A nation of misfits and hypocrites: revealing discrepancies in education and leadership

By Sensei Adorador

In the realm of academia, clear-cut criteria define who is eligible to teach specific courses. To qualify, one must possess a master’s degree that aligns with the relevant field of study. It’s perplexing to witness a sociology professor delivering a nursing course on pharmacology, or a non-education specialist expounding on teaching principles.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) strongly advocates for the specialization of teaching, asserting that university educators should adhere to their discipline or a related field to achieve professorial distinction.

Similarly, the Department of Education (DepEd) mandates that instructors responsible for content courses must hold specific degrees. For example, a Social Studies teacher should possess a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education with a major in Social Science, ensuring expertise in the subject they teach. This principle extends to elementary education, where educators catering to Special Education must have a degree in that field, and kindergarten teachers should hold Early Childhood Education degrees.

Interestingly, some educators pursue master’s degrees in fields different from their undergraduate and doctoral studies. One possible explanation is that historically, master’s degrees were seen as supplementary qualifications, and Ph.D. holders were given the freedom to explore alternative academic paths. DepEd displayed leniency, permitting graduates who had completed the required units and passed teacher licensure exams to teach subjects unrelated to their original academic specialization.

However, the evolving times necessitate a more structured educational approach. Ensuring alignment from undergraduate to Ph.D. levels becomes crucial for a strong educational foundation. This leads to a dilemma – while educational institutions impose strict alignment standards, governmental leadership appointments often lack rigorous qualifications. Is education detached from reality? Or does this inconsistency permeate educational institutions as well?

A closer examination of leadership reveals disparities too. Agricultural challenges are entrusted to an individual with minimal agricultural insight, an offspring of a dictator and a college dropout. During the pandemic, the responsibility for handling the crisis was given to the military instead of medical experts. The senate is composed of a diverse array of figures – an ex-convict, a former PNP chief with a questionable record, a broadcaster embodying toxic masculinity, a loyalist to a former president, and more. The current Secretary of Education seems disconnected from the demands of her role, relying on abstract ideals while overlooking critical educational issues.

The confidence to hold the position of the Secretary of Education without experience or knowledge in the current educational landscape is a distortion of the office’s essence. She admits to relying solely on experts. But why assume the position without prior experience or educational background? Furthermore, her office requested confidential and intelligence funds for countering insurgency and terrorism, which threatens teachers and students. According to a top military executive, insurgency is waning, so what purpose does the fund serve when there are pressing educational issues like classroom shortages, brain drain, and declining education quality? This mirrors the playbook of the Marcos Jr. administration, appointing individuals unfit for their roles, resulting in poor decision-making and short-sighted plans. This failure to position people correctly yields such outcomes.

Moreover, academia mirrors the government’s actions, succumbing to its own hypocrisy. Appointing unfit individuals to key roles disrupts systems, like a vice president for academic affairs without curriculum and management expertise or a research head lacking understanding of research methodologies and higher education priorities. This undermines academia’s role as gatekeepers of morality and effective governance, subscribing to its own hypocrisy.

This incongruity between theoretical policies and practical realities persists, casting a shadow over genuine education. The double standard is evident – rigorously enforced within academia but lenient on governance. The call for discipline and patriotism rings hollow when leaders themselves struggle to embody these values, swayed by external influences. Unfortunately, our nation bears the weight of incongruous leadership and misaligned governance, overshadowing the pursuit of true education and confining it to the Ivory Tower’s realm.