Saving private schools
Education is one of the most essential needs that cannot be placed at the backburner even in times of pandemic—always at the forefront, in season and out of season. Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs may not mention it verbatim, but it pervades rather strongly in all human need for self-actualization, esteem and all the rest down the line.
Thus, it escapes beyond normal comprehension why political power will give more attention to the peripheral such as the enactment of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 or over-use its brains in justifying, no matter how capricious, the non-renewal of the franchise of ABS-CBN, while watching sans qualms a good number of private schools at the brink of closing up and leaving thousands of school children tightening the noose around fewer options. Unless, of course, its overarching agenda is to perpetuate power or to save it from early symptoms of disintegration. For sure, power that discourages critical thinking—and even kill dissent—will abhor the fundamental pillars of learning.
The chairman of the Church’s Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education, Bishop Roberto Mallari, has called on government’s intervention in the sad “survival” plight of private schools. “It’s important to know that even private schools need help from the government for their survival. I pray that we, especially the present government, recognize the role of private schools in nation building,” so said the bishop.
According to a recent survey of the Coordinating Council of Private Education Association of the Philippines (COCOPEA), around 400 private schools are on the verge of ceasing operations. It indicated that some 370,000 private school teachers went on “no work no pay” status, or have taken pay cuts since the inception of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Of course, the incumbent power will not heed the call for the government to rescue those dying private schools. After 4 years or so, the observant already knows how this present dispensation has handled competently or otherwise pressing issues of consequence to the masses and the common good while, on the other hand, it regards with determination those in the radar of favored oligarchy.