|UP on a weekend|
I never dwelled on the 'what ifs,' but I did ask myself once "What if I made it to UP?"
Not so long ago, I went to the University of the Philippines (UP), the bastion of great minds and dreams, not to get an education, but to kill time. I would have wanted to study there, but passing the UPCAT was not possible that time, so I ended up some place equally excellent, I would say. :-)
In my high school, when I asked people how to get to UP, the response I would get was take the UPCAT; now in my adulthood, the answer differs: I was told to get a PHILCOA jeep, then take another jeep, IKOT. If lost, ask. I made it to UP by commute to admire its greenery, the campus, the invisible yet palpable presence of greatness. I have the greatest admiration for people of who have burned the midnight oil to be among the UP alumni.
But the UP of my dreams has been in the news lately, not for its outstanding achievements but for the death of one of its students.
There is nothing more I can contribute to issue that has already been discussed in every platform known. However, I do share the sentiment of many on the avoidable loss of life of a promising scholar. May she be the last of those who died because institutions and policies and other external forces drive them to take their own lives.
I was once a teacher who failed students, but only did unreluctantly so for 'deserving' students. What I was not very comfortable doing was handing them a notice of non-payment or partial payment of tuition fees which the Accounting Office released weeks before the exam. So, instead of calling out their names in class, I just discreetly leave the notice on their desks. My own three-year grade school experience in a private school reminded me that I should not let my students experience what I had experienced.
I transferred to government schools when I reached second grade, and I am forever grateful for this transfer. I was exposed to life. At some point I was in a rowdy class of sixty; we were contented with manila paper for our visual aids; the old books which were issued to us at the start of the year served their purpose until school year ended; the simple classmates I had, whose parents were ordinary folks, taught me the value of humility and simplicity. I could go on detailing the education I gained from my grade school to graduate school in government education institutions. But, then, it appears now that not all students in government schools are as fortunate as me.