Byline: Florangel Rosario Braid
MANY, including those who are apolitical, now realize that something is wrong with our country and that we must do something about it now. Yet, we are paralyzed into inaction and do not know where to start. One promising avenue where there is agreement is that we must do something about the educational system. Thus, several positive initiatives (Adopt a School), scholarships set up by the business sector, among them taipans like Lucio Tan, Alfonso Yuchengco, Henry Sy, George Ty, and now John Gokongwei Jr. who are investing in tertiary education. In fact, the latter recently donated half of his shareholdings in JG Summit Holdings (amounting to R10.25 B) to the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation, a large part of which will be used in upgrading the quality of education.
These initiatives are much welcome. We need to strengthen the quality of formal post-secondary education as it is the primary source of manpower needed to propel economic and technological development. But all indicators show that our present human resources are not able to keep up with the demands of the global economy and we have fallen behind in terms of competitiveness.
The answer is how we can consolidate, link and network available knowledge resources. This is where the new information and communication technology can address this need. The broadcast media and the socalled new media such as Internet can be effective delivery systems for knowledge and skills training which would complement what formal schooling is able to provide. They can provide solutions to problems of access, equity, and quality.
But for them to meet this need requires consensus by government and other sectors of society on needed policies, programs, and resources. One such program is that of consolidating existing resources. Among potential resources include infrastructure such as the government TV station and two others that it now controls; radio networks, e-community centers, knowledge resource networks like NEDA's Knowledge Emporium, and some 10 councils of the Department of Science and Technology -- National Research Council, National Academy of Science and Technology, PCARRD for research utilization, PCMMRD for marine resources research, Institute of Biotechnologies, etc. There are channels belonging to the private sector (Knowledge Channel, Isla, public service/affairs/educational programs of the TV networks GMA. ABS-CBN, and ABC, cable TV, Tambuli and Gender and Peace community radio, independent cinema, etc.).
There is considerable knowledge generated by non-formal educational groups on development areas such as agriculture, health, environment, etc. …