Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Inadequate government support blamed for plight of Philippine higher education

The combined research output of the top ten Philippine higher education institutions (HEIs) at 11,528 will not even come close to the output of the National University of Singapore with 100,893. “That’s just one university in the city-state,” according to Dr. Tereso S. Tullao Jr.

Dr. Tereso S. Tullao Jr. explaining the role of education in the development process.
A National Book winner and economics professor at the De La Salle University Manila, Tullao was speaking before stakeholders gathered at one of the parallel workshops on the second day of the Philippine Education Summit 2016.

Tullao shocking the audience with data and reminding them not to be complacent.
Tullao added that while he is happy to know that his alma mater, the University of the Philippines Diliman, leads the pack with 3,060 when it comes to the research productivity of HEIs in the country; and that DLSU Manila follows UP Diliman with 2,056, he is also confronted with the sad plight of Philippine HEIs in comparison to its neighbors.

CHED executive director Atty. Julito D. Vitriolo (foreground, right) listens to Dr. Tullao.

University heads, scientists, former and current higher education officers were some of the participants at Workshop 8: Higher Education as Accelarator of Innovation and Inclusive Economic Prosperity held at the Taft Ballroom 2 of Conrad Hotel, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City on November 4, 2016.

The participants were divided into three groups. Group 1: Dr. Tullao shares a point with Atty. Vitriolo and UP president Dr. Alfredo E. Pascual

Group 1: University of the East president Dr. Ester A. Garcia shares her thoughts.
Along with 500 delegates, FILCOLS executive director AlvinJ. Buenaventura was one of the stakeholders invited to the two-day education summit. He is the only representative of the book industry in Workshop 8.

The other HEIs with their corresponding research outputs are UP Los Baños with1,923, UP Manila with 1,837, Ateneo de Manila University with 839, University of Santo Tomas with 686, University of San Carlos with 378, Mindanao State University with 319, Mapua Institute of Technology with 215, and Visayas State University with 215.

Group 2: Representatives from Australian Aid and university heads of research.

Group 2: Main ideas were discussed, defended, and some were discarded.

Citing Scopus as the largest and reliable source of data on the research output of universities around the world, Tullao prodded the audience to crack their heads and contribute to the Philippine Development Plan. The suggestions are not merely for the Duterte administration but should be for the long term, even for the next administrations.

Group 3: (left) Former secretary of the Department of Science and Technology and current president of the National Academy of Science and Technology Dr. William G. Padolina led the group discussions.

Group 3: Ideas were written on blue strips of paper and arranged on the floor.

The Singaporean government’s support to their HEIs contribute greatly to their performance in terms of research output, recruitment of top faculty from around the world, scholarships for local and international students, and high-end equipment and facilities.

Established in 2007, Nanyang Technological University is ranked 13th globally and produced 66,647 research output next to NUS. Singapore Management University, only a 16 year old-institution, produced 3,495 which is higher than UP Diliman’s output.

In terms of budget, the University of the Philippines received PHP 11 B (USD 224 M) for 2016. While the budget for all Philippine state universities and colleges (SUCs) was PHP 47 B (USD 959 M), these pale in comparison with the budget for the National University of Singapore at PHP 42 B (USD 868 M) and the Nanyang Technological University at PHP 29 B (USD 610 M). 

Dr. Napoleon K. Juanillo Jr., in his description of the workshop as its moderator, highlighted the importance of higher education as one of the major drivers of economic competitiveness. He is the director for the Office of Planning, Research & Knowledge Management at the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

Juanillo said “due to the remarkable speed and dynamism in the knowledge-driven global economy…CHED shall advocate for purposive investments that steer career interest towards science, technology, engineering, agri-fisheries, and mathematics which are the building blocks of the knowledge economy.”

In her opening remarks, CHED chair Dr. Patricia B. Licuanan said that the commission views its role as setting the agenda, strategies, and facilities to strengthen the so-called “triple helix” of government, academe, and industry as growth accelerators.

The Philippine Education Summit 2016 was jointly convened by the country’s top education agencies: Department of Education (DepEd) which handles basic education and alternative learning systems (ALS), CHED which handles HEIs including SUCs, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) which handles technical-vocational (tech-voc) education. Main support was provided by the Australian Aid Basic Education Sector Transformation (BEST).

Text and photos by Alvin J. Buenaventura. This may be re-posted as long as the author is acknowledged.