Time to Get Dirty

23 04 2013

imagesLast April 22 we’ve attended a graduation ceremony held at the Philippine Embassy here in Bangkok Thailand. It was for the Filipino home schooled or those who are studying in schools that are based here in Thailand. This graduation was held for the purposes of acknowledging those students who passed the ALS-A&E test that was conducted last year. The certificates that these students receive will be there “TICKET” for them to get accepted in any Colleges or Universities of their choice way back in the Philippines. Thus, those who live here in Thailand will not worry anymore if ever their kids will go back home to the Philippines whether they’ll be admitted in a University since they were not able to finish their studies there. The said certificate is enough to be a proof that they are qualified to enter college of Secondary back in the Philippines. Indeed, such program is a great help for those OFW’s who are working here and brought their families with them as well. This way, even if their children are not enrolled or admitted in any Philippine Schools as long as they will be able to pass the ALS-A&E Test they will have the same privilege and opportunity to pursue their studies back in the Philippines.

One of the interesting points that the Phil. Consul made during her speech was when she stated the difference between a Thai and Filipino Student. I thought she was going to praise the abilities of our students here on Thailand to easily adapt the learning environment but my thought just drifted like a wind when she later on said that, after graduation Filipino students thinks of getting employed right away. While Thais even before graduating they are already preparing themselves to own a Business (that would be not all of them actually). However, such observation is true  because I remember my wife relaying to me an incident during her class when she asked one of her students why they are not interested in learning not only the English language but in finishing their studies. The students just retorted without batting an eyelash that they’ll just have their own business after graduating and siting an example”they can either have a Noodle stand or a Somtam stand” as their business. Indeed, it is easy for them to have a business even if they haven’t finished any course just as long as they were able to complete their secondary school.

There are many factors why it is easy for them to own a business even at their young age, first as the Consul has mentioned they’ve been taught at their early age on how to be a business minded individual. They teach and practice it in school, I saw that with my own eyes since my three children have had the chance to study in a  Thai school for 3 years. They have projects in the form of food or ointments or handicrafts, and they are taught of selling it outside during their yearly school programs and exhibits.

Secondly, if you have watched a Thai success film entitled “THE BILLIONAIRE”, which is actually the story of the owner of one of the most famous Seaweed snack here in Thailand  you’ll see that he wasn’t really interested in his studies but pursued different types of ventures until he finally found his Gem and that would be the famous Tao-Kae-Noi  seaweed snack. One of the biggest factor that helped him succeed on his business was the support from the government through a bank that caters SMEs (SMALL, MEDIUM ENTREPRENEURS . First Question…Does our government have that same kind of support to our SMEs back in the Philippines?  Second Question, does our school in the Philippines still teach and encourage students to learn basic and vocational skills in Elementary and High School? or are they still being bombarded with the kind of thinking that WHITE COLLAR JOB is better than those bone-cracking and dirty jobs in the street?

When I was in HS during my time, we  used to have what we call as elective. From 1st year down to the second year we rotate from different vocational and technical subject it was only during our third and fourth year that we have to choose one major Technical or vocational skill. You see, during those times, we already learn several skills while we were still in our HS. Thus, whether we choose to pursue or not to pursue College, a student is still  armed with the skill she/he was able to pick during High School. Do we still have that same program today? Or we have just neglected it that is why most of our HS graduates nowadays doesn’t know any basic skills aside from marrying early or become a total BUM after HS.

Indeed, there’s a huge difference between Thais and Filipino students today, most Filipino students would want to pursue glamorous or famous courses even if some of their parents couldn’t afford to send them to school.  In my own opinion, Filipino students have focused themselves on what kind of career they’re going to take forgetting that the most important part of learning in all aspect starts from Primary and secondary because it is there that the foundation is built.

Indeed, as the Phil. Consul has said, it is high time that Filipino students will start aiming of not being employed after graduating but aim as an Employer instead and help provide jobs for Filipinos who may not have the opportunity to study further. But again, the government  should do something about it and impose Vocational and basic skills literacy during Primary and Secondary. It is only then that these students will be able to stand firmly on their own without any hesitation because they are confident and sure that no matter what the future brings, they always has a BACK-UP plan.

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