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Why education is necessary


Text and Photo by Henrylito D. Tacio

Soon-to-be proclaimed Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio has been appointed by presumptive president Bongbong Marcos, Jr. as the top honcho of the Department of Education (DepEd). She readily accepted the offer and expressed her gratitude to the newly-elected head of the country for his confidence in leading the said department.

During their conversation together, “it was decided that I would work on producing skilled learners with the mindset to realize their full potential as individuals,” Duterte said in a released statement. “Our country needs a future generation of patriotic Filipinos that advocate peace and discipline in their respective communities.”

Hearing the announcement, the current DepEd secretary, Leonor Magtolis Briones, said: “I and the DepEd family are ready to work with her team for the orderly transition of DepEd leadership. We will turn over the Basic Education Plan 2030, the first time that an outgoing administration will leave behind a medium-term plan. We are confident that DepEd will be in able hands and anticipate a continuity.”

During the campaign in this year’s election, one of the most popular phrases is: “Let me educate you.” Somehow, it encapsules the value of education.

When Jesus Christ was still here on earth, He did three things: teaching, healing, and preaching. Laurie Beth Jones, author of Jesus, CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership, wrote: “Since teaching is educating the mind and preaching is educating the heart, two-thirds of Jesus’ work was education.”

Jones explained it further: “If you look at the instances when he healed people, nine times out of ten he spoke to them about an attitude change or a new way of behaving that was to go along with their physical state of being. ‘Go, and sin no more.’ I feel safe in saying education was Jesus’ number-one priority.”

Education is very important indeed. One Chinese saying said: “If you give a man a fish, he will eat it once. If you teach a man how to fish, he will eat for the rest of his life.”

One philosopher puts it further in these words: “If you are thinking a year ahead, sow seed. If you are thinking ten years ahead, plant a tree. If you are thinking one hundred years ahead, educate the people. By sowing seed, you will harvest much. By planting a tree, you will harvest tenfold. By educating the people, you will harvest one hundredfold.”

Joel Weldon compares education to that of a moso bamboo tree. It is grown mostly in China and the Far East. After the moso is planted, no visible growth occurs for up to five years — even under ideal conditions. Then, as if by magic, it suddenly begins growing at the rate of nearly two-and-one-half feet per day, reaching a full height of 90 feet within six weeks.

“But there is no magic behind all this,” Weldon wrote. “The moso’s rapid growth is due to the miles of roots it develops during those first five years, five years of getting ready. It’s like the hidden years of an education!”

Education never fails – if you keep watching and learning what’s going on. I was reminded of this anecdote which appeared in Reader’s Digest:

“From the day we entered the biology class in high school, one blackboard was covered with the names and locations of the major bones and muscles of the human body,” the author wrote. “The diagram remained on the board throughout the term but the teacher never referred to it.”

On the day of the final exam, the students observed that the board was wiped clean. The examination consisted of only one question: “Name and locate every major bone and muscle in the human body.”

Of course, the whole class protested with one voice: “We never studied that.” The teacher answered: “That’s no excuse. That information was right in front of your eyes for the last few months.”

After the students had struggled with the test for a while, the teacher collected the papers and tore them up. “Always remember that education is more than just learning what you are told,” the teacher told the class. “Most education comes from looking.”

Education is not just learning but also training. “We must distinguish between being educated and being trained,” someone commented. “They are not the same. Education is the enlargement and enrichment of the mind. Education gives the mind breadth, height, depth and vision. Training makes the mind an effective tool to do a specific job. Training is like grinding the mind to a keen cutting edge.”

This sage compared a “trained chap who holds a position which pays a big salary” and an “educated man who receives only a minimum wage.”

Of the first, he said: “But he is uneducated: he is neither broad nor high nor deep. He knows almost nothing, has no interests outside of routine duties.”

Of the second, he noted: “He can talk and write entertainingly on almost any subject. He has plenty of breadth, height and depth, but has never been able to hold a job paying more than a minimum wage. His educated mind is blunt. He is high-grade steel which has never been sharpened to a keen edge.”

The sage ended the comparison with these words: “Neither of these men is as big as he is capable of being. An educated mind is a luxury. A trained mind is a necessity. But blessed is he who possesses both! The ideal should be, to be educated in a broad sense, and be trained to perform a specific work of usefulness. If you must choose, go first for training. Get an education by all means, but recognize its true purpose: to lend vision to a mind trained to do one useful thing very well.”

Nelson Mandela, a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, said it all: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

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