EDUCATION IN OUR CHANGING TIMES
By Atty. Sheila Lyn Catacutan-Besario, Dean, College of Law 

Society, as we know it, today, is a complex web of values, and realities. The challenges before our children are most definitely not the same ones that we faced in our childhood. Before the Ipad, and the Internet, the world was much simpler. Before, when we were bored, all we had to do was go out and play with the kids outside. We did not mind the heat or the dust, we played. It was fun!

Now, kids, are much more complex – they have gadgets, they live in this world and the world, at large – the world is at their fingertips, so to speak. Issues that abound on the other side of the hemisphere reach them as it would just be a click away. Technology has made the world smaller and with it comes a wave of challenges. While we live in the present, we can also be in the past and in the future. Sounds contradicting, how can one live in the past, present and in the future, all at the same time? Technology and the availability of information give us a glimpse of the past, while living in the present and the power to anticipate the future. This to me is the challenge before the next generation and us.

The question that has hounded me, as a mother, and a teacher and a citizen, is how do we prepare our children to be not just citizens of this country, but as citizens of this world?

I do not have a ready-made answer. It’s a question that perhaps would take a community to answer, and not an individual. But I will try to fathom an answer.

EDUCATION.  This to me is very important. This is my best answer to the challenges before us.

I think change is inevitable. We cannot hold the reigns of changing times. We have to adopt to change and not be stuck. Otherwise, we would be so engrossed in the past that we forget to live in the present and prepare for the future.

Sure enough, changes abound. We just have recently adopted the K-12 system. We have added 2 more years of basic education. The curriculum is radically changing and the approaches to teaching are most definitely not the same. I welcome these changes. I like the idea of teaching integrative learning - of teaching not just one subject area – but integrating science and mathematics in Disaster Risk Reduction Management, for example; or of incorporating the concepts of social studies and history and into good governance.   

We have to teach our children in the ways that they best relate to. Our generation is the “pen and paper” generation. But our children are more of the “techy” ones.  I welcome the idea of technology and web-based learning; not just being confined in the four wall of the classroom. 

Only recently, the Department of Education bared the plan of integrating traffic rules and etiquette in driving into the basic education curriculum.  I am very excited on this. I have always complained about bad driving; bad parking; and the like. I believe that this would make a great impact to the driving attitude of the Filipino people.

Educating our children on the basics of driving would solve our driving woes. The wonder of education is its ripple effect. Education not only addresses the problem now, but also ensures that those who will come after us will better equip.

Providing our children with information, values and right skills will make them citizens of the world and not just of this country.  I truly hope that our children will not just involve themselves with what is happening in this country, but also partake of global issues, such as climate change, domestic violence, social justice and global politics.

Being part of the academe, gives me a sense of purpose. A sense of direction. I never set out to become a teacher. I took up a technical course – Chemistry, and then Law, but then I ended up being in the academe – being a teacher. Surely, the Good Lord works in mysterious ways!

Some of you may find relativity in my experience and somehow ended up in the academe, but this I say:  we are truly blessed to be part of the academe and to do our part in molding our future and our children. We are indeed privileged that we are given this precious chance to be part of the academic process.

With all the problems and challenges before us, we need to have better citizens of the world. We need to instill in our children global awareness and we also need to adapt to the changing times.

Education, to me, is still the answer to the challenges before us and our generation and that of those that will come after us. Education is a potent tool to propel us to a better and brighter future.

Ignorance is a poor Man’s companion; Education is the best weapon that one can possess.

(This is reposted from April 2016.)