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The Extinction of Dinosaurs (in the Classroom)

As certified “dinosaurs”, only a small percent of us knew how to manipulate computers. While waiting for actions from the Department of Education, students with teachers and parents from my school sold raffle tickets to buy all the needs for computer education.

The fund-raising rang a bell to some institutions, like Rural Bank of Sagada and Smart Telecommunications, to help us reach our objective.
These establishments donated items to be used as prizes for winners. In fact, Smart donated PC’s with discount on internet services.
Before that activity, Sagada National High School was known for its very poor condition. The school owned no good building and lacked books for the library.
Since it is the only public school in town, the community tried to help completing necessary materials for the students. After the renovation of its nearby elementary school, all recyclable materials including roof, nails, lumber and windows from the elementary school were transferred to our school to be made as a “make-shift building.”
All parents of the school were obliged to lend one day construction works. Thus, when I enrolled as freshman in the school, my classroom was in the make-shift building. 
The one-story building was erected on a vandalized basketball court. Sunlight can get through the classrooms since the galvanized iron that served as walls was full of holes from nailing. 
There were holes on the floor and when it rained, water runs through the floor from one classroom to the other. The ceiling was dripping and the windows are literally from the demolished building of the elementary school.
For the library, families with excess books donated books. The association of the parents and teachers always opened their sentiments to the lucky people in town to help the school that has nothing- but still students who cannot afford the education from the rival private school St. Mary’s School are getting higher and higher.
“We do not need quantity, stated Mr. Sixto Daluyen one morning when the school was confronted with many enrollees that cannot be accommodated. We need quality.”
However, the school had no choice but to accept these students. The schools just implemented strict rules to screen “quality” students who are left to enjoy the very poor condition of the school’s facilities.
A supposed building stopped its construction after its engineer reported the area where the foundation was made was a sinking area.
With our lessons, we were following “by the book.” Since the school has no enough facilities to cater to our learning experiences, we were given “theories” that lack some sort of application.
One of the necessities that all schools should have was a computer laboratory. After raising a good number of computer units, our teachers rushed to teach us basic computer manipulation. During the first day of the tutorials, my classmates were shocked.
“Kanak nu TV ya monitor gayam nan kanan sina,” noted one classmate who always called the monitor “tv.” Thus before I went to attend my college years in Saint Louis University, I learned how to type and open a Friendster account.
Despite the poor condition of our school, our teachers always told us that we have to find solutions to our problem. A Filipino teacher always told us to do planning before executing. 
They were all right; why wait for the government to give us a good building, computer laboratory when we can move and have them.
Moreover, our school was considered top. In every competition, we always placed first. During assessment examinations, our school ranked first over private schools in Mountain Province.
My parents always told me to be thankful of the education given by my school. They said public schools in the urban areas are much worse. I said even in the more remote areas, schools are worse. I found this out when my parents asked me to walk going to my father’s homeland. In the middle of a mountain, there is a school where there classes were held only in the morning. According to folks in the area, two grade levels occupy one classroom with one teacher.
These issues on education are however perennial. They live from time to time and even the best economist or the wisest dictator cannot get rid of them. I left SNHS five years ago for my college education and when I returned, the school has acquired a building (erected on the reported sinking area) with more facilities.
When I watch news and learn about the situation of these schools that were the situations of schools even when my grandfather was teaching, I always think of that raising of funds to buy computers. In a school in Manila, there are thousands. If they follow our deeds, they can also have facilities.
 The problem with Filipinos is that they wait for the government to give them the dose of their problems. That is why schools never improve; they wait for the president to send them relief facilities. If they just call for parents and work for one day, they can have all the things they want for better education.

Christian is a Marketing Communications practitioner in Quezon City. He is an Igorot from Sagada, Mountain Province. To get in touch with him, please shoot an email to christianaligonow@gmail.com.

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