Make “Pampublikong Aklatan” Better!

Went to the local public library today and I was aghast by what I saw.

Employees and some students watching Wowowee!

Its bad enough that we have prohibitive book prices (paperbacks for 500 pesos! c’mon!) that students can’t afford them, worst is that public libraries, which is a great alternative for learning, are ill equipped to provide an environment conducive to learning. Well, I guess that’s why those people were watching that debasing and wretched show instead. Well, at least there’s air conditioning in the library. I slept for about an hour and went home. Got some good rest from my tax money! yeah!

This should really come as no surprise to anyone, to me personally, because I’ve seen how neglected and under-utilized our national library and the national archives are – and these two are the central repository of the our written history. If we can’t prioritize these institutions how much more the poor public libraries around the country? Of course, many would argue “we have far more important things to worry about”, yeah like what? Because decades from now, we’ll have to feed  the uneducated and unemployed, the very same people we failed to uplift through free quality education.

Public funds has become like investments to these politicians that they would only make projects that would keep them in office. Those who deprioritize education should never be voted for again.

What the hell are our leaders doing? How far can a third world nation keep sitting on a deteriorating public education?

I’m a conspiracy theorist to some degree and I believe that those who truly holds power wants to keep the Filipino ignorant and miserable. Contoling the minds and mouths of the populace allows them to perpetuate themselves in power. We have a few oligarchs running the country, these families has failed to institute change for more than 100 years,  and for some strange reason most of us still believe that these elitist few can still bail us out of our misery. It is as if they’re the only ones that is capable of steering this nation. They own acres of lands, fantastic houses, luxury vehicles, jetplanes and private corporations and still have the stomach to paint themselves as poor Filipinos. That’s sad but what’s even sadder is that we took it hook, line and sinker.

If only public libraries would have the same funding as the basketball courts in the barrios and the Christmas handouts only then can we say that we truly care for the education of our youth. Perhaps this attitude towards public libraries reflects our leaders perspective, that public education can take the back seat while more visible projects receive funding and attention. Politicians can care less about what books our children can get their hands on – they can’t vote anyway.

My beloved city at dawn.

Perhaps some would say that public libraries are in no way representative of the current state of our public education. For me it does, it mirrors the state of free education in terms of how little attention its getting. When your government is spending less in public libraries and more on beautification and landscaping of your town it only means that education is getting a smaller pie in funding. Are we not voting leaders so our children and their children will have a better future – what does that future hold when we continue to see the crumbling of our free education?

Don’t take my word for it, go and visit you public schools. Its far from what we had.  I’m a product of public schooling and I know how it was like being fed and educated for free. We had longer hours and better classrooms then. Today, we are seeing a decline in the quality of education in every aspect. The exception would be the teachers, these Filipinos are heroes, not a lot of us can do what they do but they’re in a very difficult position and we can’t blame some of them for going outside the country. Just look at the conditions where they’re expected to perform – more students, less hours, more classes, less classroom, more subjects, less book, more work, less pay – the work these men and women do is truly commendable. It’s a pity that they’re made to beg for pay increase and other benefits.

Although the internet is fast replacing the library as more and more students are becoming familiar with the use of technology, its far from replacing it. Perhaps when all books have been digitialized it could very well be the end of the old school libraries. This is one of those things that has the potential to improve our public education as its fast and economical but we have yet to see a government led project to make it feasible and effective. The private Lopez Museum and library has embarked on such project but I’ve yet to see the same vision from the government. Some say that its impossible but with the way these public libraries are pilfered and neglected, I say let’s make it possible.

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2 responses to “Make “Pampublikong Aklatan” Better!

  • Pepe

    ¡Hahaha! ¡Natawá acó dun, Sir Levi!

  • Levi

    Long gone were the days of strict librarians and super-disciplined teachers. I want them all back, they made us all listen and abide.

    If you would notice brother, I believe they were the ones that we have then that they don’t have now.

    Those folks you saw in the Library shouldn’t be there watching Wowowee, they should be watching Eat Bulaga instead… kidding aside = ) C ‘est la ‘vie!

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