Jake Crisologo | The Philopino
With the implementation of K-12 across the country, the nature of tertiary education will, or better yet, must undergo a serious revamping if we still want kids to go to college. From curriculums to facilities; teaching methods to teachers, a rethinking and re-imagining of how things are done is needed to ultimately bring and maintain quality education in our changing times.
Implemented or not, K-12 is a debate.
I like the idea of K-12. The theory behind it is sound because it strengthens basic education and it can open opportunities to many Filipinos without having to have a bachelor’s degree in, well, anything. We empower a labor force that we should have already empowered; with our human capital as a valuable and I daresay, an excessive, resource we haven’t really taken advantage of.
How could we, when most of us aren’t qualified to do anything?
Personally, K-12’s strengthening of basic education means that we’re finally not overestimating the relevance of tertiary education to people’s lives, which is good. It probably makes me sound like a hypocrite because I am in college and I love it.
But the reality is that most Filipinos don’t have the means to go to college; or at least, not yet. We are not at the stage where the largest possible portion of our population has the economic means to finance university tuition and the cost of living in the places where the universities are. The disparity between the rich and the poor, and even with the middle class, is still too big to make tertiary education a universal possibility in the Philippines. And we can’t go on blaming the government forever, either.
Though education is a state responsibility, we can’t leap into wealth just because we want to. We’re taking the crucial baby steps that will make us more capable in the future. That is if things, like the K-12, go as well as they are planned. But talking about this plan, how well made is it anyway?
According to Sir Reil Cruz of AIT, the K-12 program will include a tourism curriculum as part of skills training. That’s the idea behind K-12 in the first place, isn’t it? We develop skilled workers who are qualified to work here and abroad. Looking through the program’s website, it also aims to strengthen the big three in basic education: math, the sciences and language.
The inclusion of tourism courses in the program is good because it actually operationalizes the government’s acknowledgment of tourism as a viable economic driver. Come on, we need the attention.
In the Serious Talks Series held last November 22 in the Asian Institute of Tourism, being qualified for tourism employment after the K-12 Senior Year got a number of criticisms from the AIT students.
Some say that it disincentivizes students in pursuing a bachelor’s degree in tourism. Some say that the sort of tourism education that they’ll have in the K-12 curriculum will further the stereotype that tourism is all about skills and little management. The running joke is that AIT won’t even have freshmen enrollees come 2017. But that’s alright, there are always shiftees and transferees.
Call it a matter of pride if you must, but I believe that being a skilled worker wouldn’t necessarily make you a great manager. We obviously need a lot of skilled workers to maintain the industry, but we need managers who know how to adapt and innovate through its dynamism.
Though, time and again, entrepreneurial studies have shown that you can’t learn everything about business and management – that it’s an “intellectual onion without a core” – the non-formulaic nature of business should not foster simple indifference and “charging it to experience” when you fail. Instead, its non-formulaic nature should make study and theory a more vigilant effort so we’re not screwed at the end of the day.
Experience is important, but having the proper sensibility in becoming a manager is even more important so most of this experience isn’t bad. That’s why business degrees actually make sense. They make us learn from the experiences of others, so that we can form the foundation of ours.
Like what Dean Mena said in the same talk: it shouldn’t even be Theory vs. Practice, because neither can survive long without the other. My own take in the issue is that K-12 should be empowered to be able to diversify to the needs and ambitions of the youth. Tourism should not be seen as a skill series where at the end of it you can call yourself a manager when you’re not; the danger in that being imminent in the industry’s diverse set of stakeholders and resources. Another thing that bothers me is the corporations’ perspective on the K-12. Ultimately, they’ll be the ones hiring and looking through our CVs. In the long run, we’ll all be looking for work.
Unless you’re that elitist woman enslaving the tortured soul Facundo.