Ernesto Jay G. Adalem, MD, LLB, PhD, DFRIM
First of all, allow me to congratulate the organizers of this timely and relevant webinar series on transformational education, the UST Alumni Association and the Graduate School Center for Continuing Professional Education and Development. But let me start my presentation by saying that I am a proud Thomasian. UST Education High School batch 1987 and UST Medical Technology graduate batch of 1991. I am a medical doctor but right now I’m immersed in running the family owned school, Saint Clare College of Caloocan, as Vice President for Administration from 1997 to 2019, and Vice President for Finance from 2019 to this day. Saint Clare College of Caloocan, a progressive school located in North Caloocan City. Majority of our students from basic education to tertiary levels are coming from depressed communities, the two of the most marginalised barangays in the whole country, namely, Barangay Bagong Silang and Barangay Camarin. Most of our students can only dream of going to the so-called big schools. Yet they carry within them the same dreams and aspirations of every Filipino youth. Saint Clare College is a founding institution of the Caloocan Private Schools Association or CAPRIS and a prime mover in the Federation of Association of Private Schools Administrators or CAPSA, with more than 15,000 member schools around the country. Let me present to you the rues and concerns in the one sector in Philippine education. The sorry state of our small and medium-sized private schools in the Philippines is one for the books especially during this time of pandemic. Record shows that that last school year almost 1,000 small medium sized private schools around the country closed operations not because the owners no longer believe in the visions and missions for which their schools were founded. But they had to close operations to save on expenses because of the severe impact of the pandemic. We have even seen in new countless numbers of teachers resulting to selling just to make both ends and meet family needs. But despite these pathetic experiences, we in the small and medium-sized private schools remain steadfast to thrive not just survive, to strengthen the fabrics of our mission and vision that aim to produce quality and productive graduates even in the midst of this pandemic. Towards this end, we manifest our collective appreciation to the organizers of this webinar series in forging strategic pathways for our academe, alumni, industry and government to come together for a common good, a desire to create transformative and transforming educators in our midst. Especially we manifest the following belief statements to the ideas as expressed in AAIG’s manifestation of solidarity from the various education stakeholders. From the ranks of school owners, we believe the task of transforming Philippine education or educational system for that matter is wrong and a tedious process. Educators born, bred and raised within the socio-cultural milieu of that system will find it hard to let go of old habits particularly if over time they have proven to produce the results that we [?]. But we remain with one heart, one head and one hand in perpetuating the gift of perpetual learning. From the school, the ranks of the school administrators which we belong, we believe on an authentic education reform, renewal and transformation to be meaningful, sustainable. Education must serve society as an instrument for fostering the creation, advancement and dissemination of education and that the triple goals of equity, relevance and excellence must prevail in policy making, planning and practice. On the ranks of our teachers, we believe in the importance in culcating in our learners the values and principles of life skills for life success, to nurture our learner’s compassionate heart not just thinking and mind and develop essential skills not just academic skills. From the ranks of our students, we believe that every child has genius potentials in more ways than one, that the traditional IQ that we know is limiting a metric in measuring one’s intelligence, for the intelligence as we know by now is a many splendored thing. From the ranks of our parents we believe that while we’re not enjoying the beauty of face-to-face classroom learning due to the pandemic we must maximize the benefits of the heart to heart home learning, understanding fully that technology is a mere handmaiden of civilization. That no amount of technology can substitute for parenting. From the ranks of our non-teaching personnel and all those involved in education, we believe that all those who serve education, the school owners, school leaders and managers, teachers, psychologist, lawmakers, policymakers, government and private educational institution must pour a concerted and continuing efforts into a review and a reformulation of the educational system even beyond Industry 4.0. And finally, we collectively believe that transformative education is a matter of human heart, that quality education thru AAIG 2021 is the bridge we must build for our children. This is the base we shall use of use to cross over life beyond the pandemic. Let this be our task today, our project, our lasting heritage to our children. Thank you very much.