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Awards are not important, happiness is...

By BARBARA GONZALEZ- VENTURA, The Philippine STAR Published Aug 15, 2021 6:00 am

I received this text from Edwin Lim, whom I do not personally know: “I would like to suggest a new topic that might be controversial: ‘The Death of Schooling.’ With no cure in sight, is there a possibility that schooling and therefore education will end?” He got me to thinking.

I don’t think basic education — grade school to high school — should end. That’s where you learn how to read, write, think. I have the adamant point of view that they should reinstate Good Manners and Right Conduct, a course that they stopped teaching some time ago, thinking that parents should take care of that.

Now both parents are working or didn’t learn that in school. The children grow up with yayas, who didn’t learn that either. They should teach it again and expand it so the children grow up seeing that they have to open their eyes and read every situation so they can spot opportunities and have the right attitudes to learn, grow and take risks.

I think it’s time to rethink our educational system with more focus on the people we are educating, not their parents or grandparents who believe in the traditional need for a diploma.

It is college that needs to examine itself closely. The more technical careers like medicine, law and engineering — these courses should expand to include the more innovative thinking that’s required today.

If your child wants to become a doctor, she/he must take medical or pharmaceutical courses but these should expand into natural and chemical healing, including acupuncture, Ayurvedic and other techniques to give people more and broader knowledge and options. That means reexamining the courses they now teach and hiring and training a new crop of teachers.

Courses like medicine, law and engineering should expand to include the more innovative thinking that’s required today.

In law, the Civil Code has to be adjusted to adapt to life today and not life during the Spanish times. Look at Spain, which gave us our initial civil code. They have divorce and I think they’re taxing the churches. Our former Christian colonizers have caught up with life, and we have not.

For the majority who want other careers, we should have more St. Benildes, more short courses that teach enough skills to enable an individual to build a career. Skills like photography, hotel and restaurant management, other practical courses.

There should be many short courses on many subjects including jewelry making, tailoring, sewing, machine embroidering, other crafts. One builds careers out of crafts. Look at the computer courses offered.

I have no diplomas but I had hundreds of awards and plaques that I threw away after I stopped working. Awards are not important. Happiness is.

We are moving in the right direction with chef schools. Once, we just had cooks. If you go to school at Enderun, you train to be a chef, sous chef, pastry chef, waiter, sommelier, maître d’. I remember while I was teaching there telling my friends, if your granddaughter is dating a waiter, find out what school he goes to. Some schools have killer tuition for that course.

In my experience, marketing was not taught well. I think it was because the people who knew it and practiced it worked hard and had no time to teach. Also, marketing goes with the flow, the trends, the new things. Today everyone is into body wash. I get so bored watching hair care and laundry commercials. Why are there so many? Because there are so many products that are so alike and so competitive.

That’s why there’s advertising. Advertising is not an idle man’s invention. It is fired by competition. I think advertising is best learned on the job but you have to have a good command of languages and you must have an alert and curious mind.

So, Edwin, I don’t think it’s “The Death of Schooling.” I think it’s time for rethinking our educational system with more focus on the people we are educating, not their parents or grandparents who believe in the traditional need for a diploma.

Parents and grandparents believe in the traditional need for a diploma.

Let me share another text I received: “Your article about ridiculous education made me think about how we measure a person’s ability to succeed in life especially when it concerns the choice of job. It has always bothered me that we used to or still look at a person’s credentials to land a job by having a diploma or that one must come from only certain schools. My son dropped out from two schools but eventually ended up being a call center agent.

“Surprisingly, within a year he got promoted to a higher level due to his good managerial skills. Now, after several years, he transferred to another call center and is a manager. When I go to his room I see his awards and these make me very proud. Many have told me and I know I raised an intelligent son. For me, as long as he loves his work and is good at it, he makes me happy. Though still there are moments when I ask myself — if he had gotten a diploma, would he have better job security? Alas, there is still a stigma about not having a diploma!”

I responded: “I have no diplomas but I had hundreds of awards and plaques that I threw away after I stopped working. Awards are not important. Happiness is.”

She thanked me for my reply. Unexpectedly, she said, “You made my day.”