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Aja Bogdanoff

Online Community Manager, TED

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For non-US TEDizens: Can you tell us about your country's education system?

This week's special on American TV, "TED Talks Education," focuses on problems in US schools.

So here's the place for non-Americans to share: What's an issue in your country's education system that you'd like to see a TED Talk about? Who would you ask to speak? Do you have any success stories to share?

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  • May 10 2013: Post 3/3:
    My experience from the Philippines is the complete opposite of that of AMI Montessori in London. The education system here is antiquated and should not be reformed in any way, it should be thrown out and a new one should be built form scratch. Public schools are a disgrace, where one teacher is supposed to teach up to 50 children by writing things on the blackboard and, if they have enough money, through textbooks. Occasionally you have teachers that really care and want to make a difference with their students, but that is not supported by the system of hundreds of useless standardised tests, and an ill-contrived curriculum based on the already poor American system.
    The children, from age 5, are though to be competitive, being aware of their class ranking already from that age - as if that mattered at all!
    On top of this, despite the fact that the Philippines, at least on paper, is a secular country, every school is drenched in catholic dogma, with praying multiple times a day and little snippets of how they should pray to god sneaked into the text books, which are already over filled with useless information. Why do second graders need so many books that they can's even carry their backback? Private or public - students are taught to sit still and listen and copy what the teacher writes, and made to believe that there would be no morality if it wasn't for religion. Religious dogma is taught alongside science, while the inconvenient parts of science that contradict dogma, like evolution, is gracefully ignored, as not to upset the priests. Even their report cards, which by themselves I find distasteful for so young children, contain an entry for how god-fearing the children are!

    All in all, I think the Philippines would do a lot better if they shut down the public school system completely and made a law that prevented religious organisations from starting schools. Religion and school simply do not mix, they're polar opposites.
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      May 10 2013: In the Philippines, we are thought that teachers are always right and they are figure of authority. Do you agree Sir Ronny? ")
      • May 10 2013: Yes, but you do not need to call me Sir. In fact I prefer you not to, as I am not your boss or ruler, but rather your peer.
        It's not your fault though. I get called Sir all the time even though I'm just a simple person with no royal blood, knighthood or anything like that. I know, it's the country's past being a Spanish colony and later an American puppet nation that is hard to get rid of, even though the Philippines is now supposedly a democracy (as in everyone can vote, but hardly any of the people available for election is worth voting for). Plus, of course it's ingrained in the culture to be polite to anybody who can potentially be older than you or in a higher position. I think this is part of the problem actually, but not the main problem. Respect should be earned, not inherited. I have not yet earned your respect, so I'm at best a peer, at worst a stranger.

        Anyway, I do agree. I get the feeling that the mode of teaching for the most part is "do not question me, just memorise what I say so you will do well on the exam!", which roughly translates to "I don't have the time nor the patience for questions - see the size of this book - I have to read all of this to you before the end of the school year! You actually learning something is not really a concern."

        The way I see it, the exact opposite would be ideal - always question authority, particularly when they offer no proof, always ask why and don't care about how others "score" - in fact there should be no score at all. Working independently or in small groups on something that interests the children at the time it interests them beats any other mode of instruction.

        Before the unscrupulous system of public schooling there was no unemployment. It wouldn't surprise me if even the word itself didn't exist back then. Parents and other adults in their vicinity taught the children.

        Very good video on the topic: https://plus.google.com/117596660984490280980/posts/5WKushx8ssR

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