Educating for common prosperity

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THE World Council for Curriculum and Instruction (WCCI), which has been based in San Diego, California, for the past 32 years, and which has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN-ECOSOC) in New York, held a regional workshop on Asean education in Butuan, Agusan del Norte on May 21-24. This was in cooperation with St. Joseph’s Institute of Technology, and is part of the WCCI nationwide lecture caravan on Asean integration.

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Asean Community 2015 is rooted in the indivisibility of political, security, economic, socio-cultural and humanitarian considerations. Significantly, the road map enjoins Asean countries to ensure the inclusion of educational priorities into their respective development agenda.

In my keynote address, I suggested that these priorities could include:
Creating a knowledge-based society;

Achieving access to primary education;

Promoting early child care; and

Enhancing awareness of Asean among the youths of the region through education.
Further, I suggested some possible WCCI-Asean areas of cooperation such as in:
Strengthening teacher education;

Nationalizing scholarship programs to increase their impact on the development process;
Promoting life-long learning in unserved communities through open-distance education and e-learning;

Creating research clusters among institutions of higher learning; Exchange of best practices on gender-sensitive school curriculum;  Establishing platforms for networking and sharing of best practices on children and youth to strategies and tools; and

Re-orienting curricula to address national sustainable priorities such as mitigating the impact of climate change, national disaster preparedness and indigenous knowledge programs.

The success of any initiative is its sustainability and monitoring to measure
effectiveness, quality and efficiency in the context of the size of the community. It is also noteworthy the outcome-based program accreditation and institutional audits undertaken by private accreditation bodies.

We all agree to learn from the experience of other Asean higher education institutions
through a comparative study and exchange of best practices. Let us examine the benefits from mutual recognition of qualifications and agreements in this regard and pay due attention to Asean 2015 as a vehicle to upgrade education in general in pursuit of Asean Community in terms of human resource development and strengthening of cooperation.
This undertaking is a pre-requisite to Asean regional security and resiliency, economic integration and socio-cultural unity and equity.

Asean countries, as well as other developing countries, face the challenge of strengthening and expanding human resources and reducing poverty levels. In this context, higher education and research are viewed as significant consideration to development policy formulation.

Noteworthy is the Student Internship Abroad Program (SIAP). It gives Filipino students the opportunities for cross-cultural training and skills enhancements to increase their chances for employment in the Philippines and abroad. A significant function of the program is to upgrade their curricula for courses like “Hospitality and Tourism Management” to respond to local needs and international market demands. Both Asean and WCCI could sustain the agenda for harmonizing and strengthening competence/outcome-based curricula and innovative means of promoting international student mobility. On the issue of outcome-based curricula, assessing a curriculum will not be accurate if it is measured only in terms of the outcome. I believe that the issue of performance indicators is relevant and realistic. Outcome is not necessarily based on performance and performance must be related to achievement, not simply on the outcome.

High-caliber teachers breed quality students. Together, they make this world a happier place to live in. Education is the most potent tool against poverty. Educated men and women are the catalysts for peace as they are capable of exercising unbridled human freedoms. Education is the key to a common prosperity based on enduring peace and sustainable development. Asean education is one good example.

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