History has brought us through several “economic” ages, which defined economic development according to the predominant wealth generation sectors of society.
Thus, in the agricultural age, wealth was created through resources such as land and related production. In the industrial age, it was generated from factories, which were at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution. Fairly recently, it is the information age that has caused massive wealth generation from information and computer technologies.
Today, it seems we are going back to basics. We see an emerging new era, the age of human resources (HR), the period when personal leadership, values and creativity are leading the way in redirecting national aspirations and world economics.
Education is key
There is no doubt that the best investment a person can make is still on his own education, one that would develop his intellectual quotient (IQ), adversity quotient (AQ), emotional quotient (EQ) and entrepreneurial quotient (EntrepQ). But what do we find in our schools today? It is still the same old way of teaching subjects and courses in methods set forth during the Industrial Revolution. While computers and Web technologies are somewhat employed, the basic structure for education remains practically the same.
Grades are given based on subjects and on individual excellence demonstrated in examination results. Somehow somewhere, something more substantial is lost. The blending of the knowledge and wisdom that make a person whole and prod him on to be a doer does not take place. There is very little of applied sciences and applied knowledge that is practiced in campuses. Each one must still fend for himself as he steps out into the real world.
The challenge then to all parents are: how do we wake the genius in our children? How do we motivate them so that they experience little successes every so often? How do we make it a habit for them to persist and innovate? Is having a college degree the end game for them? A masters degree perhaps? Or is it something else?
The big gap
Defining the skills to be learned, the teaching and learning processes and yes, even the medium of communication to be used is a must if we are to fill the existing gap between the education system and the present society’s needs. Society and industry can close it, but it can only be done if we focus on what is needed in the market place and not operate as though our ultimate objective is to secure degrees and diplomas for our children.
Slowly we are seeing this happen. More and more people are realizing the effectiveness of short but intensive courses focused on actual problem-solving in industry and governance. Leadership seminars are now the flavor of the month. And rightly so, for they focus on values and mindset; goal-setting based on an individual’s capacity and role in his organization and community.
While this is going on, we see companies running their training courses in cooperation with educational institutions as they operate in their respective communities. A whole new world is opening up and the beauty of it is, unlike most opportunities, it is one that’s open to all, to small and big communities alike.
Hopefully, this trend will find its way in our public school system and will lead to a serious focus on two specific critical areas in the development of competencies. For far too long now, our educational system has allowed the development of critical thinking among local students to slowly disappear. Our grading systems today put more emphasis on memory rather than logical thinking. This does not encourage creative thinking among the youth. It will not take much to infuse this direction in our schools. It simply entails the will to do what is timely.
Another area of competency that has great potential for income generation among the youth is in languages. Everything is going global and multinationals are moving to Asia for markets and more significantly, for personnel with communication skills. This is one opportunity we should not miss out on. Investment required in developing this industry is minimal, particularly if we adopt technology in our teaching methods. Multilingual Filipinos make for massive entrepreneurial opportunities, and it takes so little to capitalize on this potential source of income.
The gap in telecommunication is narrowing, too. Costs of communication in all forms are decreasing at a rapid pace. VOIP, email, texting and other forms of wireless media have reached practically all the cities and municipalities of the country. It is not inconceivable today to run telephony services from one’s own home. What a mega difference from just a decade or so ago!
Francisco J. Colayco (FJC) is founder and chairman of the Colayco Foundation for Education, an institution that provides financial literacy to ordinary income-earners, overseas Filipino workers, small business entrepreneurs and students. He has over 40 years of experience in the fields of service contracting, manufacturing, construction, shipbuilding, management consulting, banking and financial services. Mr. Colayco has authored four books on personal finance management. For comments and questions, email email@example.com.
Raul L. Locsin Building I
95 Balete Drive Extension,
New Manila, Quezon City,
Extensions: 706, 709-711
Direct Line: (632)535-9923
Fax No.: (632)535-9925
Email: New Media Group