Outside perspective

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By Gingging Avellanosa-Valle

Bahin sang Bubay

Monday, January 13, 2014

THE past few days have given me a totally different perspective that allowed me to consider some personal beliefs that, for some time, has defined my truths. I have to confront my inner “nemesis” that has disturbed me for quite a while now. In so doing, I also inevitably shook an inner conviction.

Now that I have distanced myself for a while from something that I have identified myself, I have become more conscious of the kind of truth that I have learnt from it. There is somehow a reality that does not augur well with what it spouses, that is why, the thoughts that I am having now is unsettling.

College life has opened my eyes to the reality that indeed, education should not be a privilege as it is a right. No one must be deprived of it for reasons of poverty. And yet, so many among our peers in my generation were not able to pursue education because of grinding poverty, because instead of going to school, they have to work to be able to eat each day.


Decades have passed and I found myself facilitating knowledge to a handful of youths who are in pursuit of an education that they hoped will bring betterment to their lives. Then the question again beset me, because much later on, many among them were unable to continue their studies because they do not have the means to do so.

For many of them, studying have become impossible when work demands their time and energy. Then eventually, they are forced to quit school when the going gets rough, whey their employer can no longer give them the little time required by their schooling, when circumstances opened their eyes to the futility of their efforts.

Not once was I confronted by these realities because I still believe that knowledge should not be hindered by the lack of financial support. But my short stint as a mentor has opened my eyes to the realities of the youth of today andI could not simply close it and continue dreaming.

Education has been and still is a privilege for a few, for the haves who are "blessed" and not for the multitudes among the poor who do not have anything but their hopes and their dreams to go on living.

Perhaps, it might be true to a handful of poor youths who were "lucky" enough to continue their studies because some politicians sponsor their needs, but they are being deceived into believing that such an act was pure service when it often ends up a self-serving 'benevolence' if one can call it.

One of my students who happen to belong to the Indigenous Peoples was forced to stop his studies when he can no longer bear the hardships, even when he was about to finish it with only a semester to go. It made no sense to me at all, but I can also see his reality. His struggles brought me back to my own college days, when I too had to face the finance office and be told that I still have a balance to settle and therefore I cannot take the final exams because I have to pay first.

The feeling of frustration and anger was difficult to contain. These feelings could have been shared by my students too.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 13, 2014.


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