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Commentary: Education and schooling

By Bong Pedalino

Maasin City (18 June) -- "My education," Winston Churchhill once said, "was interrupted only by my schooling."

With due respect to the former British Prime Minister, his idea may be garbled, and perhaps taken out of context, when we put the word "sex" before education.

But in a sense the thought still fits in an isolated reverse perspective: schooling can be interrupted when the youth put more emphasis on sex, especially the verb variety, not the noun.


If I be allowed to venture a guess, the scourge on interrupted schooling among the young may be the rationale why the Department of Education (DepEd) pushed through the controversial subject, at least as it is now being pilot-studied in selected schools.

When pupils and students can be made fully aware of the bad effects of pre-marital sexual adventure -- fathering a child for a young man, pregnancy for a young woman -- they may have second thoughts on indulging too soon in it.

Or when they start thinking that plunging down in such unwanted acts may ruin their future, their careers, dreams, and ambitions of financial stability, then for sure they will be responsible enough and avoid it at all costs.


If these had been the encompassing purposes and objectives, fine, well and good.

Yet why should such a teaching module be specifically labeled sex education -- as if it would educate the students all about sex, again the verb, not the noun?

And as traditional opposition to such a delicate matter usually contend, are imposed learning on contraceptives not far behind?

Is this not a subject usually discussed only among married couples seeking birth spacing methods, or those needing family counseling from health experts and professionals?


Real sex education is definitely a complicated thing, and teaching it to children aged 10, 11, and 12 can add complication to an already complex situation, where the teacher somehow is pressured to be careful he/she sticks to the value of education and not the malice on sex.

It is no less challenging to be taken up among high school teen-agers, with the mentor threading the delicate balance between theory and practice, lest the kids may go out of bounds, going beyond academic discussion and into the dangers of actual experimentation.

But as DepEd's top bosses are wont in saying, this is not the real thing, only the anatomy, the body's various systems, social behavior and conduct, including personal care, has been highlighted -- these had been integrated in such subjects as biology and health, anyway.


Learning, like education, is a lifetime process, and as a person grows his, her understanding of the social environment around, as well as the internal changes in physical attributes, will certainly be grasp deeper and deeper as one ages.

Schooling, on the other hand, where one is confined within a certain campus, sometimes is limited in scope, in time spent, and can be treated like a passing fancy in a period of our lives, where compliance for a passing grade is a priority so that one can graduate.

The practical world outside the confines of the school premises certainly offers a wide-ranging possibilities where anyone can enjoy life learning new ways, reinventing or innovating old styles.

Here, anyone can be educated, without necessarily being interrupted as far as schooling is concerned.


LOCAL FRONT: City Mayor Maloney Samaco, when sought for comment on the hot issue, said he would prefer the sex education taught only in high school, not in the elementary, for fear kids may be curious about it much sooner. But Mayor Samaco said it was just his personal opinion. If we really think about it, such a subject would do well among adolescents, since they can relate more, and expectedly can understand better. Hopefully.

ODDLY YOURS: When a marriage is in trouble, it is commonly referred to as a marriage on the rocks. But in a coastal area in Japan facing the Pacific Ocean, two protruding rocks were wed by Japanese Shinto priests more than 1,300 years ago, and until now their being together was not "on the rocks." The two are still joined by a 30-meter rice straw, replaced three times a year. The husband rock is 9 meters high, while the wife rock is about half the size. Their "union", and by extension their marital bliss through the years, symbolizes the sanctity of marriage. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]

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