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Reflection Paper

Name: Donna Belle R. Apoyon
Degree Program and Year Level: BA (History) II
Course: CD 101 (Philippine Society and Community Development)
Reflection Paper #1
The Gift of a Colonial Education
Write a one-page reflection paper responding to the question “Having adopted most of
the features of a colonial educational system, should one consider it a gift or not? Why?”
As Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can
use to change the world.” It is the key to eliminating gender inequality, to reducing poverty, to
creating a sustainable planet, to preventing needless deaths and illness, and to fostering peace.
Those are the positive things that education can help solve the modern world problems but the
real question is that what if this tool was inculcated to the people through colonialism. What
would one must do? Just go with the flow and let the Americans change what you have
perceived before as right and just or resist it and be critical of it? I for one can say that having
adopted most of the features of a colonial education system is a curse. It is not a gift for it
changed everything for the Filipinos back then and up until today.
As Filipinos, we should be fully aware of the miseducation of the Philippines that has
affected our upbringing and even the way we are raisingthe the next generation. After 333 years
of Spanish rule that changed our religion to Roman Catholic, American imperialism took hold.
After this came what Filipino historian Renato Constantino described as the great
“miseducation” of the Filipino people. The U.S. introduced a public school system in the
country and recruited multitude of American teachers who are later called the Thomasites to
teach Filipino children about US culture, history, and politics. Priveleged gifted Filipinos were
sent to college in the US. After their stay, those pensionados are obliged to go back and serve
as civil servants, teachers, and engineers.
Since childhood, we were educated to commend the US and conditioned to equate US
with civilization, opportunity, and righteousness. Meanwhile, Filipino culture was given of
little value. The US did this for colonial exploitation to the point it was exporting its
agricultural products and natural resources that it could no longer feed its own inhabitants.
Given this dire situation the role of the Filipinos in the decolonization process is minimal. Most
of the things that are depicted in our media still reflect a colonized mentality. Hence,
educational reform in the Philippines should happen. It is important to support this reform for
we need to undo our miseducation. For instance, our history that was written by Americans is
not the history that Filipinos should be taught. Filipino should be the main language taught in
schools. This can be conntected to Barrameda’s statement that the sole emphasis on English
has devalued the Philippine languages to the realm of popular media and casual
conversation. This attitude implies the Philippine languages are not meant to be developed
and intellectualized — another symptom of colonial mentality. This time we should make
surethat real history shall prevail.