EDITORIAL - Confusing government education priorities
(The Freeman) - January 11, 2016 - 9:00am

No one has made it absolutely clear why classes always have to be sacrificed in favor of big international events. During the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference meetings held in Manila and Cebu, classes were suspended for reasons that were seen by some as frivolous - to free up traffic so that the foreign delegates will think what a paradise the Philippines is.

But while a few streets were indeed freed up of traffic so that the foreign delegates can go to and from the different venues unhampered, there to address global concerns many of which have absolutely nothing to do with Cebu, traffic still built up everywhere else because suspending classes did not really cause dramatic reductions in the number of vehicles choking up Cebu City streets. Jeepneys, for instance, still had to ply their routes, with or without students riding them.

Later this month, Cebu will again play host to a big international event - the International Eucharistic Congress. And for almost the same reasons as in the suspension of classes for the APEC meetings, classes will again have to be cancelled, again to ease up traffic. To be sure, Catholic schools may be suspending classes for an entirely different reason, considering the religious nature of the event.

But for the rest of the schools, the reason is still traffic-driven, which brings up the matter of why, before any decision was made to even bid for the honor to host the IEC, the problem of traffic was never given much consideration. As it seems now, traffic only became a consideration after it was decided that we will be the IEC host for 2016. Crossing the bridge when we get there assumes too much, like the bridge actually being there.

Of course it is not the fault of the schools. All they can do is react to the situation that arose after the decision was made to host the IEC. They are only doing what can be done under the circumstances. What an irony that the only thing schools can do under the circumstances, which is to suspend classes in order to ease traffic, is also the very same thing that does the most disservice to the very nature of what schools are all about - providing education.

When there are no classes, no education happens. The more times there are no classes, the less education can be provided to those who need it most. And yet the very same government that encourages the suspension of classes as a means to address the problem of traffic is the very same government that wants to add two years to basic education under its so-called K to 12 program.

Never is there a more confusing government policy than the one on education. While it wants to add two more years to basic education, it has not bothered to address the lack of classrooms and teachers to make added education happen. While it wants to add two years to education, for decades it has not chosen to shift from the policy of using classrooms as shelters during calamities and conflicts, thereby further reducing school time. So what is it really when it comes to education?

ADD CEBU CEBU CITY CLASSES DURING THE ASIA-PACIFIC ECONOMIC CONFERENCE EDUCATION HOST INTERNATIONAL EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS MANILA AND CEBU SCHOOLS TRAFFIC
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