My Right, Your Right, Our Right: Education for All

Education is a right.

However, for many, this may not feel like it. I am lucky I was born to a family that afforded me a good education, but not everybody is as lucky as me. But this does not mean they don’t deserve an education right?

In the radio this past week (I listen to AM stations most of the time whenever I am heading to school), I heard countless tales of the sad plight of education in our country. I heard how some very deserving students suddenly found themselves stripped of honors they should have received if not only for the fact that their parents could not afford to settle tuition dues. I heard stories of how some were not able to attend their graduation rites because of the fees being charged for it.

Yes, education is a right..or is it really?

Presently, quality education seems to no longer be accessible for all. While I may understand why education in a private institution can cost quite a lot, I also know that things can be done in the national level to help control these costs, especially for national universities. However, the money that should be going to quality education ends up in pockets that do not deserve them. It’s a shame that the government cannot allocate the budget that education sector deserves.  Sometimes it feels like only the private sector or citizens like our CNN Hero Efren Penaflorida and his team make clear strides towards making quality education accessible to all.

Just because education is a right, though, it doesn’t mean that you have to be ungrateful, irrational or violent about not receiving this right fully. While I fully understand where the students from PUP were coming from this past week when it came to their rallying and fighting for the education they deserve, I was disheartened by news of the violent protest that ensued. It saddened me that they felt they had to resort to burning the school equipment to prove their point. I have taken part in my fair share of protests and demonstrations but I still believe that violence will not solve anything. At the end of the day, I feel that instead of making a positive impact to the situation, it became an even more complicated one because now there are less resources available for the students.

As a teacher, I personally feel how education is not given the credit it definitely deserves. I will not deny that comparatively, the institution I work for pays me well. However, if I compare this to other countries or other types of industries, its not much. Sometimes, it makes me really think about why I still teach in the Philippines. Whenever I see Facebook updates about my fellow graduates from FLCD who are teaching in the US, I think about finally taking the plunge and making a good living for myself there. However, I still stay. Why? Because I still believe the Filipinos need teachers to stay.

As we approach the 2010 National Elections, campaign promises are being made left and right, and education is in the thick of it. I hope that finally, the next government can finally allocate a decent budget that will allow our millions of Filipinos to claim their right to education.

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