ASEAN 2015 aims to foster economic, social and cultural growth among the countries within the region. The Philippines has hitched its wagon to the ASE AN Vision 2020 of peace and prosperity and has created plans to meet the new demands and challenges that the partnership offers. And because our country has committed to fulfilling its role in the bigger community, many internal changes are currently taking place especially with regards to education.
SU Administration is planning to widen its reach in terms of recruiting more international students. This is in line with ASEAN 2015’s purpose of “assistance to each other in the form of training and research facilities in the educational, professional, technical and administrative spheres”. This also means that students from neighboring countries can freely enter the country and Filipino students can do the same, provided that each one meets certain standards of competence.
There are many advantages to this set up.
For one, this gives deserving students the capacity to reach their full potential in their respective fields. Another is that jobs which are in demand overseas can be made more accessible to Filipino graduates. In turn, this also means that an influx of manpower into the country enhances the existing pool of expertise.
The set-up is good, but realistically speaking, it can be quite difficult for us who will be caught in the transition phase. It challenges every Sillimanian to be globally-competent more than ever before. The ASE AN 2015 may be a way of bringing out the best in every Southeast Asian nation, but it also makes the industrial and professional arena highly- competitive—only considering graduates who are the best in the region.
This is not to say that we are not competitive, but with the series of calamities, internal changes and the prevailing educational culture that we have, ASEAN 2015 can be a turbulent ride for all of us.
While the SU Admin is giving much attention to inviting foreign students to the university, it should not forget to also keep in mind the welfare of the students it currently has. Revising or updating of the curricula of certain colleges might become necessary as well as the upgrading of facilities in the campus. Most importantly, it should put a premium on equipping its teachers and students with the necessary skills for what is yet to come in 2015.
ASEAN 2015 is fast approaching and we have a lot of preparing to do. Let’s pick up the pace.