“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” Albert Einstein explains in a few words the difference between information and knowledge. Economic growth of societies today is based in increased capacity of their workforce.
Societies are increasingly building their economies on knowledge. A society means a country, or economy or community, in which knowledge is very important because much of its economic and social activity involves handling information.
There are three factors identified by economists under the “new growth” economic models, namely: capital deepening or the ability of the workforce to use equipment that is more productive than earlier versions; higher quality labor or a more knowledgeable workforce that is able to add value to economic output; and technological innovation or the ability of the workforce to create, distribute, share and use new knowledge.
New growth economic models emphasize the importance of new knowledge, innovation and the development of human capacity as the sources of sustainable economic growth.
For grow this kind of society, we must lay down the ground works for digital citizenship or having the ICT equipment and skills to participate in a digital society, for example to access government information online, to use social networking sites, and to use a mobile phone, while digital literacy comprises of basic computer skills such as being able to do word-processing or go online digital tools.
Aside from infrastructure, facilities and equipment, it is important to ensure that teachers possess the relevant skills. Through its ICT Competency Framework for Teachers (ICT-CFT), the Unesco International Commission on Education for the 21st Century views learning throughout life and participation in the society of learning as the key to meeting the challenges posed by a rapidly changing world. It identifies the four pillars of learning: “learning to live together”, “learning to know”, “learning to do”, and “learning to be”.
As an underlying factor, it is important for the Philippines to seriously take the latest average intelligence quotient (IQ) of the country based on global and regional rankings. While we are far from being the lowest, like sadly in the case of Equatorial Guinea in Africa with an average of 59. However, the Philippine average of 86 is the lowest in Southeast Asia. We tend to downplay this data as we always do with negative reviews of the country. But completely dismissing it will not help us move forward.
While the other new forms of intelligence like EQ (emotional quotient) is important, knowledge economies are built on IQ rather than EQ. The main components of IQ are visual perception, abstract reasoning, pattern recognition, spatial orientation, and analytical thinking.
According to Brain Metrics Initiative (BMI), visual perception is the visual - cognitive ability which allows us to organize, process and interpret visual information input so that we can derive understanding and meaning from what we are experiencing. Abstract reasoning is the ability to process abstract ideas and understand new concepts without relying on prior acquired knowledge. Pattern recognition refers to the process of recognizing, identifying and categorizing complex arrangements of sensory stimuli into organized schemes in a way that facilitates memory storage and retrieval.
Spatial orientation refers to the cognitive ability which allows you to understand spatial relations, meaning the ability to recognize and visualize the orientation of objects in space and make sense of their multiple relationships in a given environment. Analytical thinking is the capacity to break down available information into smaller parts, and then evaluate and weigh-up those parts in order to form logical solutions to problems or make sensible decisions based on evidence.
Given these important components of IQ, the Philippines need to work seriously on investing at least on the minimum requirement of increasing the national average in order to ensure the development of 21st century skills.
21st century skills are those that are critical to developing a workforce ready for the so-called Jobs of the Future, which include critical thinking, problem solving, good communication, collaboration, information and technology literacy, flexibility and adaptability, innovativeness and creativity.
The Philippines must invest more funds and resources in knowledge creation, developing skills based aimed at industrializing this country. We must not allow our workforce to deteriorate in terms of quality. We cannot allow majority of Filipinos to be ignorant. More ignorant, unskilled, underemployed and unemployed Filipinos will affect our country’s growth. Our leaders should not steal away the dreams of Filipino children by putting funds in projects that waste these resources. Leaders must invest and believe in their citizens.