COMMENT: On Pacquiao?s HS ?Graduation?

But questions should be asked about the Department of Education’s Accreditation and Equivalency or A & E test for high school administered to Manny and his brother Bobby at the Ireneo Santiago National High School in General Santos City last February 3.

Pacquiao’s taking of the test was covered live by television and so was his “graduation” last February 20 and published in newspapers – in the Philippine Daily Inquirer in its February 22 issue.

On February 20, besides signing Pacquiao’s A & E certificate “before a huge crowd at the DepEd headquarters in Pasig City,” Lapus also called a press conference to announce that in passing the A & E test, Pacquiao became “a bonafide high school graduate and eligible for college education.”

Lapus heaped accolade on Pacquiao calling him “an inspiration to the youth,” especially the school dropouts, and naming him “People’s Champ for Education” and “special ambassador for the agency’s Alternative Learning.” Beautiful title conferment!

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BY THE WAY: It appears that Pacquiao’s fans nationwide are against his entering the political ring. That is if the February 25 report of the Philippine Daily Inquirer is a valid gauge. The same may be said of his fans in General Santos City.

The PDI report mentioned insulting remarks by fans against their idol. The report mentioned two surveys, both against his entering politics by landslides.

In the first survey by Boxing Confidential, of the 1,020 participants, 84 percent or 857 answered “Hell, NO!” On the local website Pacland.com, 91 percent, or 11,360, of the 12,484 respondents rejected Pacquiao as a politician.

I think Pacquiao should listen to his fans. Instead of spending his millions on politics, he should use it to set up a foundation for the education of indigent youths as well as for medical aid to the poor in fulfillment of his title as “ inspiration of the youth” and of his political desire to help the poor, if elected.

With his incomes from his future fights and from his endorsements of commercial products, he can put in more millions into his foundation. The moneyed among his fans – they are many – will surely donate hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of pesos to the Manny Pacquiao Foundation.

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There were facts that the Inquirer should have elicited from Lapus and other sources to make the report more informative and interesting.

Eligibility

Lapus stated that the Pacquiao brothers had “dropped out of high school because of extreme poverty.” He should have been asked in what high school did they study and in what year level did they drop out?

Here in General Santos City, there was a talk that Manny Pacquiao just finished Grade 2. Later, there was a report that he finished Grade 5.

To be eligible for the A & E test for high school, was it enough for the Pacquiao brothers to be high school dropouts? Or, did they have to take special instructions? If so, where, when, how long and under whom?

Lapus furnished the Inquirer a briefing paper on alternative education for children who, handicapped by circumstances, cannot take the regular classes offered by the Department of Education. But it was not clear if the Pacquiao brothers had taken any of the alternatives before applying for the accreditation and equivalency test.

It was well known that since winning his second victory against Erik Morales, Pacquiao’s activities had been well covered by media. These did not include his preparation for the A & E test – which, had he done so, would have been covered as much as his taking the test and his graduation.

Credibility, Validity

Obviously to impress that the A & E test is credible, Lapus said that last year, of the 50,000 that took the test, only 20 percent passed. But he did not give a break down of the 50,000 by year levels and in which year levels were most of the 20 percent passers?

That would have been significant in appreciating Manny Pacquiao’s achievement. If he was a First Year dropout, his passing would have been more appreciable than being a Fourth Year dropout – or more unbelievable to the doubting Thomases.

How valid was the A & E administered to the Pacquiao brothers? The test contents could have shed light on this.

In English communication proficiency test, were they asked to develop a topic in so many words – 100, 150, 200 or more? What type of reading comprehension test was given?

In mathematics, besides the four arithmetical operations and problem solving, did the test include elementary algebra and geometry?

What did the test in sciences cover? Did it include physics and chemistry?

What did the test in social sciences cover? Besides the Philippines, did the test in history cover Asian and world history?

What were Manny Pacquiao’s scores? How did they compare with passing norm?

The Burden

Ultimately, the burden of proving the validity of the A & E test he has taken rests on Manny Pacquiao. The test is intended not just to give the takers eligibility status but to enable them to obtain a college education. The same applies to Pacquiao.

Anyway, he told the press that he was seriously considering going to college to take up either political science or management. For his own good – at 28, he’s not too old to enroll in college – he should pursue a college education.

If he hurdles with flying colors the first semester at Mindanao State University-General Santos or Notre Dame of Dadiangas University or any other prestigious learning institutions — much more so, the University of the Philippines or any of the Ateneo schools — he will prove the validity of the A & E test he has taken beyond any doubt.

That burden is part of his task as “special ambassador for the Alternative Learning System” of the Department of Education. His success in college will encourage many high school dropouts to emulate him.

("Comment" is Mr. Patricio P. Diaz' column for MindaViews, the opinion section of MindaNews. The Titus Brandsma Media Awards recently honored Mr. Diaz with a "Lifetime Achievement Award" for his "commitment to education and public information to Mindanawons as Journalist, Educator and Peace Advocate." You can reach him at [email protected])

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