The education sector must face 2022 with more optimism in anticipation of the end of the pandemic, coupled with the hard lessons learned through it, and guided by the collective vision of a matatag, maginhawa, in panatag na buhay (strongly rooted, comfortable and secure life) in 2040.
The deeply rooted life will be highlighted by the Filipino family who are with members capable of spending time with friends, living a balanced professional life and volunteering in service to communities. A comfortable life should be one that is free from hunger and poverty, living in and owning a secure home, having good transportation, and able to travel and take vacations. A secure life is envisioned as having sufficient resources for daily needs, unforeseen expenses and savings; enjoy the peace and security, and live a long, healthy life towards a comfortable retirement.
By 2040, the Philippines will be a prosperous middle class society where no one is poor. People live long and healthy lives, and are smart and innovative. The country is a trusted society where families thrive in vibrant, culturally diverse and resilient communities.
Ambisyon 2040 began in 2015 and stems from a long-term visioning process guided by an advisory committee made up of government, private sector, academia and civil society and in which more than 300 citizens participated with some 10,000 contributions via a national survey.
The bold Ambisyon 2040 needs an engaged education sector to make it happen. Those born in 2022 will then be of legal age, and we may still have time to embark on an educational revolution before entering our education system in six years, and for the benefit of learners these days. -this.
There have been and still are disruptions giving rise to new and emerging demands that offer educational opportunities. Here are some anticipated and envisioned changes (or wishlists) that lead to educational potentials to be adopted and optimized. These changes are also anchored in realizing the envisioned future for the Philippines and in making Filipinos world citizens of the future and beyond.
Digitization and digital transformation
The government will be forced to migrate fully to digitalization if it is serious in providing an efficient public service and if it is committed to reducing corruption. Taxation, for example, may need to be digitized to simplify complex processes and reduce the human contact that breeds corruption. If the private sector is capable of digitally transforming itself, there is no excuse for the government not to do the same.
In the private sector, e-commerce is being accelerated by the pandemic and the adaptive business processes that have allowed businesses to survive and thrive. Electronic commerce is destined to remain and even to reach proportions and innovations beyond our present imagination. Cryptocurrency and blockchain infrastructures enable a larger crypto economy, making virtual objects redeemable for real economic value.
New generation IT, KPO and electronics
The IT-KPO which reached $ 27 billion in 2020 (compared to $ 9 billion in 2010) is an emerging gold mine in the country. From voice-based Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services, it has the potential to become the global center of excellence in Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) if only we can transform ourselves in the areas artificial intelligence, robotics and animation, game and software development, cloud technology and information management.
There is an inevitable pursuit of the metaverse, a virtual reality space in which users can interact in a computer-generated environment and other uses. It is an interface of platforms on the Internet that have built interactive worlds complete with virtual entertainment, socialization and business. Crypto-metavers are immersive virtual worlds with immense social and financial potential.
These, and many others, may seem Greek to many, but they are emerging realities that education should be able to understand and optimize, if it is to be part of the future.
The government will need to provide more incubation centers for microenterprises, especially those in tech start-ups, social entrepreneurship and sustainable enterprises. Microenterprises (89% of all companies) will benefit from a Microenterprise Commission which will ensure access to finance (money), mentoring and the market; mindset and instructions for entrepreneurship; integrated government and non-government assistance; and tax incentives and reductions.
Entrepreneurial MSMEs include the creative and knowledge industries, which have become a trademark of Filipino products and services. A basic law for the creative industries is imperative, and this should spur educational institutions to take it to the next level.
Education should cultivate entrepreneurial thinking and financial literacy in the early years of training. Incubation centers can be academic institutions linked to government agencies and industries that could offer learning in an authentic, more contextualized setting. Education outcomes need to be co-created by the ‘village’ that is needed to ‘educate a child’.
MSMEs generate 62% of jobs. Education can contribute to the employability of its graduates for the productivity of these MSMEs, to the entrepreneurial graduates who will go into business, and to the partnership it can forge with MSMEs to benefit from research and of development, which is the strength of the university.
The agricultural revolution
There is no need to exaggerate the problems and concerns of the agricultural sector, whose production has only increased by 20% in the space of 10 years. There is a need to allow industrial agriculture, which may prompt the government to review the land use law. The science and technology that has proven to be effective among the countries that were formed on our lands (and from which we import our agricultural supplies nowadays), are the same technology that we could learn to apply. Agricultural budget support must drop from the usual 3% to 8% of our GDP if we really want to achieve food self-sufficiency.
The appreciation of agriculture as a viable career among our youth can benefit from productive agribusiness and other value-added agribusiness enterprises in the value chain. Accelerated rural development will inspire young people to be the most productive as a goal-driven generation in their provinces.
Universal health care
RA 11223 was adopted before the onset of the pandemic. It is anchored on a vision for better health outcomes for Filipinos. This will pose a challenge on building public capacity for care, enlisting the essential participation of the private sector, and on building confidence in the ministry of health to orchestrate the ambitious whole-of-government and l whole system. . With issues of supply preparation, financial constraints and sustainability, the education sector may see opportunities for relevant institutions alongside intergovernmental cooperation.
The availability of the essential human resource, the primary care provider, depends on the ability of academia to provide competent graduates through its programs, who may need to pivot towards greater relevance. To be successful, UHC needs empowered people and communities, which academia can take as its role.
The growing number of young voters (estimated at 52% under 40 by Comelec, with 5 million voters for the first time) and the powerful social networks that provide information in real time, there is pressure to professionalize governance . There is an emerging clamor for governance based on rules, science and values. Government technocrats may need to emerge from academia, with values and skills grounded in research.
Ambisyon 2040 can only be achieved through empowered citizens able to ‘review’ candidates, in the same way the electorate may have learned by reviewing even their small online purchases. The education sector may need to play a proactive role, not in influencing decision-making, but in developing critical thinking that would enable its learners to discern biased disinformation in the digital space.
Academia may need to engage its learners in careful thought to take a stand on many issues and dilemmas in a globalized world. He understands the issues of climate change and environmental protection in relation to the God-given Filipino wealth of more than $ 1 trillion in mineral reserves, the equivalent of Saudi Arabia’s oil. We should also engage in a conversation about foreign direct investment (FDI) that we may need to attract to infuse new capital, technology and best practices from the competition it may impose on our local industries, which may have difficulty competing. There is also a dichotomy between the global preference for Filipino knowledge workers who are offered compelling salaries and benefits abroad and our need for their expertise and services to propel our own growth. Our perceived need to break down local oligopolies by opening industries to foreign competition that threatens many comfort zones. Our need to optimize exchanges with China, but with ambivalent paranoia because of its lack of respect for the decision of the Arbitral Tribunal, which is in our favor. The need for multilateral cooperation with democracies around the world for various national interests, but with reservations about how ordinary Juan Dela Cruz might benefit. The need for a credible national security policy with our barely available resources to protect our territorial seas as an archipelago, at least for our food security.
Education has the power to transform young learners into global citizens capable of co-creating a society that we collectively choose to deserve. Ambisyon 2040, if achieved, may no longer be enjoyed by many of us. But surely it will benefit our children and our children’s children in a country which is the only one we have.
No Filipino should lose faith as long as we believe in the Almighty. No Filipino should give up on love, as long as there is reason to live. No Filipino should give up hope while there is education.
Dr Carl Balita is a Doctor of Education, Certified Teacher, Registered Nurse and Midwife. He is a member of the board of directors of the Philippine Franchise Association and chairman of basic education of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He is an award-winning entrepreneur and media personality, author, university professor and trainer. He is a columnist for BusinessMirror, on leave after submitting his certificate of candidacy to the senator.
This document was presented at the swearing-in and investiture ceremony of the Local Colleges and Universities Accreditation Commission.