Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Improved education to attract investors in the country

Cebu, Philippines (30 July)—Good standard in education is very important for Cebu especially because it is aiming to be globally competitive in attracting foreign investors, said the former secretary of the Department of Finance Jesus Estanislao during a business forum here hosted by the Cebu Business Club recently.

Estanislao noted the “uncompetitive” standard of universities and colleges in Cebu compared with that in Manila and even abroad adding that Cebu is still very far in terms of quality and standard.

“Investors are equally concerned in the quality of graduates that are being produced in the preferred sites; availability of infrastructure and other basic requirements for investments,” Estanislao said.

He actually challenged the Cebu businessmen to take stock and assist the academe and the government in improving the quality of education in Cebu.

Francis Monera, president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry answered that CCCI has focused on projects that would accelerate in making Cebu province as an economic zone.

“We have also crafted several programs that are geared towards improving the standard of educational system especially for college,” Monera said.

He specifically mentioned the collaboration of the academe, government and the Cebu Educational Foundation for Information Technology (CEDFIT), an NGO here that encouraged all stakeholders to improve the quality and standard of the IT-related educational system in Cebu.

CEDF-IT executive director Bonifacio Belen reported earlier that the IT sector has very slow improvement of manpower skill-ability. “It needs at least P25-Million to raise and develop the quality of manpower skills in the IT-sector in Cebu.

In one of the roundtable discussions with the President earlier this month, PGMA vowed to improve and modernize the country’s educational system before the end of her term in 2010 because she believes that knowledge is the greatest creator of wealth in the present global economy.

The President then revealed that the government has increased the budget allocation in education from P129-Billion in 2006 to P150-Billion this year in “our efforts to modernize the educational system of the country.”

In a gathering of officers and members of the League of Corporate Foundations (LCF) that held its 2007 Corporate Social Responsibility Expo in Manila early this month, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo launched a special P4-Billion education fund for student loans, business-funded training and to finance the expansion of state colleges and universities all over the country.

The President said, the fund is expected to increase the beneficiaries of student loans from 40,000 in 2006 to 200,000 this year. She also lauded the LCF for its support and recognizing the importance of education as a sustainable solution to poverty.

Arroyo further said that in the next three years, her administration will also invest some P3-Billion in engineering research and development technology to achieve a critical mass of R&D-capable manpower.

“The next three years will see an unprecedented, well-thought out and firm commitment of unstinting effort and generous funding for better schools, higher teacher pay, and more scholarships for gifted students, and better English language training,” the President announced.

She also thanked the private sector for its contribution to link 1500 out of 5000 public schools in the country through computer linkage. She hoped though that all public schools could be linked by the end of her term in 2010. (PIA-Cebu/MBCN)

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