Skills mismatch: Industry’s role (MEW 2023 @ WVSU) | Inquirer Business
MAPping the Future

Skills mismatch: Industry’s role (MEW 2023 @ WVSU)


The serious problem of the current global war for talent rages on. As the Philippines searches for solutions to the K-12 problems that will address its long-term economic production versus productivity concerns, the country needs to answer the brain drain challenges it faces. To complement these, amid the country’s education crises, practical approaches to other 21st century learning avenues were explored jointly by two forward-looking institutions of the Philippines at a recent workshop in Iloilo City.

The Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) and the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) rolled out their joint 31st edition of the Management Educators Workshop (MEW) on July 27 to July 28 at West Visayas State University (WVSU) in Region 7, the second highest in research and development (R&D) personnel resources after the National Capital Region, based on a 2018 Survey of the Department of Science and Technology.


WVSU president Joselito Villaruz was also a most eager learner and productive participant in the 2021-2022 Commission on Higher Education-AIM Global Academic Leadership Program for university presidents and other education officials. His campus is now building a multi-story home for health-related academic activities, including research at its upgraded genomic center to screen diseases without having to send samples to Manila or other Southeast Asian cities.


More industry voices

Following the old MEW format, industry leaders spoke out on current issues:

Donald Lim, MAP treasurer and chief operating officer of DITO CME Holdings Inc. described how Luna Academy offers 515 courses from various technology providers. These were after his self-designed lifelong learning during the pandemic, including those useful to the nonpandemic Philippine setting (e.g., blockchain that enables more secure handling of data across users), which can be applied to the range of industries he covers: oil and gas, retail, education, property management, tourism, shipping logistics and food retail.

Alma Jimenez, president and CEO of Health Solutions Corp., used actual research findings for new hospital models that also apply to the burgeoning tourism sector of the country, which will require new talents. The cross- and trans-disciplinary approach in 21st century problem-solving is made evident in the two fields where common concerns surfaced on the skills mismatch issues: the rise of alternative learning systems, expanding employment opportunities and mobility for health and safety.

Ma. Teresita Pastor Medado, president of National University-Asia Pacific College (co-founded by IBM and SM Foundation), offered models of IT/computing courses, including a proposal for an Associate Arts degree to solve the global dearth of talents in the field.

The nine workshops responded to the finding of a Philippine Institute for Development Studies research that college graduates are now taking more technical-vocational courses for better job prospects.

Academic-industry linkages to alleviate skills mismatch

As background to the faculty industry immersion and student project-based internship workshop topics, presentations were made by AIM professors.


Industry-relevant examples given by AIM dean Christopher Monterola included Big Tech firm’s data amenable to those smaller technology firms in the country (e.g. more artificial intelligence or AI applications reach markets in a shorter time; 25 percent of US and EU workforce will be in AI by 2025), and how lesson plans, study guides, lectures notes and quizzes can be generated by ChatGPT.

Monterola demystified the AI tool with a feature story on Carmen’s Best, a premium ice cream venture of Paco Magsaysay, sequentially transforming into a script and finally into a short film all via ChatGPT.

Michelle Banawan described the general benefits and costs of large language models in providing instant feedback, personalized support, adaptive learning, decreased teacher workload and increased student engagement that can foster collaboration. Also covered were the negative aspects: cheating, plagiarism, decreased rigor with reading materials, codes being passed as one’s own and the hallucinations of creative fictional information in generating responses to prompts versus narratives, which require constant fact-checking.

MEW 2023 early wins

Immediately after the two-day workshop, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed by the host university with Globetek Science Foundation of Samuel Bernal of the Filipino diaspora. He recently received a new US patent that could be further explored by Philippine universities for practical R&D.

In his lecture with AIM data scientists, Bernal raised the legal and ethical issues of AI in education, which he related to the host university’s new genomic center. This MOU will also engage WVSU faculty and students with the health and wellness research conducted by Globetek in many cities around the world. In Makati, it includes biochemistry in food technology, e.g., how local lambanog becomes vodka-like after proper distillation and how calamansi joins limoncello liqueur in global markets.

Another MOU among three universities (WVSU, Southern Leyte State University and Northern Iloilo State University) will jumpstart activities in line with the Department of Trade and Industry Region 6’s idea of the region as a hub for global health information systems.

The short-term convergence of interests of state universities and colleges, as well as local and national government agencies, will be followed by: medium-term geographic information system mapping; production of information, education and communication materials; setting up of research activities for systems development; and in the long-term, the commercialization of products/technologies with due consideration of intellectual property regimes.

Following the designation of Batangas State University as the National Engineering University of the Philippines, the Philippine Normal University is hoping to champion lifelong learning courses to address reports on the quality of teacher education. Discussion within MAP will start this August in line with ChatGPT in teacher education; and critical thinking skills for tourism, medical and maritime industries.

Micro-credentials can also be offered on climate change that will cater to basic education with practical local projects to stimulate creativity among the youth, e.g., bamboo reforestation and new industries (engineered bamboo to replace steel in skyscrapers, bamboo beer as pioneered in Mexico, bamboo for greenhouse gas capture, bamboo linen, stylized food from labong/yabong shoots, etc.). These will be alongside strengthening local information systems with fact-checking, reinforced by the announcement of President Marcos on the subject.

Agility, cross- and trans-disciplinary engagements and openness to lifelong learning for all players in the skills mismatch challenging the economy today are part of the swarm leadership agenda of 21st century Philippines. The collectively innovating organizations that self-organize in complex systems are what the country needs. Such swarms move faster than others and survive the tests of external forces more ably. INQ

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The author chairs the Management Association of the Philippines Education Committee. He is a board member of St. Paul University Philippines and Bayan Innovation Group Inc. Feedback at [email protected] and [email protected].

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