Traffic not a school problem

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag - Banat

It is bad enough that Senator Grace Poe, of all the millions of ideas she can possibly think of, would actually think of having the Christmas break come two weeks early, for no other reason than to supposedly help ease traffic during the Christmas season. It is worse when the Department of Education actually considers the proposal seriously.

What in heaven is wrong with these people? The traffic situation in the country is a mess. There is no question about that. Not just Metro Manila but other key cities in the Philippines are already experiencing the crunching weight of too many motor vehicles fighting for space in city roads. But a traffic problem needs a traffic solution, not an educational one.

The educational system is in a terrible mess as well, thanks to the foolhardy insistence of the same Department of Education in implementing the K to 12 program even if the educational system is not ready for it. In most schools, especially in the provinces, the K to 12 program is not being implemented properly owing to the lack of classrooms and qualified teachers. Yet it now wants to mess up the system once more by tinkering with the school schedules.

Why is it always the education of the young that gets to suffer when the government messes up somewhere else. Just look what happens everytime there is a disruption in the normal conduct of life - it is always the school system that gets to deal with the situation. When there is a typhoon, schools are turned into evacuation centers. When there is a fire, it is the same thing. Why, even during elections, it is schools and teachers that get to do everything.

But the educational system has nothing to do with weather-related incidents. Whose ever problem it is, it definitely is not the problem of the school system. And yet it is the schools that bear the brunt of dealing with the effects. And when they do, classes have to be suspended and the education of the young put on hold. Education has nothing to do with fires. But just the same, education suffers as a consequence. Elections?

The funny thing about elections is that after using the classrooms and utilizing the services of teachers, sometimes without pay or pay that is so delayed it loses any meaning and relevance to the work done, the politicians who got elected, through a process to which schools and teachers contributed a lot, forget everything and do nothing to even just raise awareness about their plight.

And now more is being planned to add to the misery of the educational system. Having an early Christmas break does not even guarantee that traffic will be lighter once the classes are interrupted two weeks early at the expense of students' learning. Not having classes will not eliminate students from the picture. They will not evaporate into thin air.

Students will still be pretty much around. They may no longer have classes but they will have more time. With their new time away from school, students will be going to other places such as malls, there to only exacerbate things. While during classes, malls will not be counting most students in and around their premises as foot traffic, they will soon be if classes are suspended early. This will be adding more to the traffic instead of lessening it.

It is hoped that Poe will reconsider her proposal, especially since it seems the department of education is unthinkingly all for it. Again, a traffic problem is a traffic problem. It is not an educational system problem. So the educational system should be left out of it. What it needs is a traffic solution. Whoever thought of inter-operability and cooperation among departments did not think it this way.

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