Learning crisis could drag growth

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    Business has expressed concern over what it called is the learning crisis in the country that threatens the growth trajectory of the economy.

    Eight of the biggest business organizations —  Employers Confederation of the Philippines, IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines, Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, Makati Business Club, Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), Philippine Business for Education (PBEd), Philippine Business for Social Progress and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry  — in online event on Monday   called for urgent and comprehensive  reforms to  address the learning crisis in the country.

    PBEd chair Ramon del Rosario Jr. at the joint membership meeting posed the question to delegates  if the country’s workforce have the skills needed to keep up with the changing business landscape and if industries thrive on the back of a future workforce.

    “If we do nothing to arrest the decline in our education system, the answer to these questions is a resounding no,”  said  Del Rosario.

    Former Education Secretary Armin Luistro, who is currently the brother provincial of the Lasallian East Asia District, said in his keynote address stakeholders in the education sector must focus on five areas in reforming Philippine education. These are social equity, nutrition, budget, curriculum and school management.

    Luistro said poor students cannot keep up with the requirements of distance learning even as 52 percent  of learners are in poor health.

    Luistro also noted the country spends less for education compared to its neighbors.

    “The learning crisis is big, multi-faceted, multi-player and multi-generational,” Luistro said.

    MAP President Aurelio Montinola III called on the business community to reach out to other members of society and work together in ensuring that economic growth still remains inclusive.

    “Almost 3 million Filipino students have been left behind; our teachers are put under enormous stress to adjust their teaching methods; families are scrambling for resources to keep up with distance learning; and the entire education system is grappling with the herculean tasks of improving accessibility and the quality of education. Unless we come up with something urgent and comprehensive, we are throwing away the future of an entire generation of Filipino learners,” he said.