(A repost of a blog posted last December 7, 2010 in my previous site, http://meilbox.asyanna.com)
If I have the means, I will build an institution and name it the Philippine Leadership Academy.
It will produce graduates with the integrity and courage of Mahatma Gandhi, intelligence of Jose Rizal, and spirituality of Mother Theresa. The graduates will be the only ones qualified to run for public office or even become public servants. Training and formation of these future leaders will begin in Grade 1 and continue until the day they walk up the stage to get their college diploma. Having a high IQ (or at least more-than-average IQ) will be a basic requirement for admission.
Ok, you can laugh now and tell me that I am trying to ‘fish’ for the moon.
Impossible as this dream may sound, I think this is the only solution for us to have government leaders, elected officials, and public servants who will serve with intelligence, wisdom, leadership, compassion, honesty, and integrity.
We have the Philippine Military Academy, right? We even have formation houses for priests. So why not do it for elective and civil service positions when the stake is significantly higher?
However, a 5-year or even 8-year program will not work. The education and formation should begin in childhood; when there is still enough innocence left in a person’s mind. When his mind is still like a fresh sponge waiting for knowledge, wisdom, and integrity to soak everything in.
The parents of the prospective students (future government leaders) should be fully committed to their children’s future as leaders. They should not expect them to become millionaires but maybe just comfortable enough to be able to afford some luxuries every now and then (the government, should of course, give them decent salaries so that there will be no reason for temptations). They should also give them enough motivation and inspiration. Even the parents should live a life of integrity. After all, young people look up to their parents as role models.
We all know that education is crucial to how a person will eventually become in the future. Of course, there is no guarantee that a well-educated person will not end up being a crook someday but with a formation program as intense as what I am envisioning, there will be lesser chances for the ‘churning out’ of a corrupt public servant. The program will be so intense and soul-deep that there will be yoga and meditation classes as early as in the elementary years. Simply put, the education will not just be about atoms, anatomy, governance, Renaissance, poetry, and climate change, but also anchored on the mission to produce graduates who are so spiritually-grounded that they will not even know the spelling of corruption.
A part of their high school years will be spent reading about exceptional global leaders and Nobel Prize winners who left remarkable and lasting legacy for the humanity. They will be taught to enjoy the music of Mozart, Beethoven, and even our very own kundiman, because that is the only way they can connect with the past and appreciate their places in the future. There will be art, poetry, and foreign languages appreciation classes because the only way to broaden one’s perspectives and see the world and its sufferings deeply is to breathe life and art itself; to consider life through the minds of artists, poets, and linguists so that one comes out wiser and richer.
In college, there will be debate classes and mock sessions on how the government operates. Their minds will be pushed to their limits; their creativity nurtured so that they can think of new and innovative ways to govern and make the bureaucracy work for the benefit of all. They will be challenged on how to craft and implement laws and policies that will really work and not some kind of token legislation that are so full of great promises but lack the teeth for proper implementation. They will be trained in the most intensive courses on economics, business, and finance so that they will know how to manage this country’s wealth and resources (including human resources) so that they will not even aspire for overseas trips just to get investors and ODA money to finance our domestic requirements and industries. Their minds are going to be molded so that they themselves will abhor words like nepotism, political dynasty, and padrino systems.
Most of all, the graduates of this leadership academy will NOT steal, lie, or amass wealth. They will be so nationalistic and grounded that having a functional car and a comfortable house will be enough. There will be no dreams for yachts, private jets, and Hermes bags for their wives. Of course, their rich ancestors can probably leave them inheritance to allow them live a good life but those will be reported in public up to the very last centavo spent. In fact, they are just so grounded and selfless that they would rather donate the sudden inheritance (with the condition that it will be used to build factories or assist SMEs).
These leaders will commit their lives to goals bigger than themselves. As what our national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal once said, “It is a useless life that is not consecrated to a great ideal. It is like a stone wasted on the field without becoming a part of any edifice. “
However, in order to have this kind of leaders, we need to plant the seeds. We have to believe in this dream. We need to start while the minds of our youths are still fresh like the morning grasses waiting for the dews to drop on their faces and nourish them.
I am serious about this dream and I hope the 741 million lotto winner will read this message and offer the initial funds for the setting up of this leadership academy.
This is not a paid blog.