Education—the basis to create the Knowledge Society

All countries and people are changing rapidly—as the market economy, democratic politics, and the millennial and Generation Z culture spread. American management thinker Peter Drucker described this development as the “Knowledge Society.” By this Drucker meant that—in our world today—knowledge has become the basic human resource.

Nowadays, value is created not so much by capitalists, workers, and natural resources, as by productivity and innovation—both of which are the application of knowledge to work. Today, value is created primarily by intelligence—creativity—and inventiveness. The new tribe are “knowledge workers”— individuals who know how to allocate knowledge to productive use.

This leads to the clear understanding that we need more focus on education; with the new incoming leadership in the Department of Education, the focus of both the new government and the private sector that to be the understanding that the systematic acquisition of knowledge is the ultimate ladder to opportunity!

Education must intensify and broaden the need to educate all its people. No longer will it suffice to educate a tiny elite that will then manage and direct the politics, the economy, and the culture of the many. Sara Duterte will be busy!

Development will require not only a corps of highly skilled individuals capable of absorbing advance technology; it will also require a minimum of scientific literacy and technological skill; it will also need the setting of professional standards, the delineation of fields of expertise, and the organization of communities of knowledge. Education can no longer afford to leave anybody behind. All young people—whether they go to college or not—will need a similar set of core competencies if they are to succeed in today’s labor market. Government, the private sector and civil society have to work closely together to Safe the Children. We must realize that 40 percent of the Philippine population is in school!

If the Philippines were to survive in the ever-changing, fast moving, technology-driven world taking shape before our eyes, the country has to position itself strategically in this new economy. The end-effort must be to secure the Philippines’s place on the right side of the digital divide the revolutions in communications, information, and computer technologies are creating. This requires a work-class work force, something that the ICT, BPO and creative industries have been asking for. And because knowledge has become the modern economy’s central resource, we must keep in mind continuous learning has become essential. So swift is the generation and transmission of knowledge that learning has become a life-long process for every one of us.

On the industry side, we are already seeing moves from sectors that will be significantly affected by the adoption of AI such as high tech and telecom, financial services, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, health care and education. The Asian Development Bank anticipates that a quarter of jobs in outsourcing and electronics will be lost due to automation, but this loss will be offset by new roles within those industries.

Let’s also bear in mind that digitalization means that new skills and capabilities are needed, and companies must provide the appropriate programs for their employees to remain competitive.

In conclusion, let me repeat—again—the wise words of Ramon del Rosario, Chairman of Philippine Business for Education: “It’s the private sector that is creating the jobs. But government has to create an enabling environment for the jobs to be created!”

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