“I'd rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not.”
― Lucille Ball

Friday, March 30, 2012

Graduation day

Yesterday was Graduation day at the Daniel Maramba National High School (DMNHS) in Sta. Barbara. You see here my step-daughter and wife walking to the row of class mates for the opening parade.

It was again a bewildering experience for me, to see that the whole program - from 8.00 am to 12.00 am - was prepared in detail like a story board, and very much based on the American tradition. It's one-way communication only.

After entry of all graduating students - with one parent only! - a flag ceremony was held by some students and I guess the Philippines hymn was sung. This seems to be daily practice in the Philippines.

Next a series of speeches started by some honorable guests - like the vice mayor - teachers and some students from 8.30 to 12.00 without a comfort break or any drinks offered.

I learned from one of the speeches that this year about 670 students graduated in this school only, and that there are significantly more girls than boys graduated. I noticed this already from the beginning as there were two equal areas in front of the stage with the speakers with a kind of aisle in the middle. Left were all the boys and right the girls. The girls area was much bigger than the boys area. This is confirmed by the article, which I will refer to below in this post.

If I extrapolate this figure of 670 (curriculum is still 4 years), then a rough estimate is that this school has in total 2500+ students. There are as far as I know 4 high schools in Sta. Barbara - population of ca. 80.000 - I guess they are smaller than DMNHS, so a first cut estimate is that there are 5000+ graduations this year in Sta. Barbara.

After the ceremony we went for lunch to a nice Filipino/Chinese restaurant in Dagupan Lucao, called Stella Maris. Nice food and we were not the only group with a graduate. They all got a small cake from the owner, so this seems to be normal practice every year.

What amazes me most from the Philippines education system is that the whole curriculum - after kinder garten - takes only 10 years. That means students are graduating when they are 16 years of age. Then they have to decide what they will do next - studying or working - and if they want to continue with a next study they have to choose from many options. I guess that's not easy if you are 16.

In an article today in Phil Star I read that the government has announced that they want to reform the education system in the Philippines from a 10 to 12 years curriculum, like in most western and also in some Asian countries. The Philippines and Myanmar are the only countries in the world with a less than 12 years curriculum. It means that students have to learn in 10 years what others learn in 10 years, which is impossible of course, so they will miss some basic knowledge when they leave their schools.

The extension of the curriculum time was one of the political topics of the current president Noy Noy Aquino. Let's see if the new curriculum will indeed be implemented in the period from now to 2015 as is the plan.


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