Does education improve the people’s way of life? Most of us would answer “Yes” to this question. Why? Because most of us belong to a generation where we had heard our parents or guardians say “Edukasyon lang ang kaya naming ipamana sa iyo.” And it might have come to the point that parents (or even children) equate education to improvement of lives (or is it really livelihood?), the typical rags-to-riches story.
- “Anak, nursing ang kunin mong kurso para makapag-abroad ka agad.”(“Child, you take up Nursing so you could go abroad easily.”)
- “Gusto kong kumuha ng kursong IT kasi malaki daw ang kita ng mga programmers.”(“I want to take up an IT course because programmers are being paid high.)
- “Anak, huminto ka muna ng pag-aaral. Patapusin mo muna si Bunso kasi physical therapy ang kinukuha niya. Kapag nakapagtapos na siya at nakapag-abroad, siya naman ang magpa-paaral sa iyo.” (You’d better stop going to college. Let your younger sibling finish his degree in Physical Therapy first. When he graduates and goes abroad to work, you may continue your studies.”)
- “Fine Arts? Ano’ng magiging trabaho mo pagka-graduate mo?” (“You’re taking Fine Arts? And what kind of job will you have after you graduate?”)
- “Anak, hindi ka namin kayang pag-aralin ng medicine. Education na lang, mas mura pa.” (“I couldn’t afford to send you to a medical school. Better take Education, it’s much cheaper.”)
These were not taken from the stories I’ve written, although you might have heard and seen them in movies or television series. These were dialogues coming from the mouth of real people. See how these people equate education (or more aptly, earning a Bachelor’s Degree) into some thing else. I know some of us could relate to any of these. I myself had these types of moments.
So did education improve their way of life? For some, yes. They were able to raise their family out of poverty. For others, no. Despite their degrees earned, they felt that they’re living stagnantly or miserably. Why? Because of the wrong perception that education equates to something material, to something tangible, to something concrete. And it is saddening.
Education is just a key in improving one’s way of life. The rest lies on the person’s passion. That same passion that drives us to do what we love doing and gain fulfillment and wisdom out of it.
I took up Medical Technology hoping that I could be a doctor some day. By the time I reached my second year, the writing bug bit me. But I finished my course, earned my degree, and passed the board exam. When I asked my mother the permission to take the NMAT, she told me to take nursing instead so I could go abroad easily. That time, the demand for nurses started to increase. By the time I passed the board exam, the demand for nurses dropped (if not crashed to the ground). So with my two degrees and licenses at hand, I was able to practice both professions in clinics.
After five years, I pursued my passion: creative writing. When I won in a screenplay writing contest, I told my mother the good news. She said, “So?” It hurt me. But I did not let my fire burn out. Now, I have written novels, comics, columns, articles, etc., I’m happily married, instructor in an art school, and still doing what I love doing: helping people through writing. Did education improve my way of life? If I’m to equate education to something material, no. I left a good-paying job in a BPO company in favor of teaching for a salary a little bit more than half as much. But if I’m to equate education to fulfillment and wisdom, I’d say yes.