Career Academy: Fast-Track Careers vs Long-Track Careers

Not every one in the Philippines has to go to Medical School. Not only because we don’t need a nation only of medical doctors, but also because not every one wants to be a doctor, is suited to be a doctor, has the resources to train for becoming a doctor.

It is the same with the rigorous training for lawyers. It would be a disaster if everyone in the Philippines became lawyers! It is similar with priests. Heaven preserve us from a nation populated only by celibate priests! What would the RH proponents have left to say! Think of the protest by the feminists (if there would be any left)!

The idea of “post graduate” education today is interesting to many, but only a real option, not a universal badge of social belonging. It’s there, but there is no social compulsion to take this.

I think a happy result of creating Career Academies for Grades 11 and 12 (now “Senior High School”) in the currently contemplated educational reform in the Philippines would be: the new institution may relativize the unexamined social compulsion for college. In career academies students and their parents would be able to choose between fast-track careers and long-track careers, both of which are socially acceptable, because both lead to productive jobs as a result of Basic Education.

The focus in on the career, differentiated by “fast” or “long”, chosen according to family, social and economic circumstances, and not on post=Career Academy Education.

Post-Career Academy education, like post-graduate education today, would be a rational option, not a. mindless compulsion.

It is in this sense, I believe, that CHED Chair Patricia Licuanan frankly declares that not all in the Philippines need to be college graduates. From the viewpoint of the economy, the country doesn’t need that all its citizens have completed post-Career Education or college, just like it doesn’t need that all its citizens today have completed post-graduate studies. This is especially so if the burgeoning colleges and universities in the Philippines are in fact unable to deliver quality tertiary education. What it needs is that all its citizens have been prepared for responsible citizenship, for being able to contribute to society’s economy, and for being able to start and sustain a family that is moderately happy.

The outcome of Career Academy will therefore be twofold: first, as Brother Armin says, the young citizen prepared to work and get married after graduation; second, the young citizen who has chosen a career that requires more training after graduation.

Clearly, both streams will benefit from the enhanced (=streamlined) Basic General Education that precedes Career Academy: languages, literature, writing, mathematics, history, and the like. All the graduates of Career Academy will have benefitted from the enhanced K+12 curriculum. But fast-track students will be able to focus on productive/professional skills, while long-track students shall focus on widening their humanistic training.

If my chosen career is to be a call center agent, I will not need to spend class time learning calculus; if my chosen career is engineering, I will not need to spend class time on accent neutralization.

The COCOPEA committee on Grades 11 and 12 under Dr. Rey Vea of Mapua are working on suggestions on how this might be structured academically. I have also asked my faculty and administrators at Ateneo de Naga University to help me in thinking through the Career Academy.


About Joel Tabora, S.J.

Jesuit. Educator
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