EXERCISING one's volition should be deemed a totem of a successful academic trail. For me, a professor imposing his opinion then evoking destabilization in government is a precarious impediment to witness. They say we have an educational crisis, well, this is what's ailing our educational system — a crisis of activism!

Activism is defined as the process of campaigning in public or working for an organization in order to bring about political or social change. Political proselytizing is weaponizing education.

If you are a parent like me, would you allow your children to get proselytized? Parents work hard to earn money to pay for their children's education and yet schools allow their students to be permeated with radical thoughts. Shouldn't this be a lookout of the schools to which we parents entrusted our children?

Students merit accurate and comprehensive information. They should be encouraged to develop independent thought patterns instead of being dragged through a propagandized curriculum. They deserve a rigorous analysis and an honest account of things to assist them in meticulously calibrating their thought configurations.

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In my opinion, professors, not only in public universities but also in private ones in the National Capital Region (NCR), should be vetted. Schools should do a strict background check on their social media activities, among others. As professors and teachers of our youth, our school teachers must understand that they are vested with a major responsibility to either yield patriotic spirit among students or allow them to continue being staunch advocates of the cancel culture. I can tolerate them sharing their own personal thoughts; however, if their influence is already bordering on activism, this calls for strict monitoring as I wrote in my last column "The sin of EDSA."

I have particularly mentioned the NCR because it is apparent that the culture of entitlement was not passed to the people outside this realm. The 1986 People Power Revolution surely affected this culture as it occurred in the main artery of Metro Manila named Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA).

Truth be told, only over 2 million Filipinos joined this revolution as compared to the 55 million Philippine population at that time. This means that more or less, only about 4 percent of the entire population shaped the cartography of the 1986 EDSA 1.

School code of conduct

NCR universities should emulate the University of Santo Tomas for subjecting to non-readmission for the next academic year a student who joined a leftist group unrecognized by his university which he made public when he called for an academic ease. (https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1387210/ust-students-protest-dismissal-of-grade-12-student)

According to reports, this student breached the school's Code of Conduct provision on camaraderie, which states: "The students shall join or form only student organizations whose objectives uphold the vision and mission of the University. Students shall join only organizations duly recognized by the University."

Several protests were held to support this senior high student, but the university held firm to its decision. The UST should be lauded and commended. Universities must be unwavering in their stance in protecting students against activism, including its costs and risks.

This, I think, will work best to mold students toward a citizenry with sovereignty.

A school's code of conduct should also have a policy about independence from political stance. Even top universities in East Asia dissuade their students and faculty from showing political color. Certainly, disowning a professor for her political beliefs after years and years of working in a university without giving her the benefit of the doubt and summoning her for questioning is like leaking a video weaved into a viral story without appropriate verification and letting someone's reputation be tainted because of your reckless acts.

'An opinion is not a doctrine'

The courtesy we extend to our professors, to members of the clergy, and our parents should be backed by a resounding clarion call for independent thinking. Inasmuch as we value what they have to say, their opinions should be just that — opinions. Not doctrine. Not gospel. Not a fact that one should capitalize on.

In this day and age when the theatrical antics in the political stage have evolved with the Church having their role in government which eventually gets accepted by foreign countries, scholarly papers should be our lens, prudence should be our ammunition, and codes of conduct should be our spear.

Academes must value the sanctity of the independent thought patterns of students instead of proselytizing them to pursue activism. Professors, teachers and educators alike should hone the mind of students to open its doors to knowledge instead of spewing them with their personal "ethical" beliefs, then persecuting them for going otherwise. Is education about mind control? I don't believe it is.

With fidelity toward their vocation, I hope educators are geared toward handing students facts then letting the students wrestle with them instead of invoking their indoctrinated beliefs in their students.

There is certainly no silver bullet to national harmony and economic boom. Nonetheless, seething with patriotism, bad professors and educators can definitely weaponize our education system.

Paul Chua, PhD finished 'Essentials of Policy Development' at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore; 'Strategic Management of Regulatory and Enforcement Agencies' at the Harvard Kennedy School; and 'Leadership and Management for Integrity' at the Central European University.