IN A COUNTRY where education is of great value among its people, there seems to be a growing trend of making negative comments and expressions to those who have high intelligence or are critical thinkers—hence, the term “smart-shaming.”

Expressions such as “Ikaw na magaling!” or “Edi wow!” are now viewed as common responses to people who presumably share more information than what’s needed.

With the continuous increase in the number of Filipinos on social media, it has always been easy to share and disseminate information that are new to public.

Often times, though, we are also quick to react and even criticize those who have new ideas to share.

More than the intention of poking fun, it is disappointing how good conversations get halted by such responses; instead of engaging people in meaningful conversations, many social media users take such sharing of ideas as an offense. It is as if we Filipinos appreciate being ignorant to things that we find difficult or unnecessary at the moment.

The National Statistics Office’s 2010 Census of Population and Housing shows that 97.5 percent or 69.8 million of the 71.5 million Filipinos aged 10 years old and above are literate or can read and write.

Considering the high rate of basic literacy in the country, Filipinos should not settle for the mere ability to read and write. Rather, we must pursue for higher education to continuously improve ourselves as well as the country.

We value education and even consider it as a key to a bright future. But how can we attain intellectual progress if we continue considering the pursuit of knowledge as sort of a threat?

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It is ironic how most Filipinos want smart and experienced leaders and look down upon politicians who are deemed incompetent due to their minimal educational background, but at the same time, engage in smart shaming among their peers.

Every so often, a lot of Filipinos say “Nosebleed!” when someone fluently speaks English, as if the language is very new to their ears and is not the second language of the country.

However, this should not be the case considering that the Philippines was named as the best country in business English proficiency for the years 2012 and 2013 by the Global English Corporation, posting better results than that of the United States and United Kingdom.

Smart-shaming is a manifestation of how we value the pursuit of knowledge. It is disappointing that there are people who mock those who zealously try to learn and share new learnings and ideas.

With a quick access to vast information, especially with the Internet, everyone has no excuse not to explore and learn things that are foreign to oneself.

Filipinos should quit smart-shaming if they want continuous self-development.

They should remember that a country’s growth immensely depends on its people. Intelligent minds mean the continuous growth and development of a people.

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