Last week’s encounter with Obscure Blogger (O.B.) has once again reinforced my conviction that getting an expensive education is not all that matters. What good is it studying in the country’s premier convent school and university if you have little respect for the beliefs of others and much more resort to calling people names, in an extreme manifestation of low-life bigotry?
These days getting “good, top-quality education” in the Philippines has been reduced to the level of a cult status. It’s either you’re Red, Blue or Green. Parents will do everything, even sell their ancestral lands, just so their sons and daughters will be able to get in the Top Three schools. Malas mo na lang if you fall out of the circle because that means you’re a nobody and therefore will most likely be snobbed by equally discriminatory HR managers.
But the question is: is it all worth it? Will studying in a Top Three School make you more human, kind and compassionate? Will it prepare you for the realities of the outside world?
My answer is: probably not. Such a perception has only bred a culture of needless superiority in others. We know for a fact that the overload of MA and PhD holders in government has not prevented the merciless raid of our public coffers. My kids will now have to blame me for not pressuring them to go into academia’s creme de la creme for the simple reason that I don’t believe in all that elitism sh*t. They will have to go through it on their own, choose their schools according to what befits their talents and intellect, and not just because it will look good on their resume or it will be prestigious for them to do so.
In fairness, my mom did work hard to give me a good Catholic education. But to paraphrase Robert Fulghum, “everything I learned, I learned in the School of Hard Knocks.” I believe that the years of experience I’ve had working at 17, being on my own at 18, travelling in my 20s and being the tough single mom in my 30s has already equipped me with a doctoral degree on Survival Skills. All those things I’ve had to go through I did not learn in school, which is so steeped in regimentation, but outside of it – the real world – which allows for more freedom, flexibility and creativity.
Perhaps it is also a manifestation of my own biases that I will state here I have never liked know-it-alls and intellectual snobs. I’ve only had the highest respect for people who made it big due to their hard work, regardless of their status in life or what school they came from. In the final analysis of things, an education will give you the needed stature and diploma but being truly educated entails more than that.