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How Many of Our Educators Today are Intellectually Honest?

A friend told me when they had a new school administrator, they were assured that he would perform his official duties and responsibilities honestly and protect the integrity of the teaching profession in all candor and sincerity. They had no second thoughts about his sincerity for he was a deeply religious person, he never missed a day going to church with the holy rosary always clutched in his saintly hands.

Unfortunately however for this devout and religious school official, his portrayal of himself as an honest person was only short-lived for, just after a few months in office, he succumbed to temptation and like his predecessors, committed graft and corruption like nobody’s business. His teachers told me later that he was as corrupt as their previous school administrator. So there went the great pretender, a great deceiver, a hypocrite, making religion as his subterfuge to deceive his teachers and the people in the community to get their support and cooperation. Because of greed and power, he forgot himself, his covenant with God, and even forgot his poor and unfortunate friends (but not those who could wield power and influence) who were once upon a time very faithful and loyal to him. He became vindictive, arrogant, and ill-mannered. Can this school official claim to be intellectually honest to God and himself?

This school official is only one of several in our midst who are intellectually dishonest having earned a Master’s degree without getting into formal schooling. Since he was a deeply religious person, can he claim to be intellectually honest to God and himself?

There are other cases of intellectual dishonesty among educators such as falsifying school records to make it appear they have finished a degree. Others simply buy Transcript of Records and other documents which are readily available on the sidewalks of Metro Manila and elsewhere. Others buy awards and solicit plaques of appreciation to earn for themselves points for ranking and promotion. Still others simply enroll in a Graduate School program without attending classes and presto! After a year or two, brandish their master’s degree or a Ph.D. Degree. Since most of these school officials are deeply religious, can they claim to be intellectually honest to God and themselves?

There are also some (not all of course) school officials who earned their degree by copying or cheating during comprehensive examinations. A friend who was himself an examinee, told me that the test answers of their co-examinee passed from one hand to another. After passing, they qualified to do research and write a thesis or a dissertation. Because he is a mediocre student (having passed the comprehensive examination by cheating or copying), he presented a master’s thesis or dissertation which he/she had not written or authored. Because these school officials resorted to such shenanigans, they are intellectually dishonest, pretending to be brilliant, but in reality are mediocre. Because some of them are deeply religious, can they claim to be intellectually honest to God and themselves?

Intellectual dishonesty has become a matter of common knowledge today. A researcher who has just finished his doctoral degree discovered that a lot of graduates who acquired a masteral degree in education presented a thesis which was copied verbatim from a finished research. Others simply paid somebody to write a thesis or dissertation for them. If these educators are deeply religious, can they claim to be intellectually honest to God and themselves?

Hence, to be deeply religious is not a guarantee that such person will display the highest degree of intellectual honesty and professionalism. For we have been witnessing today so many government officials who proclaim themselves as deeply religious, never missing a day going to church walking on their knees from the door of the church to the altar praying but after performing their religious rituals, return to their normal self, scolding and maltreating their servants, scolding their subordinate employees, being unjust and unfair to their employees, are corrupt and, for all we know, are mediocre people. Can this kind of educators claim to be intellectually honest to God and themselves?

If only these educators are honest to themselves, they would not have acquired a master’s degree or a Ph.D. degree and occupied a high and sensitive position in our educational system. But because they are dishonest to themselves, they enroll in a Graduate program even if they know that they lack intellectual acuity to undergo such a highly academic endeavor. Unfortunately, because our educational system acknowledges the acquisition of such degree without question as to how and where such degree was acquired, these mediocre are now holding top and sensitive positions in our educational system. It is no longer a matter of what one can deliver as the output of his genius, but the string of degrees attached to his name. Can this kind of educators claim to be intellectually honest to God and themselves?

At this time when we are trying to reorient and develop good moral values of the undisciplined Filipino, these intellectually dishonest educators do not show values worthy of emulation by our young population. If deeply religious he is a hypocrite and a deceiver of the highest degree. If this kind of educators continues to deceive us, can they claim to be intellectually honest to God and themselves?

Educators must be true to themselves, i.e., be models of honesty and integrity (not cheating or copying during comprehensive examination) and stop lying that they are not getting 10% or more from their infrastructure projects. They should match their religious pomposity with exemplary behavior, both in public and private life. They should not play favoritism, helping only those who can help them in return such as in getting a promotion or transfer. Since he is a leader to all, even those who are not supportive of him, he should treat everybody with all fairness and sincerity, not just those who are close to him who he showers with unlimited favors because he owes his position and promotion to a particular person, organization, or department. A leader must know that too much dependence on the advice of his close advisers may eventually lead to his downfall. It could also mean he does not know much about the functions of his office and for this reason is a weak administrator. It could also mean that he is product of what is now known as a “culture of mediocrity” now plaguing our educational system. Because of intellectual dishonesty, he got what he wants by aping politicians, cheating during comprehensive examination just to finish a degree needed for the position he is aspiring for. Can this particular educator claim to be intellectually honest to God and himself?

It is awfully unfortunate that in this unfortunate country of ours (I say unfortunate because we prefer to appoint mediocre to top positions in our educational system instead of people of proven competence and intelligence, and elect dishonest, corrupt, incompetent, and criminal persons in government) we give so much premium to people who are holders of MA or Ph.D. degrees. How these educators got their degree and where they acquired it is immaterial. Because of this, we have today an innumerable caravan of mediocre trooping to our Graduate Schools for no other purpose than to acquire a master’s degree or a Ph.D. degree. Since some Graduate schools are diploma mills, the mediocre easily pass with flying colors. Can these mediocre claim to be intellectually honest to God and themselves?

Going back to the subject propounded in this article: how many of our educators today can claim to be intellectually honest? There are a few of this kind now remaining in our school system and if our society becomes more corrupt, the intellectually honest educators in our midst will soon become extinct.


Emmanuel Mangubat

DepEd Teacher Contributor

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