Sunday, June 11, 2006

Packrat and loving it.

As of last count, I have 30 unopened boxes of scale models, ranging from main battle tanks to Gundam kits. My latest purchase: an Armored Core Mirage kit.


Click on the picture to view a bigger version.


I am currently saving up for something big. Something that would probably sit at the middle of my display cabinet - if I can get around to building it, that is. I figure, I'd still have a couple of weeks of saving to go, then this baby's going to be all mine. And she will be worth every penny.


Click on the picture to view a bigger version.


Yeah, that's right. The Millennium Falcon. And when I get it, I promised the wife she can buy clothes equal to what I paid for the kit. Anything to keep her happy, and me from having to sleep on the couch.


Pictures courtesy of HobbyLink Japan

Sunday, June 04, 2006

I'll Learn Ya...

The school year is about to start and there's still quite a shortage of classrooms and teachers. It's the same problem we get every year.

Part of the problem is that there are more children going to school than the previous year, but population control cannot be solved overnight. The politicians, the Catholic Church, the various NGOs guarantee that this particular battlefront won't be resolved any time soon.

Increasing the funding for education, now that is something the government can address right away. It may be as simple as making a law that requires a reasonable percentage of the Countrywide Development Fund (a.k.a. 'Pork Barrel') be allocated for educational purposes: building classrooms, purchasing books and computers, and paying for a portion of the teachers' salaries.

And there should be a law that obligates the Congressman to have the school buildings named after him. Now let's see them skimp on the buildings; no self-respecting politician would have a shanty bear his name.

I was told that it costs P 1-million and about 3 months to build a single classroom, I say it can be build for half the price and a third of that time. I refuse to believe that, what with the advances in pre-fabricated materials.

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If the candidate failure rate of one call center is indicative of the state of the Filipino's ability to communicate properly in English, then we are in deep trouble. More than 80% of the candidates fail in their English communication skills, this, at a time when the rest of Asia is scrambling to become proficient in the language. And it is not only that, we are also lagging behind in the Sciences and Arts. Where did we go wrong?

It is the teacher's responsibility to educate the children. But what if the teacher is the one lacking in the necessary skills to properly guide the children? Their hearts are in the right place, but it is a sad fact that our beloved teachers are overworked and underpaid. They are also vastly outnumbered, with some schools fielding a teacher to student ratio of 1:90, when recent studies proffer a more manageable ratio of 1:40.

Adequate funding is the only solution. We need more funds to re-train the teachers, more funds to hire new ones, and more funds to give them better equipment and materials to aid them. The cost may be high, but one we cannot afford not to pay.

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The people in government would argue that there are more pressing matters to address. The national debt, for one. There is no denying that we need to pay our obligations. But they have also said that our number one export is our skilled laborforce, they send billions of dollars back to the country. The government has also cited the growing demand for call-centers and other similar business ventures that help bring in much needed funds, all this with an applicant's success rate of less than 20%. Imagine the possibilities of a success rate of 100%.

And so I ask this, why can't we invest more in education again? It reminds me of the whole egg and chicken problem, about which came first. We've got to start somewhere, and I say it's with education. We owe it to the children to provide them with a decent education.

And, for the record, the egg came before the chicken.