THE NEW school year has opened for most of schools in the country, but some colleges and universities keep their “Enrollment on-going” and “No tuition fee increase” streamers hung for almost the entire year. What comes with the advertisement are promises of easier job opportunities after graduation from celebrity-endorsers, making education look like a piece of commodity available in the market.

Filipinos are not too dumb to know that these promotional scheme—desperate enough to attract enrollees—are merely marketing strategies, but some students just have no choice and, thus, avail themselves of these promos.

Employment-wise, even graduates of major universities find it difficult finding a job. Last month, College of Nursing Dean Glenda Vargas admitted that although UST graduates are given consideration in job applications in hospitals, a number of nursing graduates from UST remain unemployed. For all we know, employment problems are also evident in graduates of other disciplines,.

Education system in the Philippines—perhaps in some schools—has definitely become market-oriented for many years, and it’s about time we find a way to stop the problems arising from this. Schools should never be income-oriented that they depend solely on statistics of marketable courses. If there is any market-related factor schools should look into, then it would be marketing their graduates for employment—not underemployment and certainly not unemployment.

There is only one major reason why most students try hard earning a college degree: to get a stable (or at least, fair-paying) job that will sustain their daily necessities, and hopefully, improve their social status. Many of our countrymen, even with college degrees, chose to be underemployed in foreign countries in exchange of some foreign bills they could offer their family back in their homeland.

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True enough, education is not merely a prestige, but a right, especially to those who deserve it. Studying for four years in college or more is useless if it will not help the graduate use his full potential in the job he will have. There is nothing wrong with drawing a line between professional labor and mid-level workforce, but if the government really wants to solve this “education to employment” problem, then it must remove the stereotypes in the mid-level work force and provide better benefits to our country’s laborers.

Education as a right is simply providing formal and quality education to prepare every student for employment. But what the government is doing—and allowing—only proves that diplomas are merely sheets of paper giving false hopes to students desiring to have a good and high-paying job. Different universities offering in-demand courses had been sprouting all over the country, yet they produce substandard graduates because of substandard education.

The education, and labor and employment sectors must work hand in hand for this to be successful. I am not saying, though, that the government should not support the development of mid-level work force, but the national budget on education must be properly allocated and used.

Moreover, private schools also deserve financial assistance from the government like how it is done in other countries. UST was often criticized with its high population, but one must imagine how many professionals the University has been contributing year by year compared to other schools.

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