THE Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said the education system must keep up to date on technological developments that will raise businesses competitiveness when their students enter the workforce. 

“Our educational system should be able to keep up with the rapid advances in technology and innovation for us to create a future of skilled and technology-savvy workforce,” PCCI President George T. Barcelon said in a statement.

He cited the need to review and upgrade the Philippines’ competencies and skill sets to stay regionally competitive.

He said this will be one of the discussions in the upcoming 49th Philippine Business Conference and Expo (PBC&E) on Oct. 25- 26.

PBC&E Chairman Felino A. Palafox, Jr., said education plays a key role in making work opportunities fair, alleviating poverty and enhancing communities.

“Education is a long-term investment for the growth and prosperity of the country. There is an unmistakable correlation between access to quality education and economic and social progress,” he added.

The PCCI said that the Philippines has been slipping behind its Southeast Asian neighbors in reading, writing and arithmetic, citing a 2019 survey conducted by the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund.

It said that the educational disparities were further exacerbated by school closures during the pandemic as the abrupt shift to online learning disrupted access to education.

“The biggest obstacles stem from the inability to adapt to online learning owing to a lack of resources, as well as access to digital equipment and internet connectivity, particularly in remote regions,” the PCCI said. 

“Given this, institutions and businesses must redesign, rethink, and invest in present and future workforce education and training,” it added.

Mr. Barcelon said that PCCI believes in the value of education in improving the Philippine economy.

“(We) are working hard and continuously collaborating with the government and other private organizations to assist the Philippines in meeting the changing demands of the labor market,” he added.

The PBC&E session, which will discuss the ways the public and private sectors can contribute to shaping the future of earning and learning in the country on education, will be led by Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian. — Justine Irish D. Tabile