By By Joseph Oco
More schools is not the answer!
posted 9-Jan-2010  ·  
4,892 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

My good friend, Fernan Gianan (who is also editor of this paper), said it right a few issues ago when he voiced out his concern on the increasing number of tech-vocational schools being approved by TESDA.

I totally agree with Fernan. In fact, I wish to go further in elaborating Fernan's deep concern for the plight of the country during this global recession.

With economic crisis brought about by this recession, government ought to put a cap and a stop at this time in approving more schools in Catanduanes. Let me share some reasons for this:

1) The ratio of Catanduanes population to the number of schools in Catanduanes must be closely studied and taken into account.

Considering the low population of Catanduanes, and at the rate schools are mushrooming in the country today, there may come a time when there will be a school in every street corner in Virac. Is this good for the economy and the country? No it is not. Why? Because schools will be producing more graduates than the country can produce jobs for them. At the current trend, there are already millions of graduates that cannot find jobs. So why should government worsen the current situation by adding more schools? This does not make sense.

Even in the United States, a top capitalist economy nation in the world, there are caps among schools, hospitals, airlines and other service-oriented institutions. Anybody can put up a school; but not all schools can find jobs for its graduates. Thus the government has to step in and apply the basic economic concept of supply and demand.

2) Instead of adding more schools in Catanduanes, government should help the existing and already-established schools, by providing them grants and other government incentives.

The nation does not need more graduates; it needs more quality graduates who can land jobs; and it also needs more jobs for its graduates to land on. The government should help the existing schools, not those fly-by-night wannabes that have not even established anything yet.

3) Putting more schools in a small area will only deny the people the excellent service and product they need.

Under such situation, schools will instead be in a cut-throat competition with each other that resources are spread out and wasted, and ultimately opportunities for improvement are reduced.

If supply (of schools) is high, the demand is low. In the end, each school will suffer because each one will not have enough students to sustain its profitability or survival. The small number of students in a small area is spread out that no school will be able to benefit from the situation. Business will be bad; and when business is bad, the country suffers. And when the country suffers, the future is bleak. Then the bad cycle continues. In the end, we keep on asking why people are suffering.

4) More job openings, not more schools, is the answer.

Government should be able to bring its mission the people to the next level. What's the point of having plenty of graduates when there are no employment opportunities for these graduates? Government must help open up opportunities for jobs. Nothing is achieved if graduates cannot get jobs. But before these jobs can be created, the existing schools must be assisted every way possible to be able to help create jobs. And the way to this is to nurture these existing schools instead of nurturing new schools.

5) Grants and government incentives to established schools are necessary to assure that those schools that can deliver should also be recognized and assisted by government.

6) During times of recession and economic crisis, government must be sensitive to the economic theory of supply and demand.

To increase the number of schools in Catanduanes at this time of recession and economic crisis is like putting a rope for existing schools to hang themselves. It should be noted that resources will be spread out when supply of schools is high. With a low population as Catanduanes, the demand of students will be low once the supply of schools gets high. Besides, in times of recession, money is tight. So how would one expect to have each school survive the economic crisis facing the world today when enrollment is low as a result of money tightening caused by recession? Few students are enrolling because money is tight. And at this time of recession, is it sensible to increase the number of schools in such a low population as Catanduanes?

7) Be wary of fly-by-night schools out to scheme the public and sabotage government's mission.

With the recession, it will be difficult for new schools to get all the equipment, materials and tools required by government --unless these equipment, materials and tools were borrowed, inoperative, intended only for display, or had blindsided government inspectors to get approval. Once approved, these schools would not be able to provide the quality education that it is supposed to provide to its students. Thus the cycle continues: incompetent graduates produced at an increasing level while employment opportunities are very low.

8) It will not be beneficial for government to pursue a policy of producing more graduates without taking into account the unemployment profile of the nation.

Ever school that crops up is equivalent to hundreds of graduates produced on a five-year trend. But the question remains: Will there be enough jobs available for these graduates? Or are we just contributing to the diploma mill conspiracy that the country is facing today?

Government should pursue a policy of helping the existing and already-established schools improve their facilities and instructional programs by way of grants and incentives. Government should utilize its resources and time to nurture these already established schools and continue supporting them, and at the same time providing opportunities for their graduates to get employed.

This is the answer to the recession the world is facing today. This is also the answer to the true mission of CHED and TESDA to the Filipino people.

We don't need more schools at this time. We need CHED and TESDA to partner with existing schools in making sure that every graduate can be productive and fulfilled in his or her pursuit of happiness and good life.

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