/ 14 October 2021

EDUCATION Secretary Leonor Briones highlighted the importance of the support of the business and private sector to the education system during the Management Association of the Philippines General Membership Meeting on Addressing the Learning (Education) Crisis on Tuesday.

“We are underspending in education in relation to our GDP [gross domestic product] and according to world standards. This is where the different sectors come in, this is where the international partners come in, this is where business comes in. An increasing number of business partners have been helping out. The challenge here for business and other institutions is they would have preferences, which is sometimes not exactly the same as our preferences,” Briones said.

“Sometimes there are places where there is an abundance of love and outpouring of donations, and this has to be rationalized of course. These would need cooperation among the donors as well as the recipients,” she added.

Briones was joined by Ramon Del Rosario Jr., chairman of the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd), and Rina Lopez-Bautista, co-founder and president of Knowledge Channel Foundation.

Del Rosario shared that there is a need to increase the budget for education to be at par with other ASEAN countries.

“To bring it up to the standards of the very least that compares well with our ASEAN neighbors to start with because those are the people we are competing with, whom we will encounter with the rest of the world. The sooner we address these things the better for all of us,” Del Rosario said.

Meanwhile, Briones said that collaboration between the government and the private sector is needed to improve the pre-training of aspiring teachers.

“As to the upgrading of teachers, this is a challenge because as we all know education is tri-focalized. Not unlike in other countries where the ministry of education has control over the pre-job training and formation of the teacher, this is where we have to collaborate more with another institution in charge of pre-training of the teachers,” she said.

Meanwhile, Lopez-Bautista noted the importance of providing an enabling environment for learners, especially in their early years in school.

“We really need to start them very young, the resilience, the social-emotional learning needs to start also from very young. They need a safe environment; they need to be able to express themselves. I really believe the foundational skills, cognitive and non-cognitive, should really start from 0-8 years old,” she said.