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Relevant curriculum, capacity building to make Filipinos globally competitive

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By Marinel E. Peroy 

Having the right to education is a basic human right. However, many young Filipino students do not have access to education due to many factors such as poverty, where some of them consider this as a mere privilege. 

As access to quality education remains a challenge, the Embassy of Switzerland in the Philippines hosted a roundtable discussion with attendees from various stakeholders — government agencies, academe, and private sectors that had a productive engagement last June 26. 

The AIDUCATION roundtable event was represented by: Keynote speaker Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Commissioner Ethel Valenzuela; along with other panelists DepEd Assistant Secretary Dexter Gablan, TESDA Division Chief Gemma Reyes, Aiducation Schweiz CEO Matthias Meier, ADMU Pathways Director Solvie Nubla-Lee, and Synpulse Country HR Ayie Salipot. It was moderated by Kent Primor, the Swiss Embassy’s Head of Economic and Trade Advisory, respectively. 

Topics such as employability in the Philippines, debunking if there was a shortage of talent, and ways to bridge the education gap are some key issues discussed. 

Aid-ucation with tangible solutions 

Being a for-impact organization, Aiducation International has a theory of change that helps build people and nations with the following initiatives: scholarships, mentoring & coaching, entrepreneurship & employability, and alumni network. 

Their partner, Pathways to Higher Education PH Managing Director, Solvie Nubla-Lee described the Filipino workforce as “potential, curious, and we learn early.” She emphasized that to bridge the gap, a career placement office is needed — which pathways help. 

As the world continues to be digitally advanced, students also need to adapt to technological changes. Upscaling is necessary to produce a globally competitive Filipino workforce, especially since regional fora also require holistic and innovative jobs. 

As presented by CHED Commissioner Valenzuela, the ASEAN’s 10 fastest jobs are the following: AI and machine learning specialists, sustainability specialists, business intelligence analysts, information security analysts, fintech engineers, data analysts and scientists, robotics engineers, big data specialists, agricultural equipment operators, and digital transformation specialists. 

“We must invest in research. We really need to upskill our young people,” Commissioner Valenzuela said. 

She explained that there are over 4 million HEI enrollees in A.Y. 2022-2023, and we are still growing the internationalization of Philippine education. She also shared that the increase in higher education participation rate and challenges in attrition rate shall be met with CHED’s initiative towards inclusive higher education. 

Meanwhile, TESDA’s National Technical Education and Skills Development (NTESDP) 2023-2028 highlighted the vision to globally recognize Philippine TVET as a catalyst for education and lifelong learning, workforce, and socio-economic transformation. According to Reyes, this plan has strategic pillars of the following: 1) modern and responsive technical and vocational training; 2) quality production of high-value employability; 3) quality assurance on certifications; 4) collaborations with industries such as government, academe, and stakeholders; 5) a transformative and innovative TVET ecosystem; and 6) to have PH TVET system and harmonized governance. These strategies will empower not only the performance of students’ learning outcomes but also contribute to collaboration between various actors. 

Akin to continuously improving the curriculum, education in all forms shall be a key priority — making the world a better place, one student at a time — embedded with the classroom to life-long learning skills as future leaders someday.

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