This is how I shall present my topic as gathered from my readings, personal observation and introspection.
First, I shall expound on what quality education really is. This I shall discuss lengthily because its true meaning has been relegated into oblivion. Today most people equate quality education with the exclusiveness of the school and its high tuition fee. This is not necessarily true. You shall understand this in the course of our discussion.
Then I shall touch in the role of clean environment to effect quality education and how vandalism disastrously affects quality education.
Lastly, I shall throw a challenge to the students for possible measures to eradicate vandalism so that clean environment can best facilitate the progress of quality education.
Education comes from the Latin verb “educere.” Literally, this means “leading out of” everyone his true self, a person created after the image of God with all his talents, abilities, and potentials. For the young and the adolescents, this drawing out of the talents and abilities to become their best selves as persons needs the guidance and understanding why we are all in school. The students hope that we guide them to become their best selves and we the teachers are the mature individuals who can best help them in the process.
Education is a continuing process, a never-ending process. Unless you have become your best self, you are far from educated yet. It is indeed a tall order which everyone is to strive for; yet quality education is measured only through that – becoming your best self. My dear students, our role as teachers is to help you develop your God-given talents, abilities. Having unfolded them, it is now your responsibility to continue on your own this quest to become your best self – physically, intellectually, spiritually, morally, etc. – in fact, all the facets of your personhood. Once you have become your best self, only then can you truly say that you are educated. And that, my dear students, is quality education. Everyone of us – the young and the not so young – we are continually education ourselves. It is never easy to become our best selves. In fact, it is easier to be our worst. It is much easier to misbehave than to behave properly; far easier to be dirty than to be clean. It is hard to become our best selves because of our fallen nature. But God is so good. He has given us the Free Will – we can decide to become our best selves. It is actually a matter of CHOICE: to be good or to stay bad; to be clean or stay dirty.
That brings us to our next topic, the role of clean environment to effect quality education. Although environment encompasses all the conditions which bring about the development of anything, in this case, quality education, we shall focus our discussion on the physical environment of the school, the venue of quality education. We all love to see a clean surrounding, clean rooms, clean rest rooms. They make us feel good. We love to be surrounded by all these because of their aesthetic quality. A sector of the school, the janitor staff, is in charge of this job; yet it should be everyone’s responsibility to maintain its cleanliness. Teachers and students should make it a habit to throw their trash into the trash cans.
Considering that we are a part of the environment, we should always keep ourselves clean – and this is personal hygiene. Your H.E. and Health teachers can best expound on this. We should not only be clean in appearance, we should also be clean in thoughts, words, and deeds. As we aspire for quality education, we should abhor foul and indecent language. Our brain, being the central nervous system, should be fed with the best thoughts. With these best thoughts, decent words and good deeds literally follow. Then everyone will be sharing quality education with one another. Isn’t that a beautiful situation to look forward to? It is not an impossible dream. Any school becomes a haven of quality education where students and teachers strive to become their best selves – intellectually, socially, etc. again, every facet of one’s personhood.
Our discussion on a clean environment leads us to the phenomenon called vandalism. This is the act of destroying any property whether our own or others. This comes in the form of writings on the walls or graffiti – destroying chairs, tables, windows, what have you. A survey in a secondary school showed the following reasons for vandalism: (a) for fun (b) peer pressure, (c) expressing anger. Whatever is the reason, the fact remains that vandalism in antithesis to clean environment. If all around the students are writing on the walls, destroyed chairs, destroyed tables, etc. the aesthetic quality of the environment which is conducive to quality education is gone. What gets to the brain, the central nervous system, is literally trash. A popular adage is appropriate to give: “What goes in, goes out.” Another cliche is: “Garbage in, garbage out.” What kind of words and deeds would we expect from students who are fed with trash? Vandalism, therefore, is disastrous to quality education.
Lastly, may I call on all students to mobilize themselves and think of ways to eradicate vandalism in the campus and later on, on one’s immediate community.
This is my challenge to you today: How can you facilitate quality education through anti-vandalism? The proposals should be feasible. I shall end this discourse with the hope that I have put across two important points: that clean environment can facilitate quality education: and that quality education can be attained in any schools where teachers and students strive to become their best selves – clean in thoughts, words, and deeds.