One can’t agree more to the observation of Fr. Rolando V. de la Rosa, OP, in his The Crisis of Private Education: Can We Survive?, that education has been grossly regarded as a commodity, and, being so, is subject to the equations of market forces and capitalist principles.
Such a perspective considers profit and financial viability as the primary if not the only yardstick of success and operability so that the higher values of the educational system per se and the mission of the schools while always flaunted will end up as mere rhetoric. A shrinking of student population is a hostile business environment which, if not remedied the sooner, should immediately send signals for termination of enterprise to avoid further losses.
Who chooses the kind of schools for the students—the parents, the local community or the state?”, asks Bishop Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ, in his “Private High Schools in the Private Service: Forging Alliances with Parents, Local Communities and Government.” But right now, there seem to be no choice for parents but to send their children to government schools due to the rising cost of private education. Parents who still opt for the quality education offered by Catholic schools suffer a double taxation: for the government’s educational system and for the private school where they send their children. There is an injustice somewhere.
There is no denying to the fact that Catholic schools have been the educators and evangelizers par excellence of the Filipino youth all these three or so centuries. They have molded with profundity and lasting impact the minds of the Filipino with solid Christian values. There has never been a more systematic and continuing evangelization program for the Filipino youth than in Catholic Schools. Admittedly, though, the Church leadership has never really seriously considered catholic schools as the best youth evangelizers. Because if they did, most Catholic schools would never be left to themselves to fend for very own survival.
In our cover story, our team of writers, albeit cursorily, presents a number of issues prevailing in our Catholic schools.