The Importance of History
…and the Educated Youth of Today
by Apolinario Villalobos
Some educated youth of this generation do not seem to know or are familiar with the country’s history. Just imagine the consternation of a field TV reporter interviewing a student when asked, who the first President of the Philippine Commonwealth was. The student was obviously caught by surprised and could not utter a word. The reporter asked her another question about Tandang Sora to which she finally replied as “a place in Quezon City…in Commonwealth Avenue”. When asked about her school, she proudly mentioned a university along Espaῆa St. in Sampaloc. Her current school has got nothing to do with her ignorance, but her previous schools, those she went to as an elementary pupil and the one she attended as a high school student. Still, on her own, she could have, at least, exercised a little diligence in enriching her knowledge about her country. The danger here is that, she may transfer this ignorance to her offspring, a vicious cycle which is happening today.
That is the irony of the current educational system. Schools give attention to their need in developing with the time, with reference to the fast technological transformation of practically everything that influence life. So, schools are worried when their computer system is outdated or they do not have the latest modules for courses that they offer to be more competitive with other educational institutions, to entice more enrollees. But sadly, many courses today, do not fit in any way to jobs that are available. This lackadaisical approach in the current educational system, also shows well in how institutions seem to have disregarded the importance of basic knowledge of our country’s history, shamefully manifesting in the ignorance of some students who thought that they have learned enough.
On the other hand, some students, themselves, may be blamed for their ignorance. At an early age they get fascinated with the games in the internet. Growing older, they get glued to its social webs….facebook, twitter, etc. They would rather browse for photos that they could share in their timelines or exchange messages about trending issues. They disregard sites that are just clicks away from the facebook or twitter pages. These are sites from which they can gain insights on what the Philippines was, years ago, and the people whose gallantry propelled the country towards democracy.
Worse is the discernible attitude of some students who are seem to be just proud about their ignorance of their country’s history, as if trying to give an impression that they belong to the modern hi-tech age. That is why, they are no longer interested in what happened before. During the latest May 1 Labor Day protest rallies, one young student was asked why he joined the march. Without any hesitation, he said, “there is no class anyway, and I am with my boardmates”. Obviously, he has no knowledge about the historical significance of the traditional May 1 celebration, and the historical issues behind the insufficient wage for which the different labor unions are fighting for. All he knew was that he was having fun, marching and shouting slogans with his boardmates.
College or university graduates whose parents pawn properties and spend lifetime savings for their education, find it difficult to land a reputable job. They failed to check historical information about the course they have chosen, courses that become useless as they do not fit the requirements of available jobs. These are the young graduates who look forward to clerical jobs in the air-conditioned offices but, which come in trickles compared to the surge of good paying technical jobs, some of which require only two years of studies and on-the-job trainings.
A little looking back will not result to a stiff neck, but still, most of the youth, especially, the “highly” educated who believe they belong to a different realm, refuse to do it. They just refuse to learn some lessons from the failure of their predecessors in the past, lessons that could give them a push forward. For their failure to find a job, these ignorant youth blame the government for “not creating jobs”, insult the President for being a “slave” of America, blame employers for low wage, etc. They blame practically everybody, except themselves who waste precious time playing internet games in cafes or chat with friends about show business happenings.
Given a chance to rise from his grave and live again for even just a few minutes, I cannot imagine what Jose Rizal would say about the Filipino youth of today. Will he still say that “the youth are the hope of our nation”, when some of them may not even have an idea that it was he who uttered this hopeful statement? They who have no idea where Mt. Buntis is? They who do not know where Maragondon is? They who have not heard of Princess Tarhata? They who do not know how to pronounce the letter “R” properly when speaking in Filipino? They who shout obscenities in front of the US Embassy but toe the line for an American visa to be stamped on their passport?
For the youth who may happen to view this discourse, don’t lose heart if you honestly think that you do not belong to the “some” whom I mentioned. Instead, extend a helping hand by admonishing those whom you think are concerned.