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Study later

THAT’S right, study later, work now. That is, when you’ve found a job (The Job), edging out the 300,000 graduates of 2017.

There are thousands of successful people who did not finish college that you know about, but they persevered in the work that kept them nourished and happy, physically and spiritually, people who didn’t need a diploma to weigh their worth. Sure, a college degree gives you a chance, but if it was furnished by a diploma mill that made sure you couldn’t write a letter of application in simple English or pass an interview conducted in Taglish, whose fault is it? Too late now to blame your teachers.

While the Commission on Higher Education is busy prioritizing who will receive the college/university scholarships as mandated by law, is there a way to shut down schools that thrive on fees in exchange for dispensing ignorance? The more my friends, including CEOs and COOs (not all of them Child Of Owner), talk about the quality of the labor pool, the more I want to blame the bilingual medium of instruction, started in the early ‘70s when not even Martial Law could force students to hone their everyday English. That policy has always been anti-poor, it’s like telling our graduates they’ll never fit into a job in New York, London, Singapore.

The argument that it’s not the system, not the school, may be valid, but the spunky ones who squeak through were born to beat the system, on their own. They are the exception, not the rule; they are also exceptionally lucky in their life circumstances.

When a prestigious school gave out a score of scholarships for first-time enrollees in grades 11 and 12 last year, the grants were welcomed as a windfall that was as good as hitting the lotto jackpot. Many scholars came from the provinces – the selection process was actually skewed in their favor – and it soon dawned on their teachers that the kids were having dizzy spells because they were hungry, they didn’t have cash in their pockets to buy food. According to CHED Chairman Virginia Licuanan, tuition accounts for only a third of the cost of enrolment. Lucky to be enrolled, you need to be lucky also in the remaining two-thirds of your school life. Double luck for you if you’re a working student. (Jullie Y. Daza)