February 16, 2015
I can hear the revolution happening.
Five steps away from the gate of a school located in Camp 8 Baguio City- today I realized one thing: Education is, indeed, more than just a system for learning. There came a myriad thought with every stride I had taken. I had just been brought in a moment when simple actions were put into significance, where a clearer view of the education’s meaning was developed. Literacy Training Service as part of the National Training Service Program in UP Baguio is a course which I shall pass but it’s leading me further. I observed.
School is a cradle for diversity. It is a place wherein people of different appearances, ages, races, attitudes, interests, beliefs, and customs are merged for a purpose. Think of the students who are raised from different places, through different traditions, of different families- while they are called as “classmates” inside the four corners of a room. Think of the teachers who are extending their horizons in spite of their personal contexts. Think of the institution itself as a foundation of the conventional knowledge gained in a variety of ways.
It was a bright Monday morning. The vehicles were roaming around the city. The vendors surrounding the school began to arrange their goods. The younger ones were accompanied by their guardians while the older ones were guarded by the man whose long-sleeves shirt had been printed with the capital letters of “security”. The bell rang before the utterly confused crowd had fallen in line. The volume of the noise softened as the teachers stared. Everyone got ready for the flag ceremony. Whenever there would be loudening of unnecessary sounds such as chattering of voices, the Principal had to interrupt the ongoing ceremony, as the noise was restrained, to keep its decency.
The day had just started yet it seemed that things must be in control. Discipline, obedience, responsibility, patience, and industry might be the proper terms to describe what it takes to go to school and push through studying. Sports, academics, and practical applications to real life situations are being taught here. Is this education? Considering the techniques used by the teachers to implement their lessons and assessments of what was learned; would these things matter as a complete representation of education’s definition? I wondered.
“The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.” (Hutchins, 1899-1977) According to this educational philosopher, education’s main goal is to let the youth learn the things that could guide them within a lifetime. Thus, education includes not just the subjects namely English, Math, Science, Civics, Music, and more; but it also consists of the knowledge which can be directly used in dealing with the conditions of life in reality. For those elementary students I had encountered around the campus, I knew that their class schedule had been composed of rigorous discourses. For them, those were the longest hours of their day occurring at least five times a week. As time would pass by, I do believe, these young people could carry on heavier tasks as part of the learning process.
As a theologian would say, “the great end of education is to discipline rather than to furnish the mind; to train it to the use of its own powers rather than to fill it with the accumulation of others.” (Edwards, 1809-1894) This is another quote suggesting that education is not a process wherein a person can be supplied with wisdom which is merely coming from one or two mentor(s)/instructor(s). It is a way of living as it is part of a person’s life. It is not only through school that a person learns. It is not only through the formal standards of “knowing” that a person gets educated. Therefore, education is never a confinement.
Pedagogy of the Oppressed, as one of a myriad point of reference to consider, is a ground-breaking form of discussion about how the mainstream definition of education can create dogmatism in the social order. For this, social awareness is a must. “Education as the practice of freedom – as opposed to education as the practice of domination – denies that man is abstract, isolated, independent, and unattached to the world; it also denies that the world exists as a reality apart from men.” (Freire, 1968) The relevance of this quote to my recent experiences of teaching and being taught is the fact that education must focus on providing the people the opportunities to cultivate their own capabilities. In order for them to survive in this society, students who are willing to learn shall be free from the eyes of prejudice and injustice.
I am quite impressed with the dimension that I am able to see this time. It is noticeably wider and deeper in perspective. Having experienced both worlds of being a teacher of graduating students in elementary and being a student of a premiere university have granted me the eyes of integrity: Education is worth struggling for. As long as there are teachers who are virtuous to their jobs and as long as there are students who are enthusiastic to their studies, education cannot easily falter. While there is a generation who yearns for the sweetness of defeat and the spice of fulfillment (how it tastes like to aim for knowledge and beat one’s old unproductive self), education will remain accessible- be it inside or outside a formal institution.
Meanwhile, I still couldn’t forget the smiles of those children. They stayed as the human that they were yet I could feel that a part of them had been changing. A piece of their character stepped up to the next level. They might not perceive the whole transformation but it just wouldn’t keep them hanging forever.
Education can never be concealed. Numerical values may indicate how much progress the students have made. Perhaps the true measurement of improvement is not identified merely through quizzes, chapter tests, and periodical exams. Being educated is more than being able to submit the requirements on time, perform the assigned activities, and have a perfect attendance. It is not just the school that an educated human being shall go to because education imposes no boundaries. Real education does not limit a person’s capacity. It is always self-transcending.
Revolution, in its basic sense, is: a fundamental change, a movement, an extreme start– as phrases cited from Merriam-Webster Dictionary. How does this term relate to education?
Education changes the lives of the people. It serves as a catalyst to innovate our society. It can be regarded as form of revolution because just like the heroes of our country who started a revolution to protect our nation, education saves our people. It saves us from ignorance and irrationality. Similar to those warriors who are not daunted to take risks in the battleground, education continues to struggle not just for the survival of the human intellect but for the rest of the aspects possibly existing in the universe as well.
I can hear the revolution happening. Can you hear it, too?