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WANTED: College Level Fast Food Crew

By: Riza Lorraine DG. Aunzo

Job signages like these are commonly seen posted in any fast food restaurant and it’s pretty normal that we hardly notice them. Aside from the educational level, the requirements include height, pleasing personality and/or good character.

Now, when basic skills are needed for the said job, a question comes into the mind:

Why do they need to hire college level people?

Why Now?
One of the reasons why the Philippine government wants to add two more years of basic education in the country is to uplift the employment capabilities of its citizens. The Philippines has the least number of basic education years in Asia – 10 years, which is comprised of six elementary levels and four high school levels. The high school graduates’ average age is 16 years. The Department of Education (DepEd) says that the years of basic education is not enough to equip the graduates with proper knowledge that will help them land onto a stable, fitting job after graduation. In these past few years, the Philippines has become one of those countries in Asia whose students got the lowest scores in the Math, Science and English evaluation exams. More than that, other countries have been becoming more proficient in the English language than the Philippines, considering the fact that we have been dubbed as the English Capital of Asia.

The Drawbacks
In the recent system, as the years of education progress, the number of dropouts and out-of-school youth also increases, leading to lesser graduates. One of the reasons of these dropouts are financial problems. Though public education is relatively cheap, if not free, the family still has to provide the average student the costs of food, transportation, school supplies and others (aside from the usual household bills). Many Filipino families are earning less than the minimum wage and do not even have enough for food, which makes sending their children to school a costly burden.

In addition to the country’s insufficiencies, DepEd sees the need to allot budget to sustain two more years of basic education. Moreover, the budget would be utilized to construct classrooms, to pay teachers, and to provide students with books and other materials. Most public schools, especially in Metro Manila, have to handle two rounds of classes per day, while some even have three rounds just to maximize their capacity to accommodate their students. Teachers are overworked; classrooms have to be occupied by two different classes at the same time. Some of the students may luckily have a complete set of books, while the others need to share with their classmates who have their own books. Some teachers are handling subjects that they do not have specialization on since there is a need to maximize labor amidst the shortage of teachers in schools, public and private ones alike.

The Resolution
Two more years of basic education may help the students learn more. It may help them prepare for job applications, which will help them support their families even if they are unable to pursue or finish a college degree. But in reality, what the country needs more is the improvement of the education’s quality rather than its quantity and this should be prioritized.

By the time when the country is able to improve the 10-year basic education system, the government would have been able to decide on adding the extra two years in basic education. A goal can be achieved through forward steps—yet these steps should be taken one-by-one to prevent the Filipino student from falling down and seeing himself or herself back at square one.


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