(MANILA) – Â Â Former Finance secretary and now president of Phinma Inc. Ramon “Boy Blue” del Rosario says the Philippines must raise its educational standards to meet the challenges of the forthcoming “ASEAN Â education integration” involving ten nations.
Speaking at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati before businessmen and media Wednesday, del Rosario said that for Philippine schools to attract regional students, they must become competitive institutions by raising their standards at par with the best in the ASEAN region.
The institutions must therefore Â have the necessary skilled teachers and Â technical resources to attract relocation of able staff to the country. “Philippine education must have the ability to produce globally competitive talents” – and perhaps use many ofÂ them Â in order for local corporations to compete globally.
“Boy Blue” always believed on the crucial role of education in uplifting the human condition. Good education will ensure that “the Filipino youth will be available and employable when job opportunities are there”. Education must be able to reduce poverty with education and industries in constant dialogue to match curriculum with job demand.
This is done through various provincial chapters of the NIAC (National Industry Academic Council) which reportedly has a chapter in Bohol and Iloilo, among others.
FORMS OF INEQUALITY
Del Rosario cited that the ASEAN region is a huge region with vast potential due to its big 600 million population -with the Philippines and Indonesia contributing a large part (half) Â of the total -constituting a marketplace value of about US$2.4 trillion.
However, vast inequality Â still exists within these countries in terms of differences in growth rates among Â regions, cities vs rural areas , and Â men vs women as in the Philippines. ” Education is one of the tools to equalize this imbalance.”
He cited that the Â high poverty incidence in places like Laos (60%) and (40%) in the Philippines and Indonesia is accounted Â for Â by those earning only US$2/day Â is a sad reality.Â This is contrasted by the prosperity in Singapore where most of the population are highly educated. He forecast that by 2025, there will be a huge demand for highly skilled Â graduates.
Del Rosario also cited an ADB Â (Asian Development Bank) study that showed the Philippines as only No 68 in terms of “financial literacy”.
PHINMA BELIEVES IN EDUCATION
Phinma Inc, headed by del Rosario , walks the talk and invests in education and Â makes available quality education for the middle income groups. For this reason the firm, owned by Oscar Hilado, has already Â bought the following institutions: Â Pamantasan ng Araullo (Araullo University) Inc, Cagayan de Oro College, University of Pangasinan and University of Iloilo.
It recently bought 56% of the huge Southwestern university in Cebu – a move that is Â expected to raise the enrolled students under the Â Phinma Education from 10,000 to 47,000 strong.
The group plans to invest Â P3-Billion more Â to purchase Â other schools in Metro Manila and Cebu and Â in order to disperse opportunity of education Â in the rural areas -will set aside P500-Million more Â to buy schools in the areas of Bicol, Baguio , Batangas and Davao.
The group reportedly plans to have itself listed Â in the Philippine Stock Exchange.
(By Bingo Dejaresco III)