I think the additional two years of education is okay – IF THEY OVERHAUL THE ENTIRE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM IN THE PROCESS. Why debate quantity over quality if we can have both quantity AND quality? =)
Random thoughts on things that need to be corrected:
– educational curriculum. Teach in English the technical subjects (Science, Math, and of course English), and teach in Filipino the humanities subjects (History, Arts, Social Studies, Filipino). It should not be an either-or thing, we are in a country that is bilingual.
Also, less focus on memorizing facts, more focus on developing thinking and learning skills and disciplines.
On a more nationalistic note, our History subjects need vast improvement. I hope we’re not still teaching the “3 waves of migration” theory of how Filipinos came to inhabit these islands, because that theory is flat out wrong, and has been disproven for years. More importantly, we should be teaching our youth that prior to the Spanish occupation, we had all of the indicators for a CIVILIZATION, akin to the ancient Mayans or Incas (only less barbaric), and that we were not just some random, scattered group of warring tribes. This is FACT supported by empirical evidence – just look at the rice terraces and reflect on how much engineering knowledge and social cooperation is required to build those with only rudimentary tools. We should stop this silly notion that Europe and America brought “civilization” to these islands; if anything they ruined our existing cultures, damaged us as a society, and permanently stunted our growth as a civilization.
Our History subjects should nevertheless include overviews of European and American history, for the simple reason that it is those influences that survive with us today and that are in use (Democratic Republic, anyone?). If we don’t know where these systems came from and how they evolved before they were brought here, then we will never understand how they SHOULD work and how we can improve them.
Social Studies, in as early as grade school, should include basic lessons about the Constitution and about laws that are most relevant to Filipino youth. The earlier they have an appreciation of the law, I believe, the less likely they are to ignore it.
English should have more Filipino-written English literature in its curriculum. Even in private schools, most of the literature used are foreign texts. We have so many amazing writers who could write circles around the best of the world, yet we are not even aware of them because our school don’t give them any emphasis.
Absolutely agree that primary and secondary schools should have technical courses. Going a bit further, I think those technical courses should, at some point, be of a high level of technical skill as opposed to, say, making rattan trays or bamboo parols. Electronics, welding, basic/intermediate computer programming, homemaking, advanced cooking, intricate craftsmaking, even motor maintenance, etc., for BOTH genders. If we’re serious about giving people skills to find work after high school, then we have to be serious about the types of technical courses we will offer them at that level.
It goes without saying that the pedagogy needs to be overhauled also. Teachers must engage their students with open, guided discussions, and should also let the students appreciate what they are learning and why they are learning it.
Quantity and quality aren’t mutually exclusive options. If we can push for both, then I don’t see why not.