IN just a matter of months, Asean borders will cease to exist as countries in the region come together under a much awaited integration scheme.
Surely, this historic event will have great impact on various sectors in the Philippines and induce changes in industry, agribusiness, education and all other activities that affect society.
Some questions remain on the country’s preparedness for an integrated Asean, but ready or not, the Philippines will embark on a historic journey that was conceived eight years ago. A pact to create the Asean Economic Community (AEC) was forged primarily to create a single market to ensure the free flow of goods, services, investments and skilled labor.
What all this boils down to is competition and cooperation.
This leap is expected to also shake the education sector, which only recently was jolted with the implementation of the Kto12 program.
The K-to-12 was a preview of the changes in the education sector as a result of the Asean integration scheme. The new education program, which adds two years in elementary and high school, was one of the policies introduced to bring the country’s education at par with other nations.
The Department of Education, policy makers, heads of educational institutions and other concerned sectors should see an integrated Asean as an opportunity to improve and modernize the curriculum. Such improvements can be made possible through partnership agreements with educational institutions in other Asean countries.
Through government-to-government tie-ups and school partnerships, our schools may have the chance to enhance their research programs, acquire modern tools and equipment such as computers or obtain inputs on better teaching or mentoring methods.
Teachers and students can also benefit from student exchange programs.
The Philippines and other Asean countries will be wading into uncharted waters when the integration scheme takes effect in December this year. But instead of doubt and apprehension, Filipinos should look at this about-to-unfold development with hope.
Growth, be it in education and business, can be achieved through competition and cooperation.
(The author is the School Principal 1 of Batangan Elementary School in Gonzaga Cagayan)