here is confusion, at least. Is it the deed or the language that’s anarchic? The blasts were meant to alarm but not alarming. They were the work of the opposition but not "the" opposition. Since they were not meant to kill anyone, the little destruction inflicted on buildings and mansions could only be called by fastidious linguists of vandalism. Some might even think of them as pranks.
It seems that one way to end "terror" and "anarchy" is a government for communication, an authority that will prescribe simple rules of language so that people will have a clear idea of what official "communicators" are talking about.
SCARY THOUGHT FOR THE DAY It is entirely possible that the MERCENARY story being pumped by newspaper Malaya and several others is FALSE. If so, they are needlessly endangering the lives of Filipino OFWs in the Middle East and other Muslim countries. Evidence is this pickup of the story by Al Jazeera! Hasn't this just increased the probability of Filipinos being kidnapped? Yet there is no real proof that the original Malaya "expose" is even true. This is a naughty stunt that could get some Filipinos into big trouble.