Oh that should be the least of your worries, Senator Angara.

Those 100 academics you helped ship should come back but their return shouldn’t be tied to utang na loob. It’s a worthy cause for the academic but the government must be able to capitalize on these scholar’s potential contributions by uplifting the standards of education here as well.

Mind you that a number of our academics abroad are there primarily because of the government’s failure to provide better learning venues. Our state universities rot due to budget cuts. Teachers sacrifice better lives by staying in the academe. And I’m glad you see things that way.

But how about the rest of us here, Senator Angara? How about the rest of the academics who toil for their own academic development all while paying taxes and serving the country? The answer I’m looking for is not about creating more opportunities to go abroad, it’s about making sure that our own institutions are able to provide world class instruction.

Let me indulge my jaded sense of idealism in this. The point is, we never have to go abroad for quality education. Don’t get me wrong. As an academic, I know the importance of gaining perspectives, especially cross-cultural ones. Overseas travel is a personal frustration quite frankly. I know I need it.

It’s just that the opportunities to study abroad are limited, and, if present, are only accessible to those who can actually afford it. Yes. Realistically speaking, scholarships abroad, even with waived tuition and allowances are expensive. These scholars stand to lose more personally and financially than what they can gain intellectually.

The rest of us who can’t afford must content ourselves with the available instruction locally, most of which even fail to address 21st century concerns.

So you can’t really blame scholars for not wanting to go back especially if the prospects are to take up positions handling overbooked courses in ill-equipped classrooms and laboratories and virtually non-existent research projects.

Until the whole system of education is sorted out, everything’s basically moot. Sending scholars abroad and urging them to go back simply breeds frustration. And frustration breeds stagnancy.

As for the rest of us here, we’re frustrated. And yes, stagnancy is being bred.

No academic wants that. But that’s what the government has done and continues to do to us.

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