Grading the Performance of the Academe
What makes the role of the academe in nation building very crucial? The academe is the vehicle for the delivery of education. The schools drive the machinery of learning and teaching and the quality of education people receive from them determines whether a nation would march to greatness or sink to the abyss of insignificance.
Our distinguished members of the board of judges, esteemed members of the academe, my fellow orators, beloved parents and friends, would anyone of you argue against the point I just made?
Whenever we appraise our performance as a nation and come out with a failing mark we would conveniently put the blame on the government. When we hear that poverty is becoming more prevalent, that more and more Filipinos could hardly meet both ends, that lucky if they would have a meal in a day, who do we blame… GOVERNMENT. When the peace talks in Mindanao failed and the Moro armed conflict rekindled we also faulted the government. For the immorality, criminality and anything abhorrent and disagreeable that would happen in our midst we point our accusing fingers so expediently to the direction of Malacañang.
We are forgetting something. A nation is as good as its citizens. What the Philippines is now is what we Filipinos made it to be and how we made it to be reflects the kind of education we received from the academe.
Our performance as a nation mirrors the performance of our schools. It tells us about the quality of the work our educators have been doing. It makes us see clearly the kind of transformation the academe made on their students.
I dare ask – What kind of graduates came out of the schools? I’m sure you would say – knowledgeable and skillful. What about their attitudes and values?
Are they the kind of people who would buy into John F. Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”
Argue if you may but the truth is we have a kind of citizenry who thinks that it is the sole responsibility of the government to make all conditions favorable for them. They fail to understand that nation building is a collective responsibility of all the people and their leaders – that social and economic conditions will become better only if both the citizens and the government work hand-in-hand.
The funny thing is when people blame the government for incompetence they forget that they are ones who wrote the names of these leaders in the ballots during elections. These are the leaders who probably bought their votes for how much – P500 or P1000?
I risk being censured here but I need to be upfront. I need to tell you that most of us here would blame just about anyone for our inability to succeed in life. We blame the government… we blame other people… we blame the weather … we blame the traffic. We don’t take personal responsibility for our failures. We don’t work hard enough. We want success to be given to us in a silver platter.
That is the kind of citizenry that emerged from the academe, the citizenry that our educators moulded, the citizenry that brought this nation into where it is now – in the quicksand of economic and socio-political uncertainties. Yes, for the misfortunes besetting this nation, blame not the government… blame not anyone… take responsibility… blame the one you see when facing a mirror.
For your defense you may say , “Why blame me, why not the academe who transformed me into what I am now?”
Well, that’s how we Filipinos are, always finding someone else to blame. But that question is one nice point to ponder on, not by me but by the educators who are present now.
Mesdames and sirs of BULPRISA, you who have been addressed as esteemed educators, please ask yourselves this question – “How well have you performed your duties as educators?
Time to reflect.