THE VIEW FROM RIZAL
Most schools will begin their face-to-face classes next week.
As our children head back to the classroom, this may be a good time to reflect once again on the question, “what is the purpose of education?” Simply put, why do Filipinos send their children to school?
Why does the State appropriate the biggest portion of the national budget to education?
Having been in local government service for nearly two decades, we came to know what is perhaps the number one reason why Filipino parents send their children to school: For them to be gainfully employed.
To many Filipinos, education is all about the ability to land a job – a high-paying one, if possible.
In other words, education is a tool for, first, survival; and second, for prosperity.
This is perhaps the reason why Filipino parents nearly always decide or influence what course their children will enroll in when they get to college.
Dr. Nancy Talavera-Pascual, president of the University of Rizal System, did an intensive study on the factors affecting the preference of high school students as to what their preferred careers would be. This study by Dr. Pascual is one of the most-quoted research works in international academic circles.
In that extensive study, Dr. Pascual revealed that one of the most important influences in a high school student’s choice is the occupation of his or her father, she wrote:
“The reason why father’s occupation served as a factor of students’ preference of course could be since fathers are typically the bread winner of the family, thus, provides the financial needs of the family. Since students’ first consideration in choosing a course is the availability of job after college, the observed stability of the family’s financial source which may pertain to the father’s occupation is considered by the students in choosing a course.”
In other words, a child would enroll in a course that would enable him or her to land a job similar to the father because, “if my father made money in this job, I may be able to do the same.”
Dr. Pascual pointed out, however, that the other strong basis for a child’s choice would be the idea of which college course would help them land the most popular jobs.
“The students’ first consideration in choosing a course in college is the availability of possible work,” Dr. Pascual wrote.
We cannot fault young people for using these as the primary bases for choosing the course they will take in college or the career path they would embark on. Dr. Pascual’s research, however, cautions against this.
“The problem with using this factor as an option in choosing a course is that students may have a tendency to choose a misfit course on their ability. In the long run, student will find it difficult to find a job with his/her course, chosen out of the motivation that there are lots of workforce needed in that specific course, which are seasonal and gradually decreases when there are too much graduates produced in the so-called in-demand courses.
The possible course chosen that is not fitted to the students may also lead to their inability to qualify to the competencies needed by companies. This is because their ability is not suited with the course they have taken, thus will not unleash their maximum potentials.”
Dr. Pascual’s findings are consistent with the so-called “structural unemployment.”
Experts say “structural unemployment” happens when there are “shift in the demand among industries. Usually, workers possess skills for jobs that were previously in high demand. When the shift in demand happens, supply for jobs that were previously in high demand overtake the demand for such jobs.”
Dr. Pascual explains the correlation:
“The possible course chosen that is not fitted to the students may also lead to their inability to qualify to the competencies needed by companies. This is because their ability is not suited with course they have taken, thus will not unleash their maximum potentials.
What happens then? Many people become unemployed until and unless demand for their skills return.
Dr. Pascual recommends an alternative approach to the usual way of choosing a college course and a career. She says a successful career can be achieved “if the student takes the right course suited to his or her personality, ability and intellect.”
“Experiencing the career suited to students by integrating career plan with the curriculum help students make good decisions in what course to take in college,” she adds.
This would require strong collaboration among school administrators, guidance counselors and parents so that students can come up with better career plans for themselves, she underscored.
We agree. After all, education is and has always been a collaborative effort.
For feedback, please email it to [email protected] or send it to Block 6 Lot 10 Sta. Barbara 1 cor. Bradley St., Mission Hills Subd., Brgy. San Roque, Antipolo City, Rizal.