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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Education and Students: A Change of Perspective by Borj Borja


      There were few like me out there who have questioned whether, or not education has changed its goal. I am referring to Education becoming a commodity while students becoming resources of some big companies out there. What we know, and how much we know determines, mostly where we will go in next stage of our life. One area in which we can quickly do damage to our schools reputation is the question of the degree to which we will treat education especially students as a product that is not different from the raw materials and manufactured goods we export. The damage has already been done, the perception of education as a product that arose with globalization has led to a situation in the Philippines where some Private and State colleges and university education today is worth less reliant on one's field of study than vocational levels or a high school diploma back then. This unfortunate reality is that in the era of globalization and a technology based economy, education and students is indeed a commodity.
        Gone are the days were students are free to choose what course they want which will hone their God given talent instead choose which course belongs to hot pandesal courses. We cannot blame them; hence the change of perception in choosing a course is caused by economic problems in the country not to mention the problem within the countries educational curriculum.
     This perception of education as a product has worked very well in fact, to change education into a commodity. Unfortunately, this has only worked to increase the contest to get into schools where the education is considered to be worth the student's or their parent's money, and to increased costs to cover the cost of promoting or least to say marketing one's school in the education market. Critics says some private schools are charging excessive fees, in the range of above what middle-class family can afford to pay, to make up for insufficient government support. As the recent news on TV about tuition fee increase indicated that many private schools charge high tuition fees to students in order to increase the salary of their employees and enhance the educational services but not to mention covering the costs of marketing their schools.
    Filipinos have a deep regard for education, which they view as a primary path for upward social and economic mobility so investing in education pays off just as investing in a market, provided that you are willing to invest more and have the patience to wait and watch the value as it grow, before one receives a payoff. Attending a better school can land you a job in a big company with a better income. In other words, a certified level of education is a need, something that is helpful and can be turned to profitable gain. The reality that schools are institutions imbued with social meaning does not disagree with the reality that schooling is also a product that can be bought and sold, one whose supply responds to cost and demand and other rules of economics.
     Education in the era of globalization is a product and as such, it is labeled, branded, marketed and sold to eager young consumers, concerned to give themselves with the best education that money can purchase, figuring that the more exclusive one's education is, the more payoffs the investment will have in the end. Unfortunately, the value of an education is subjective and in many cases, the investment never pays off well. 
     Education is much like a precious metal. Although it does not take physical form, it can be bought sold and traded for monetary value. This view of education as a product has widened to include primary and secondary schools as well as institutes of higher learning. This has also had a negative effect on the market because the number of graduates far outweighs the availability of employment in a given field. One of the most serious problems in the Philippines today concerned the large number of students who completed college but then could not find a job appropriate with their educational skills. If properly utilized, these trained workers could assist economic development, but when left idle or forced to take jobs below their qualifications, this group could be a major source of dissatisfaction. The commercialization education has also created rising costs at many top-notch secondary schools and universities, as they need additional funding to cover the costs of promoting their schools. The increasing costs and competition of achieving an education is an issue that young people and their parents will continue to face today and in the future. One simple fact remains in that our educational systems must work to guarantee that the quality of the education that they offer does not weaken.

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