Educational Opportunities and Threats to Society The Japanese had the vision and it was to reinvigorate the sense of nationalism and common identity of the Filipinos. However, beneath these good intentions lies a hidden agenda. The Japanese wanted to acquire more power and desired to be known as the superiors of Asia. They also wanted to destroy the influence and authority of the United States and England posing them as states that have abused Asian countries for their own profit and interest. However, the Japan is no different from these Western colonizers.
Education was put to halt with the coming of the Japanese invaders. However, the Japanese knowing the importance of Education in promoting their ideas, some schools reopened provided that they practice the 6 basic principles of education and are always supervised by the Japanese authority. Also, during the Japanese occupation everything was under control and manipulated by the Japanese authority. In the case of school systems, books were looked and studied. No books should exemplify any strong feelings of recognition towards the Americans and English. On February 26, the Japanese Military Administration organized a committee composed of Filipino and Japanese experts for the purpose of looking over the existing textbooks.
The committee laid down the guiding principles governing the elimination of parts of textbooks considered by the Japanese inconsistent with the ideals of the new dispensation. Those to be eliminated, in the opinion of the Japanese experts, were subjects dealing wit things Anglo-American; matters designed to propagate the idea of Anglo-American democracy or liberalism; pictures, poems, or symbols which had close connect ion or association with the United States and Great Britain; sentences and pictures expressing anti-Japanese or anti-Asiatic opinions and sentiments. (Fateful years, p. 429) The banning of certain books paved way for the deterioration of the curriculum because all that was studied were the only things that the Japanese government allowed. Controversial issues such as democracy, freedom and other were not discussed. History and political science, which were taught in the Junior College, were the most affected by the New Order, for such topics as Japan's conquests, the history of the Allied nations, and international politics were passed over safely and cursorily. The main thing was to follow the rules laid down b the Japanese Military Administration.
Prudence was the better part of valor, and the professors who used to be fearlessly analytical now kept their prudence to a very high degree of arid distinction. (The fateful years, p. 438). Professors can no longer rely on their academic freedom and is subjected to the manipulation of the Japanese. Also, with the reopening of public schools, the Japanese faced another problem which is the lacking of students and teachers.
Many schools could not open all the grade levels-from Grade I to Grade VI-because most prewar pupils did not enroll. This led to the uneven sizes of the classes. Thus, Grade 1 may have forty pupils, Grade II ten, Grade eight, and so on. To allot one teacher to each of the classes would have been a waste of time, effort, and money, particularly at that stage of the economy in which every centavo counted. It must be emphasized, however, that the number of schools opened during the Japanese occupation was rather misleading in the sense that not all of those schools offered complete courses, which is Grade 1 to Grade 6, with at least six or seven classrooms teachers and a head of teacher or principal. (Fateful years, p. 434).
With the growing censorship in the school system and the lack of students and teachers did not help in fostering development in the Philippine education. However, on October 14, 1943, the educational system passed on to Filipino hands. Te Japanese advisers were very much in evidence and practically dictated their wishes on the hapless educators. But there was a little easing of tension, for Laurel, who took over the education portfolio. (Fateful years, p. 452). Laurel did try to elevate the education by implementing assertive nationalism.
He wanted to pursue and foster in the hearts of the Filipino students excellence, character formation and nationalism. He also wanted to remove any excessive materialism sentiments that Filipinos have in order to give help for the weak and helpless. Laurel, who took a very active part in the preparation of the Constitution, wanted to re-orient the mind of the Filipinos in such a way as to make for a healthy development of the nationalistic spirit. (Fateful years, p. 454). Laurel also implemented that educators should take exams to receive a license in order to ensure competence of teachers and to raise their level reputation. He believed that professors should be competent with their occupation and must posses moral virtues to be effective in their jobs.
However, problems still arose such as lack of funds that can improve the setting of the classrooms, no proper school materials that can aid the teachers and others. The rights and dignity of the teachers were also ignored and no laws were made to protect their interests. Salaries are very low and there was no security of tenure, and all instructors were at the mercy of the school administrators. (Fateful years, p. 460). Laurel's ideas in improving Philippine education were promising and geared towards the vision of unity and strengthening of Nationalism however it was not put into effect because of economic conditions of the country and the ruthless environment caused by the war.