“Saan Napunta ang Pera ni Juan?” at Iba Pang Economic Misunderstanding ng Karamihan

Sabi sa video na ito

Ang pera raw ni Juan ay napupunta either sa assets or sa liabilities. Ang mayayaman raw ay ginagastos ang pera nila sa assets (yung mga bagay na kumikita ng pera), samantalang ang mga mahihirap daw ay puro liabilities (yung mga bagay na gumagawa pa ng gastos) ang binibili.

Sabi ko sa sarili ko, napaka simplistic ng argumentong eto. Napakadaling humatak ng mga di masyadong nag-a-analyze.  Saan mo ilalagay ang mga necessities (tulad ng tubig, at pagkain)? Papaano kung ang sahod ng isang tao ay sapat lang sa pagkain at tubig? (napaka tragic, pero ang totoo mas marami pa ang kulang pa nga ang sahod para sa pagkain man lamang) Tapos babanatan lang ng gumawa ng video na ito at sasabihing “kasalanan ng mahihirap kung bakit sila mahirap dahil finacially illiterate sila.” Ni hindi man lang kinonsidera ang iba’t-ibang dahilang kung bakit pwedeng naging mahirap ang isang tao.

Isa sa pinaka tumatak sa isip ko tungkol sa isyu ng kahirapan ang katagang ito na sinabi sa akin ng kaibigan ko.

“Ang tanging naghihiwalay sayo at sa pulubing dinadaanan mo sa kalye ay kung saang puke kayo lumabas.”

Para akong lasing na binuhusan ng malamig na tubig sa mga sinabi nyang yon. Totoo kaya? Sabi ko sa sarili ko. Ipagpalagay na nating ang naging magulang ko ay palaboy at lumaki ako sa kalye, ano kaya ang mangyayari sa akin?

Una, dahil salat sa pagkain, malamang ang utak ko ay di ganito kasigla. Malamang retarded ako. Naturally, kung retarded ako, napakaliit ng chances ko na umasenso sa buhay. Patay! Sa simula pa lang, limitado na agad ang mga options ko. Either lalaki akong bobo or mejo bobo.

Pangalawa, sakali mang palarin, at malampasan ko ang samu’t-saring sakit na dadapo sakin, problema ko pa rin ang edukasyon. Dahil mas importante ang mabuhay kesa mag-aral, magtatrabaho ako kesa pumasok sa paaralan. Punyeta. Retarded na nga dahil di nabigyan ng nutrisyon ang munti kong utak, tapos wala pang pinag-aralan.

Pangatlo, dahil sa kalye ako nabubuhay, sa kalye ko rin makukuha ang edukasyon ko. Kung anong aral ang naglilipana sa kalye, yung ang makukuha ko. Di malayong mangyari na wala pa ako sa edad na trese, snatcher na ako.

Sabi nga nila, “The instinct to survive is a primal instinct of man. It brings the best in us, but also the worst in us.”

Napakaraming guru dyan na kung sino-sinong self-made millionaires ang tinuturo at ginagawang ehemplo upang sabihin sa ating “kaya mahirap ang mahirap ay dahil tamad sila.” Ni hindi nila kinokonsidera na sila ang exception, hindi ang rule. Statistical anomaly. Hindi sila ang pruweba ng katamaran ng mahihirap. Sila ang pruweba na sa isa sa isang milyon, may isang mapalad na malalampasan ang kahirapan. Kalokohang sabihing lahat ng yaman ng isang milyonaryo ay dahil lamang sa sikap at tyaga. Kailangan din ng konting swerte. Swerte, na kahit mahirap sya ay di sya dinapuan ng matinding sakit. Swerte na hindi sya napalibutan ng masasamang impluwensya. Swerte na lumago ang negosyo nya at di inabot ng malas.

Sa bawat self-made millionaire na maituturo mo, may isang milyon akong maituturo sayo na mas masipag pa at mas matyaga sa kanya. Ano bang pinagkaiba nila? Si mamang magtataho, araw-araw gumigising ng maaga para maglako; si aleng manlalako, uminit man o umaraw nasa lansangan para magtinda; ang mga magsasaka na magkanda-kuba sa pagtatanim – mga tamad ba sila?

So nasaan ang linya na naghihiwalay sa mga mayayaman at mahirap? Kung ang tanging mag-aangat sa tao sa kahirapan ay kasipagan, bakit marami pa rin ang mahirap kahit masipag sila?

Work smarter, not harder. Sabi nila. Sabi sa video: invest.

Putang ina. Lahat catch-22. Paano ka nga magtatrabaho ng “smarter” eh kung bobo (or ignorante). Eh di mag-aral! Eh paano ka nga mag-aaral kung sa murang edad pa lang eh nagtatrabaho ka na? Papano ka mag-i-invest eh perang nakuha mo sa pangangalakal eh kulang pa sa pagkain mo? Tapos sasabihin pa ng iba “Ay naku, yang CCT (Conditional Cash Transfer) na yan, nagpo-promote yan ng mendicancy.” Never mind na ang cash transfer ay nakasalalay sa mga kondisyon na dapat matupad. Dapat nag-aaral ang mga bata, dapat may monthly check-up sa health center, dapat walang bisyo…

Social mobility of people tend to be possible with more choices. Pero papaano nga ba lalawak ang gagalawan nila kung di natin sila bibigyan ng mas maraming tsansa?

Sabi ng kaibigan ko, okay lang daw tumulong basta nasa lugar. Sabi ko sa sarili ko “Saang lugar? Sa lugar ng mga hunghang? Sa lugar kung saan patay na sila? Saang lugar? Kelan pa nawala sa lugar ang pagtulong?”

Teach a man to fish daw.

Napaka idealistic di ba? Pero napaka hirap gawin.

Napaka tragic isipin na kahit ang mga nakapag aral na tao ay ignorante sa tunay na takbo ng ekonomiya, ng kapitalismo, ng pera. Tanungin mo ang isang tipikal na gradweyt sa kolehiyo kung paano gumagana ang kapitalismo at kung ano ang relasyon ng pera sa utang at bibigyan ka nito ng isang malaking “Huh?”

Oo. Ganyan rin yung reaksyon ko nung una. Kinailangan pang maganap ang 2007 financial crisis bago ko maintindihan ang mga isyung ito. At naintindihan ko lang ito dahil binasa ko ito, pinag-aralan ko mag-isa. Di ito tinuturo sa eskwela – sa di maipaliwanag na dahilan (marahil ignorante rin ang mga guro). Napaka mali di ba? Sa mundo na pinapaikot ng pera, ang kasaysayan nito, mekanismo, at pag palago ay di tinuturo sa paaralan. Kailangan mo pang mag MBA para matutunan ang mga yan. At minsan pa, mali pa ang tinuturo. Panay propaganda.

Isa sa pinakamahalagang natutunan ko sa pag-aaral ko ay ang leksyon na ang kahirapan ay sadyang di mawawala sa kapitalismong sistema. Dahil mismong kapitalismo ang gumagawa ng kahirapan.

“Kalokohan!” sasabihin mo. Pero totoo. Kahit nung una, ayaw ko ring maniwala. Pero unti-unti, sa pag-aaral ko, napagtanto ko nga na tama. Sadyang may mahirap kapag may mayaman. Hindi ito mawawala. Para may yumaman, kailangan may maghirap.

to be contd.

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Moving Up Student’s Grade Levels Per Subject

Continuing from my earlier post on education, and emphasizing the need for further decongestion, I have realized that not only should we reduce the number of subjects in our schools, we should also stop boxing-in our students by grade levels for the entire curriculum. I realized we should move them up by grade levels PER SUBJECT.

Isn’t it stupid that we hold up a student’s moving up of a grade level because they failed one or two subjects? Isn’t it more rational to divide grade levels PER SUBJECT and not the ENTIRE CURRICULUM? In that way a student isn’t stuck on some perceived failed grade level because they aren’t good in one or two subjects (which if they are tested, would probably turn out to be their natural weak subjects), uselessly repeating other subjects they already passed.

Say a Grade 1 student good in Math can move up to Grade 2 Math if they so pass the subject, but may remain on grade 1 Science if they fail that subject. So a single student may be attending subjects of varying grade levels based on their performance on each subject. For example, an 8 year old kid might be attending Grade 2 Math, Grade 4 English, Grade 2 Science, Grade 3 History, Grade 5 Arts and Music – you get the idea. The speed by which they move up grade levels will depend on their performance in each individual subject. And teachers can recommend acceleration provided the student can pass the examination for moving up to the next grade level of the subject. And if that is not enough, each on of the year will bring a final assessment that will re-test the level of the students in all subjects so that by the next school year, they will be put in the proper starting grade level in each subject.

No more of this nonsense of moving up students wholesale. No two students are alike in the speed at which they may learn each subject. Their brilliance in one subject shouldn’t be punished by their failure in another. A 10 year old kid might be brilliant enough to be studying High School Math but under our present system, he or she is stuck being taught Grade 4 Math because he or she is just average in all his or her other subjects. Such waste! Both in time and potential.

One problem I foresee though is the mixing of different-aged students that might result in bullying, isolation, and difficulty in assimilating to the class. Students moved up out of their age group might have difficulty relating to their classmates who are not their peers. While students in that grade level who moved-up naturally (without acceleration; meaning they are in the grade level of the subject appropriate for their age) will resent their “moved-up” classmates, and discord will ensue. One solution I can think of is to create a special class per subject for “moved-up” students. While not a perfect solution, it would at least allow “moved-up” students to join “kindred souls,” in the sense that all in their class would be “moved-up” student who, like them, are considered gifted for that subject. In short, their peers. Maybe not in age, but certainly in subject aptitude.

This system of moving up also solves the problem of slow learners holding up the fast learners. Each student will learn exactly at the pace they are capable of, having been tested and put at the appropriate level for their aptitude.

Another problem that might arise is the students’ intentional neglect of their weak subjects resulting in a very unbalanced set of grade level subjects. Being weak in a certain subject, a student may grow to dislike the subject, and may in turn completely disregard the subject. So perhaps institute a minimum grade level for each subject for each aged student. For example, a student must not be in any Grade 1 subject class by the time they are 10 years old (this is just an example ofc, the age, grade, and gap allowed may differ depending on studies and research) Also, we are only talking of core subjects in here. The minimum does not apply for electives and other subjects.

Miseducation and true educational revolution (read if you are interested in revamping education in our country)

K12. this is what they want to call DepEd’s new plan to fix the country’s ailing educational system. It isn’t new. The United States uses K-12 system of education.  Judging by the state of the US’s education system, I’d doubt we’d want to follow that path.

I will not belabor what others have already said about quality vs quantity.

The problem isn’t years of study, its what we study. I know. I’ve gone through the same system and I’m horrified to realize now how many years I wasted learning stuff I do not need to learn. Basic Education is such a misnomer.

Subjects aren’t what’s need to be taught. Skills are. We’re stuffing our kids with so much trash. Religion one of them. Catholic catechism in schools is such an abomination of religious freedom. They can wield this power because there are no secular school in this country even worth going to. The government is supposed to provide this need, but instead, it’s foisting Catholicism to others who are not even Catholic. I’ve met classmates who are non-Catholics who feel marginalized and discriminated being forced to attend Religion in our school. No wonder our Muslim brothers are up in arms. I wonder if they are trying this foolishness in Mindanao.

Nutrition. Before kids can learn, they need to be fed. Hungry mouths learn nothing. Instead of providing dole-outs, the government should re-channel the funds to host feeding centers in schools. That’s right. To get the food, kids have to go to school. That’s one way of making sure they go to school everyday. Feed them in schools. That will not only stop lazy parents who use their kids to receive the dole-outs and then forces these same kids to work, but it will also provide incentives for poor parents to send their kids to school just so they won’t have to feed the kids. Public schools in the US have their cafeterias subsidized by the government don’t they? Let public schools put up cafeterias that are  subsidized. Serve 2 meals (breakfast and lunch). Dinner na lang po-problemahin ng magulang. Enlist the private sector’s help in subsidizing these cafeterias. We have no lack of food conglomerates willing and able to take this opportunity for some free publicity. To save even more, serve mainly fruits and vegetables, and other cheap root crops, and serve meat and fish only once or twice a week.

Skills mismatch in employment. Why does this happen? Because right from the start, kids are never guided to what courses they should take. Instead of taking up courses which they have a natural aptitude for, they take money-courses. Courses perceived of being able to rake in the jobs which would bring money. Lots of it preferably. So today we see a lot of nursing students who probably would’ve been our future Juan Lunas, Lea Salongas, Nick Joaquins, Fernando Amorsolos, Lino Brockas – if they haven’t been badgered into submission by their parents to take nursing. Instead of pushing them into paths where they would flourish, we push them into a corner where they would forever be mediocre. I guess the world wouldn’t be the same if Einstein became a nurse instead of a mathematician. We’d rather have sons and daughters who are mediocre professionals than sons and daughters who are giants in their field. As long as they bring in the money, you say. But haven’t any of you learned? No one got rich doing what they hated to do. Subsisted yes.

Bill Gates didn’t hate computers. He loved it.

Tiger Woods didn’t hate golf. He loved it.

Oprah didn’t hate hosting. She loved it.

Each of these people became rich doing what they love and what they do best.

Discovering latent talents. The government seriously needs to revamp the educational system to focus on this. Instead of stuffing down our kids’ throat what they should learn, we should discover where their aptitudes lie and enhance those instead. There are already diagnostic tests existing which should easily tell where the kids’ aptitude lie.

In kindergarten up to grade three, kids should be taught the basics. Math, Science, analytical thinking (logic) and Values Formation (not religion). Nothing else. All throughout these years, the school would be trying to discover the kids’ non-academic talents (in sports, arts, public speaking, etc). If a kid is proven to be especially talented at something, they are pushed to train in these areas further. IMO, if a kid can read write, do basic math, and think analytically, he is set for life. Everything else can be acquired as needed.

By grade four, practical skills should be taught. Cooking, carpentry, electronics, plumbing, typing, shorthand, etc. A quarter of the day can be set for practical skills training, another quarter for academics, and the other quarter set aside for the kids’ latent talent training. (in a natural 8 hour schedule that’s 2 1/2 hours each). And yes, at least I agree with Luistro on this.: no assignments. A tired brain and a tired body is useless. If the whole day has been utilized correctly, there’s no need to even think of assignments.

By high school, kids should be entering the apprentice stage for their chosen careers based on courses where they score highly in. No one can take up a course where they haven’t met the maximum passing score (that’s right. there are no minimum passing scores. just pass or fail). This should stop students from wasting time on courses they have absolutely no chance of being successful doing. In these years, students would be studying but would be interning at the same time. Partnering with private corporations, the government not only utilizes a huge labor force but also allows students to learn best from the only university that matters, the university of life. By the time they’re 18, graduation would only be a formality for these students as most of them are already working (interning) in jobs they will most probably get. It may even be just a simple process of being promoted from intern to regular employee. No one graduates jobless. No one hates their jobs. Productivity increases, and industry improves. Our culture  is enriched as the arts can only be enriched by a policy of talent discovery in the early stages of a kid’s life.

An intelligent and well educated country would be a delight to behold.

In education, it isn’t how much you know, but what you know. If you know a lot which turns out to be trash, you may as well know nothing.

You aren’t fixing the problems if you’re adding years. What you’re doing is just basically lengthening the years by which the students are studying under same broken system. Fix the system. Then add the years if you still think it’s lacking.

You’d be surprised if it would even take that long.

edit: i forgot to include. history should be taught all throughout a student’s life. probably on Mondays, since learning history seems to be good at the start of a week.