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  1. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    1,270
    #1
    Identity crisis in our universities

    By Dr. Niceto S. Poblador
    Inquirer
    Last updated 11:12pm (Mla time) 10/22/2006

    THE RECENTLY FORMED ASSOCIATION of professionals, Philippine Business for Education (PBEd), has sounded off the clarion call to address the dismal state of Philippine education.

    The business leaders that comprise this organization are best positioned to know that our educational system is simply not producing the knowledge resources that this country so desperately needs to compete effectively in a global, information-driven business environment.

    There are countless reasons for the sorry state of education. One that certainly stands out is the failure of universities as social institutions to play their mandated role in society.

    I shall argue here that universities in this country, with rare exceptions, have become ineffective in their social roles because they have lost their sense of mission and have become insensitive to their responsibility in addressing the crying needs of Philippines society.

    Universities today are suffering from what could be termed as an identity crisis.

    Most of them operate as quasi-business organizations funded by individuals, religious organizations, or private foundations that serve as the equivalent of shareholders in business corporations.

    This group of stakeholders is entitled to the residual incomes of the universities, however, these returns on invested capital are labeled.

    As a social institution, however, the university serves society and its many other stakeholders in many, often conflicting ways.

    Traditionally, the university has had the important role of serving as repository of human knowledge and culture.

    In this capacity, the university is seen as having a maintenance function, that of insuring continuity of the community’s cultural heritage, its knowledge and technological base, social mores, values, beliefs and traditions.

    By all outward indications—the recent nursing board examination scandal, for example—many universities are blissfully unaware of their role in preserving our national heritage and the human values that have long been part of our culture.

    Social role

    The university has yet another important social role. The university must also serve as an agent of change for society.

    This function of the university has in recent years assumed greater importance due to the dramatic transformation in social, political and economic organization brought about by the information revolution, changes that are taking place at an ever accelerating pace.

    As a major player in the creation and dissemination of knowledge, the university plays a key role in helping individuals, communities and other institutions adapt to these changes.

    Indeed, the university itself must also learn to adapt to these changes. Regrettably, universities in this country have been remiss in fulfilling their social function as active participants in the change process.

    In today’s fast-changing and increasingly complex society, universities must also serve the conflicting interests of their many other stakeholders. Among the direct beneficiaries of the universities’ activities are their students and the prospective employers of their graduates.

    Free enterprise education

    Most universities in the country today see themselves as being “market-driven” and produce the types of knowledge and competencies that are in demand by students and employers. As a rule, students enroll in courses that they perceive will enhance their “employability.”

    However, in satisfying these perceived immediate needs of their students, universities fail to provide them with the basic knowledge and competencies that are essential for life long learning and personal growth.

    Without these personal skills, they are unable to continue learning after they leave the university, and they will fail to achieve their full potential as productive members of their organizations and of the community.

    The demand of most prospective employers is typically for the types of knowledge, skills and capabilities that are considered “useful” and “practical” for the organization.

    Not too many employers actively seek creative, innovative and critical minded graduates because they tend to be “intractable” and hence, unproductive.

    Yet, ironically, this precisely is the type of knowledge workers that organizations need for their long run survival in today’s fast-changing, highly complex, and continuously evolving world of knowledge.

    Moral obligation

    I believe that the university has the moral obligation to change the misplaced perceptions of their “’customers,” and to convince them that their long-run interests, and those of society, depends on a different type of knowledge and value orientation than what they have long been accustomed to demand and to pay for.

    The faculty comprises yet another important group of stakeholders in any university. Its professional teaching staff constitutes the university’s collective mind and soul, and its main workforce in service delivery.

    In addition to decent incomes that satisfy their basic economic needs, professors must also be provided with ample opportunities for professional development and the wherewithal for leading wholesome, productive lives.

    Long-term interest

    This in the long run is in the interest not only of the faculty, but indeed, of the university itself.

    A final group of stakeholders in the university, mentioned at the early part of this column, are the individuals and organizations that invest the needed funds and resources.

    This group of stakeholders typically requires their appointed agents—the men and women who manage and administer the university “to run a tight ship,” as the expression goes, and exert pressures on them to maximize organizational efficiency and effectiveness.

    Regrettably, by being too focused on achieving short-term, measurable results, university administrators frequently compromise not only the long-run interest of the “owners” but more importantly, those of all the other stakeholders in the university as well.

    There are no hard and fast rules for solving this crisis. In the ultimate analysis, much depends on enlightened academic leadership and a high sense of moral responsibility among those who make the critical choices, both in and out of the university.

    These, regrettably, appear to be in short supply in this all-important sector of our society.

  2. Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    39,176
    #2
    Unfortunately in our part of the world, people dont seek higher learning just for the sake of learning.

    People just want a diploma. It doesnt matter if they learn anything or not, basta makapag tapos para makatrabaho na.

  3. Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    22,710
    #3
    Well, part of the blame lies in the traditional structure of our educational system.

    My Mom has wanted to move over to problem-based learning, a system that produces critical thinkers, innovative, with a global or holistic approach to their profession, as opposed to traditional system graduates, whose knowledge is compartmentalized, and who need extra time after graduation to learn what they need to know.

    Thus, we produce students who have the requisite book knowledge, and who are trained to pass written exams, but who are not necessarily ready to practice right away... they still need further training to qualify.

    Take me, I'm from UP. Three and a half years of academics and only six months of practice before graduation... how is that going to prepare me for work? Whereas students from Problem Based Learning programs are already practicing by the second year.

    The problem with problem-based: Most educators are uncomfortable with it, because it's not what they're used to... and it doesn't necessarily produce the best board ratings...

    Although, in some schools, it produces terrific doctors.

    I wish we could implement it ourselves.

    As for schools being businesses... that's a sad fact of life. We can't change that. The only schools which don't function like businesses are state-run schools, and without the need to watch their wallet, there's a lot of waste in the way they spend money. Or the way they used to... because of budget cuts, school spending for state run schools is now tight... and that negatively affects the quality of education.

    Ang pagbalik ng comeback...

  4. Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    4,631
    #4
    Speaking of cash-strapped state universities, UP has already announced that it may be upping the tuition fee at PhP1,000 per academic unit, a 300% increase from 300 per unit. Miscellaneous fees will also skyrocket from PhP600 to PhP2,000.

    Buti pala naabutan ko pa yung dating rate (lecheng STFAP yan!), but this piece of news is still saddening.

  5. Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    39,176
    #5
    Culture yan.

    Dito sa atin, education is just something to get over with as soon as possible. More like an obstacle than a source of enlightenment.

    So naturally, people dont really care about quality or if they learn anything. who cares about quality and learning when all that really matters is getting the diploma.

    Follow the movement of market forces... if i cant get my diploma from the big name universities, there will always be some other university out there who will give me a diploma. Kaya ang dami nagsulputan mga school sa atin. There is strong demand for finishing school... but there's little demand for quality education.

    we are diploma driven rather than knowledge driven.

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    Our prevailing culture is--- to get ahead, all u need is lakas ng loob, good looks, and diskarte. Look at those undereducated personalities in showbiz and govt. They are nowhere near being role models for education.

    But they made it. That sends signals to our people ---- who needs education?

    Kaya ang dami sumasali sa Starstruck.
    Last edited by uls; October 25th, 2006 at 01:21 PM.

  6. Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    4,631
    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by uls View Post
    Our prevailing culture is--- to get ahead, all u need is lakas ng loob, good looks, and diskarte.
    Just as bad is when people resort to nepotism to get ahead. Aasa sa kamag-anak, kaibigan, kakilala para lang makapasok sa trabaho. Dadaanin sa palakasan.

    Two months ago an elderly guy came to the office with a teenaged boy, and they were looking for our VP. Turns out that the old man is the VP's brother, and he was hoping to get his son a job with the help of dear old 'uncle'. Matagal na pala silang pinagtataguan ng VP namin, because he hates handing out favors, especially to kin. And he doesn't want to give the impression that he can easily employ his relatives just because of his position.
    Last edited by Bogeyman; October 25th, 2006 at 01:29 PM.

  7. Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    39,176
    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Bogeyman View Post
    Just as bad is when people resort to nepotism to get ahead. Aasa sa kamag-anak, kaibigan, kakilala para lang makapasok sa trabaho. Dadaanin sa palakasan.

    Two months ago an elderly guy came to the office with a teenaged boy, and they were looking for our VP. Turns out that the old man is the VP's brother, and he was hoping to get his son a job with the help of dear old 'uncle'. Matagal na pala silang pinagtataguan ng VP namin, because he hates handing out favors, especially to kin. And he doesn't want to give the impression that he can easily employ his relatives just because of his position.

    That's another example of how people here get ahead Mr. Bogeyman...

    We live in a free market system but our people do not get ahead based on merit. there are many shortcuts and people see other people get away with it and that causes people to seek shortcuts instead... coz it works.

    sad no?

  8. Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    1,049
    #8
    Ganito yung narinig ko before sa Divisoria:

    "Marami ngang alam si ______, wala namang pera. Hindi naman siya kayang pakainin ng utak niya."

    Sabay tawa yung dalawang businessmen.

  9. Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    22,710
    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by uls View Post
    we are diploma driven rather than knowledge driven.

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    But they made it. That sends signals to our people ---- who needs education?

    Kaya ang dami sumasali sa Starstruck.
    Truth! and Truth!

    -------

    *Bogeyman: 1000 per unit? Ouch. Not surprising though, that additional 200% is exactly what the Government was subsidizing all this time.

    Wonder how long UP can keep its edge that way, when people find out how much less of that money that UP earned went into improvement of its facilities and teachers.

    Bwisit kasi ang mga aktibista... if they hadn't protested, UP could have had performing assets in its unused lands now instead of paying the upkeep for under-utilized and old facilities...

    Even sadder note: Ex-Chancellor Nemenzo is up on rebellion charges, what's up with that?

    Ang pagbalik ng comeback...

  10. Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    8,837
    #10
    education is best used on how to get ahead with other people. kung pepetiks petiks ka lang, lakwatsa, at tatambay-tambay, dont expect to reach the achievements of other great people.

    the problem with the Phils, sa dami ng lakwatsador noon school time, nag-reresort sa paawa effect like mahirap sila, ganito lang kaya ng utak nila, may problema pamilya nila, broken family etc., nag-discriminate ng professor nila and all that defeatist attitude.

    education is just the beginning. hindi iyun ang talaga achievement like many people believe.

    those businessmen who earn more money that intelligent ones, they're more educated on how to get ahead with other people. the problem with some people, they educate themselves too much ... masama din yun over-education tulad ng lack of education. actually hindi naman ganun kasama, you just become a specialist. and like any other specialized tool, ganun na din tingin sa'yo. and like a specialized tool being replaced by technology, ganun din fate mo.

    kaya make an effort not to learn too much or too little.

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Identity crisis in our universities