Friday, August 03, 2007

Education, Always Education

There must be a bizarre kind of serendipity today, as I read Jego's post which mentions Pinoy Press's post on an ad placed by Antonio Calipjo Go in the Inquirer. In the ad Go deplores the sad state of Philippine education illustrated by over 300 errors he found in a single text book Hiyas ng Pagbabasa 5. Because he dared point out these errors, he was sued by Phoenix Publishing House.

At this exact moment I am reading on the role of public education in socially engineering French nationals pre and post Revolution. Here is what I have written so far:

The concept of the ‘nation’ guided by the organising philosophies of the social contract theorists served as the legitimating symbol of the revolution (Bell 2001: 1224). It rallied the ‘third estate,’ comprising 98 percent of the population (REFERENCE), behind the idea of a collective ‘patrie’ in which every individual was equal, labelled or identified not as a peasant, clergy, king or queen but a citoyen – a citizen.

On June 17, 1789, nearly a month before the fall of Bastille, the deputies of the Third Estate declared themselves a National Assembly, a body that claimed to represent each of the 28 million people living in France at the time (Bell 2001: 1218-1225).

How had the idea of nation come to hold purchase among a hodgepodge of ethnic peoples speaking different tongues (REFERENCE), who never before thought they belonged to a certain collectivity called ‘nation’?

The answer lay in a social engineering underpinned by public education. Guided by the Enlightenment philosophes, the 18th century saw a gradual veering away from the teaching of virtue in the service of God to virtue in the service of the public good. Penny Brown writes:
…the traditional emphasis on a morality derived from religious faith began to change to a concept of social morality that aimed at the happiness and usefulness of the individual in the context of the interests of the national good (2006: 207).

The Republic's declaration that every citizen has inalienable rights also places on the Republic the duty to teach its people of these rights (Chanet 2005: 11). The creation of a French national to match the French nation traces its roots from the early pamphleteering of the Jacobins to indoctrinate the peasants (Maciak 1999) to the education policies of the Revolutionary government, namely the Peletier project, which brought together children of all social classes (Brown 2006: 209).


So, if public education is crucial in making a nation....what is Philippine public education teaching Filipino children?

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