Thursday, January 2, 2014

Education in a changing world

ASEAN 2015

by Hermilinda J. Meniolas
Victor Bernal High School
Nabua, Camarines Sur

I was one of the three secondary school heads from Camarines Sur who had the opportunity to attend the 3rd International Academic Colloquium last November 21 to 23. Along with Fe Peralta and Hilda Bustilla, I travelled to the Concourse Convention Center in Legazpi City to participate in the conference, which was done in conjuction with the celebration of the foundation anniversary of Bicol University.

The theme of the conference, “ASEAN 2015: Perspectives on People Mobility and their Implications for Higher Education,” I believe, was timely in this day and age when the erosion of boundaries among nations due to technology has become an undeniable fact. As goods and services flow across the ASEAN economic community, inevitable effects on education are observed.

Beyond recognizing this phenomenon, however, it is crucial for us to probe into these effects to understand how our institutions can cope with them. Through the conference, we were able to gain insights into these effects thanks to studies conducted by nationally and internationally-renowned experts in various fields.

The conference was graced by the presence of Hon. Roman T. Romulo, Chairperson, Committee on Higher and Technical Education, House of Representatives, Manila, as the Keynote Speaker. It started with the opening program on the first day with the Provincial Governor Joey Salceda, the Mayor of Legazpi, Hon. Noel E. Rosal, the Regional Director, CHED V Dr. Freddie T. Bernal, and the SUC President IV of Bicol University, Dr. Fay Lea  Patria M. Lauraya, who gave the Welcome Remarks. This was followed by the MOU signing: Passage to ASEAN 2015, in which representatives from the Bicol University, Catanduanes University, University of Northeastern Philippines (UNEP) and Rangsit University of Thailand participated.  The Colloquium Overview and Mechanics were subsequently given by Dr. Nora L. Licup, the Dean of BU Graduate School and the Colloquium Convener.

Various topics were discussed during the colloquium, among which were: “Trends in Social Marketing in the Context of Higher Education: An Entrepreneur’s Perspective”  by Pacita U. Juan, Founder and Social Entrepreneur, ECHOstore Sustainable Lifestyle; ““Renewable Energy: Bridging Academic Research and Community Outreach” by Director Douglas W. Jackson, Tenessee Renewable Energy and Economic Development Council  (TREEDC) International Affairs, USA; “Development & Governance Challenges” by Dr. Ronald U. Mendoza, Exec. Dir. AIM Policy Center, Mla.; “Integrative Medicine: Its place in the Public Health System” by Dr. Jaime Z. Galvez Tan, MD MPH, former DOH Secretary; “Rural Development and Inclusive Growth” by Edicio dela Torre, Consultant, DA, Quezon City; “Project NOAH: Adddressing Disaster Prevention through Science” by Oscar Victor V. Lizardo, Chief, Science Research Specialist, Project NOAH, DOST Manila; and “Public-Private Partnership in Local Governance” by Hon. Mayor Noel E. Rosal, City Mayor, Legazpi. Meanwhile, the theme was discussed by the SUC President IV of Bicol University, Dr. Fay Lea Patria M. Lauraya.

Every paper presented added to our understanding of the current situation. As the conference progressed, it became more and more evident to me that the status of higher education exists within a larger context that is affected by issues in energy resource management, health, and governance, among others. The idea that it is unrelated from these is only an illusion; anything that happens in any of these fields will necessarily have a direct influence on education. In the end, I realized that this is why it is important to always keep abreast of the developments that occur in society. As an educator, it is truly a part of my responsibility to strive for an understanding of these changes, and to continuously share what I learn about these issues to the rest of the school community.
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