THE Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said it is critical for workers to take on skills that will prepare them for the greater adoption of artificial intelligence (AI).

In a briefing at an information technology (IT) summit for schools and companies, CHED Chairman J. Prospero E. de Vera III said the commission aims to integrate AI into the learning process by training teachers and students, even those who are not in technology-related degree programs.

“Faculty members must understand what AI is all about, how it impacts the degree program that they are teaching and enable to embed it in the learning process across disciplines,” Mr. De Vera said, citing that even humanities and social sciences courses can benefit from such technology.

East West International Educational Specialist President and CEO Dennis Franco M. Layug said AI is being used in various industries such as marketing, health, and architecture.

“Academics will have to embrace industry demand and start producing graduates equipped with these skills,” he added.

Aileen Judan-Jiao, president and general manager of IBM Philippines, which offers AI learning opportunities, highlighted the significance of technological skills in the current job market.

“There is no better time to join the tech industry than now. IT skills (are not only for) the BPO (business process outsourcing) industry, but every industry; everything is technology-induced,” she said.

Employment platform LinkedIn reported on Tuesday that in Southeast Asia, job posts mentioning AI or Generative AI have doubled from 2021 to 2023. Applications for these jobs have grown 1.7 times in the region over the last two years.

LinkedIn emphasized the importance of soft skills as AI automates tasks. It said Philippine professionals believe skills like problem-solving, creativity, and communication will become more critical as AI tools are more broadly adopted in the workplace.

At the briefing, Alfredo Antonio I. Ayala of the Private Sector Advisory Council said in order to upskill the workforce, there needs to be an “accelerated level of government and industry collaboration.”

CHED’s Mr. De Vera said, “There is a bigger imperative for the industry and government to work together,” and noted the commission’s collaboration with various technology companies to offer learning opportunities for students.

Silicon Valley HQ CEO Christopher Peralta said the private sector aims to bring to the Philippines “the implementation, the tools that are happening in Silicon Valley or Singapore or Australia.”

“If we can do that, we empower students and the next generations.” — Jomel R. Paguian