Education challenge

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Thursday, June 19, 2014


NOW that the problems our country faced during this year’s opening of classes have been largely tackled, the matter of our pursuit of learning moves up. The challenge turns toward the higher level, where the products of the lower stages are tested for its quality and appropriateness.

Otherwise, of what use would be our early efforts to open the minds of our young if it would not help them find ways to attain better life?

The executive director of the Asean University Network (AUN) has pointed out that the Philippines and higher education institutions (HEI) are on the right track with our efforts at reforming the education system, highlighted by the implementation of the K to 12 basic education program.

Essentially, the challenge, according to the AUN executive director, is to sustain the reforms and implement the program in order to truly improve the quality of education.

What is really the point here is that higher institutions of learning should further train the graduates in the basic levels so that the need for higher-trained workers for industries and manufacturers would be met.

Universities and colleges should tie up with potential employers and adjust their curriculum to the expertise needed in business and industry. It is important that the graduates meet Asean’s needed human resource.

Under this learning outlook, education for students in the first two stages of the system should be receptive and adjusted to the higher level. It should not be limited to just English alone, but should be open to the basics of the sciences and other languages.

Or, as pointed out by AUN executive director Dr. Nantana Gajaseni, also open to information technology, leadership and decision-making. By having a broad basic background, they would be more market-competitive.

To this end, the Filipino HEI students should not just be effective and competent in courses such as English, science and technology but also develop other competencies such as leadership and having an analytical mind. They should also be trained on decision-making.

This way, graduates shall have acquired for themselves added value to their learning.

And when the Asean integration pushes through next year, the Philippines would be more deeply competitive and effective compared with other member nations.

It should be noted that the AUN is an organization formed during one of the Asean summits. Its mandate is the strengthening of the integration and cooperation among universities in the region.

AUN has 30 university members in Asean, including our own University of the Philippines and the De La Salle University. The other day, the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) presented the education reforms desired to improve the HEIs.

In any case, I believe that with the integration of the universities and colleges operating in the ten Asean member nations under a common policy and a collective program with a common goal, direction, and vision, we would soon have a dependable and dynamic Asean-wide educational system worthy of our pride.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 20, 2014.

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