Gibo: We need to invest in education system

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — LAKAS-Kampi-CMD standard-bearer and former Defense Secretary Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro underscored the need to invest in and reengineer the Philippine education system from preschool to the tertiary level as part of the next president’s “immediate doables” to heighten the global competitiveness of Filipinos.

Speaking before a forum for presidential candidates organized by the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation, Teodoro said that to strengthen basic and tertiary education in the country, the government needs to rationalize scholarships and realign the education system with international standards.

The forum, which was aired live over the ABS-CBN News Channel to mark the birthday of the late former United Nations Secretary General Carlos P. Romulo, was attended by members of the business community and the diplomatic corps and the media.

“Basic education reform, the roadmap is already there, we have to realign our education system to align it with international standards, additional years perhaps,” Teodoro said at the forum held at the Asian Institute of Management Conference Center in Makati City. “On tertiary education, we should rationalize scholarships, and we should have more legitimate masters degree and Phd holders because we have one of the smallest ratios in the world.”

He said local government units should invest in preschool education and standardize how we teach kids literacy, computer skills, English and other formative skills. Unlike other proposals which advocate teaching preschool children in the vernacular, Teodoro said they should be taught in English at an early age to develop both their reading speaking skills in this international language during their formative years.

In his tours of school campuses across Metro Manila, Gibo has been winning the hearts and minds of the Filipino youth with his practical and doable proposals on education, the economy and other pressing national concerns.

More than 7,000 youth volunteers have so far been recruited by the G-Unit or the National Youth Movement for Gibo, following his rounds of various schools in Metro Manila.

Agreeing with Teodoro’s proposals, former Ambassador and Asean Secretary General Rodolfo Severino noted that the Philippines has perhaps one of the shortest formal education programs in the world.

He likewise agreed with Teodoro that the government should focus on infrastructure build-up to help enhance the country’s global competitiveness.

Besides education and infrastructure to seamlessly interconnect the country’s islands, Teodoro said the next chief executive should also focus on increased external trade and foreign direct inflows, regional and bilateral free trade deals, possible free trade agreements with the European Union and the United States and investment opportunities in the Middle East as his “immediate doables” to improve competitiveness.

The forum, which focused on domestic and policy issues, was likewise attended by Teodoro’s fellow presidential bets — Senators Richard Gordon and Manny Villar. Noticeably absent were Sen. Noynoy Aquino and former President Joseph Estrada.

Former President Ramos, who was among the panelists at the forum, asked where the other presidential candidates were, considering that the gathering was an opportunity for them to air their views and present their platforms of government before the people.

Ramos also commended Teodoro and the other candidates present for taking part in the forum and for providing comprehensive answers to the questions fielded to them.