Makati City, Philippines - Advocacy group Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) on Monday called on education stakeholders in the country to work together and support reforms by choosing leaders who will prioritize the role of education in the national development agenda
Over 100 leaders representing the government, industry, academe and civil society gathered at PBEd’s annual policy forum in Makati City to discuss policies needed in the education sector as the country gears up for the 2019 midterm elections. The policy forum featured experts led by PBEd President Chito Salazar, Dr. Nene Guevara of Synergeia Foundation, and Gabriel Demombynes of World Bank.
“There is a need for stakeholders across various sectors of society to be deliberate and coordinated with our efforts to push for reforms in education. However, it is as crucial that we choose leaders who are going to advocate for these policies that are aligned with the Philippine long-term development plan,” PBEd Executive Director Love Basillote said. Under AmBisyon Natin 2040, the Philippine government’s long-term vision for national development, the country’s education system must ensure that graduates acquire relevant competencies and develop character qualities to guarantee an improved quality of life for Filipinos.
PBEd Chair Ramon del Rosario said Filipino graduates lack the skills demanded by industry and the Philippines has one of the highest rates of youth unemployment in Asia. Based on latest data from the International Labour Organization, 21.7 percent of youth in the Philippines are not in education, employment or training as of 2017.
“This goes back to the poor learning that happens in our schools as evidenced by low scores in the National Achievement Test. And although there are noble efforts to arrest these trends, they are at best sporadic and in grave need of coordination” he added.
Del Rosario added that stakeholders must work together and synchronize efforts calling for education reforms. “Let us disabuse ourselves of the idea that we can go at it alone: our individual efforts are small in comparison to the enormity of what is demanded of us. Indeed, we will be measured ultimately by our collective persistence and our ability to make inroads hand-in-hand,” he said.
As an advocacy group focused on education, PBEd pushed for the K to 12 reform and the use of mother-tongue based teaching and learning for early primary school. In line with its workforce development thrust, PBEd promotes greater industry participation in standard setting and skills training, improved labor market information systems and increased partnerships among the government, industry and academe. On teacher quality and learning, PBEd calls for the review of teacher education admission and graduation standards, closure of non-performing teacher education institutions and licensure reform for teachers.