Hubs was giving his family a crash course on computer use (because they just bought a new one, and will be getting a dsl connection soon) when we realized that his 11-year old brother didn't know how to use his thumb drive properly. The thumb drive became the school's requirement to replace floppy disks and where their assignments were going to be saved. BIL swears that they weren't taught to use it properly, I guess their teachers just assumed that they all knew how to use it (same way that they assumed that every kid in their school has a ready internet connection for research work). That was stupid. But the fact that the thumb drive contained no files (yet) but alerted the PC's virus scanner meant that the terminals in their school was a breeding ground for viruses.

Of course, with so many students using these terminals... what can one expect? But surely, for the thousands of pesos you pay such schools, it's actually logical for you to assume that their terminals are protected enough and attended to by really competent staff.

Maybe I'm just nitpicking.

But such is the sad state of the education system here in the country. The really good teachers are all working abroad, where they get properly compensated for the work they do. Tuition fees continue to skyrocket. Parents work longer hours just to put their kids in schools of good reputation, wanting to assure that they'd get into the better colleges, and later on, hopefully guaranteeing employment. Schools offer a more and more complex curriculum and parents are being led to believe that everything a child needs to succeed in life will be taught there. Meanwhile, they will also pay for tutors and summer school...

But it's been the consistent observation these past few years that we're churning out kids who haven't really mastered anything. Even their English profficiency is objectionable. And am not even talking of kids educated in public schools just yet.

And then there are the non-traditional schools cropping up, promising alternative ways of educating your child. Not only do they promise a smaller teacher-student ratio, they also make Calculus fun. But the price you'd have to pay will definitely cost you. If La Salle Zobel charges around P70k per year during the elementary grades, a year of prep in Eton would cost P120k. That's not yet counting the child's allowance and baon, the fees for tutors and field trips and uniforms and other expenses for the entire school year.

And just how involved do these schools get in terms of your child's welfare? I've had friends working as school counselors in the more prestigious ones over in QC who quit their jobs because they couldn't stand the priests and nuns running those schools who turn a blind eye on the abuse happening in their students' homes. I guess, if you're the violent parent, you really wouldn't appreciate the school telling you off... but what if it was your other child or your family driver abusing your child? Wouldn't you want to know?

Oh, and don't get me started on how a lot of parents are on a race: whose child is more genius?

Do kids even have entire afternoons where they can just stare at skies and talk make-believe?

I don't doubt that kids may be smarter today... but are their lives better? Are they happier? Are they healthier? Do they have more meaningful relationships?

We always say we want to give the best for our kids... and I know there can't be ONE THING that is best for everyone. But still, I think 'best' should be qualified further.

I'd love to have really smart kids... but I hope, not at the expense of their childhood and humanity. And not at the expense of my sanity, wehehehe.


Meanwhile, the results are in for the New Seven Wonders of the World. I didn't like it one bit that the Great Pyramids of Giza went off the list.


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