January 2, 2013
An Open Letter to Students
Dear Students, I hope you thoroughly enjoyed the holidays! I know most of you dread the thought of returning to your classrooms, and there are also some of you who are excited about it simply because of a crush or a sweetheart whom you only get to see during school days. Only few of you actually look forward to school for learning’s sake.
I cannot blame you. There are flaws in our educational system. Instead of instilling the love for learning in students, the system exhausts you with countless unnecessary requirements. The need for tutors after school hours reflect an inadequacy, not of the student, but of a teaching method, and I personally cannot see the point of too much homework when you already spend hours and hours in the classroom. I do not also understand why, instead of emphasizing comprehension, memorization of information that are bound to be forgotten right after an exam seems to be the preferred method for passing with flying colors.
Nevertheless, despite these foibles in the system, it is good to be reminded that education is a powerful thing. While there are people who devote their lives to addressing the needs of the less fortunate who are in want of education, I also worry about the majority who are bestowed with the opportunity to study but squander their favorable circumstances nonetheless by taking education for granted, or intentionally eluding it, or shunning it.
On October 9, 2012, a fifteen-year-old Pakistani girl called Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck by members of the Taliban in an attempt to assassinate her. Why? UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon answered this question aptly by saying, “The terrorists showed what frightens them most: a girl with a book.” In 2009, the Taliban set a decree forbidding girls to attend school. It was Malala who boldly and bravely spoke against the Taliban, causing her to earn a commanding voice in the international arena, but along with that, a threat to her life. Fortunately, she has recovered from the attack and continues to fight for education and women’s rights.
Indeed, education is such a powerful thing that it threatens even the most treacherous men on earth. Most of us are bequeathed with this power without knowing it. As you return to school after the holidays, remember Malala. You are blessed to have a school to be returning to. Despite everything, having an education is still much better than being deprived of it. Since you do not even have to fight for your right to education, the best thing you can do is fight for your right to deserve it. May you always look at learning as a privilege rather than a burden.
Filed under Kape-Writed Articles from The Mindanao Observer