IF EDUCATION is expensive, try ignorance. To succeed, you have to put your heart in the business and the business in your heart… that is the business of being educated. Education is about life. Life is not about in having and getting, but in being and becoming. Life is always like that… complicated.
Our Filipino education should be preparing our women and men to be creative leaders. Preparatory school and elementary education should provide all the basic skills for the Junior and Senior High School. In our K to 12 Program, we don’t expect non-readers from Grade 7 up to Grade 12. Those grade levels should already provide a solid foundation on what course the child wants to take in college.
Global education does not end after graduation. Excellent Filipino graduates are not just contented with a bachelor’s degree. They look forward to finish a master’s degree and a doctorate degree (the title of the holder of the highest university degree). That is not ambition, but a necessity to compete globally.
After the graduate school, there are careers in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors of international affairs. In this open field, our educated Filipinos will apply what they have learned by combining curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities that would challenge them to face interdisciplinary approach to global issues.
Here, we will put to a test the best educational inputs provided by our colleges and universities in the Philippines. The kind of job and challenges to be tackled by our graduates will include nuanced understanding of the realities of the history, politics, economics, and culture of the international systems. Here, they will apply their fundamental skills of analytical thinking, critical writing, and effective speaking.
Let us go back a little to the classrooms of our colleges and universities. What is the classroom for? The classroom serves as an incubator for intensive interactive sessions with students and faculty. The crucial point is here and we would like to believe that the faculties are experienced in the practice of international politics and the students are able to gain firsthand knowledge of how things work in the messy world of global affairs.
Filipino colleges and universities should instill in our students a commitment to serve in the international community and appreciate the ethical dimension of international affairs. Students should fully understand the international system. It may sound funny but our students should learn what, how, and why people in other parts of the world do what they do and why they think what they think.
To start with, the study of global affairs may start in the Asia-Pacific region that is becoming more central to the global economy and thus creating a zone of fast-paced change in international relations. (That could be the reason why President Digong keeps on hopping from one country to the next to learn their programs on agriculture, economy, education, energy, environment, governance, health, infrastructure, international politics, and technology.)
The present and future global challenges necessitate collaboration of experts from a wide range of disciplines and fields of research. Our colleges and universities should see to it that our students learn from leading political scientists, economists, sociologists, anthropologists, demographers, geographers, historians and specialists in international development.
Here in Silay City, the Silay City Government under the education program of Mayor Mark Golez has tasked Councilor Mildred L. Garay (a former Department of Education regional director) to make a study to identify competent scholars to be sponsored by Silay. Councilor Garay would want to help the scholars improve their ability to anticipate change and give them analytical tools essential for professional success in government, education, business and civil society organizations.
Our colleges and universities should also build core competencies in microeconomics, statistics, and management. There could be important concentration areas in Global Policy, Environment and Energy Policy, Security and Population Studies. It is now a practice that students are made to live in rural villages for weeks for them to gain direct experience with the people they want to assist.
We need competencies in global education so that we can be proud to send our graduates to our deprived communities. We can let them join the creative leaders of the world to start new ideas, to build hope, and to enhance life.