Breaking through to global excellence (Philippines Daily Inquirer)

National Teachers Month 2015 is well underway. Proclamation 242, signed by President Aquino in 2011, officially sets Sept. 5 as the start of the festivities, which will end on Oct. 5 to coincide with World Teachers Day.

The brainchild of Metrobank Foundation president Chito Sobrepena and Br. Armin Luistro FSC in 2008 (when he was still president of De La Salle Philippines), National Teachers Month encourages all of us to find time and creative ways to thank our teachers for the role they play in making us become the best version of ourselves. For the past seven years, it has pleased us no end to say that we have helped in our small way to let every teacher know how deeply we appreciate what they’ve done for us.

Proclamation 242 is one of many firsts, and awards and accolades from credible institutions such as the International Association of Business Communicators (the Quill Awards) and the Public Relations Society of the Philippines (the Anvil Awards) clearly show that the National Teachers Month movement-and it is a real movement-is growing steadily as it communicates its message clearly and effectively.

The nationwide multimedia campaign that the public has come to expect is in effect, of course, through print, broadcast and, lately, social media. So are the discounts and freebies for teachers at participating establishments in major shopping malls. There are more cultural exhibits and fairs, seminars and special performances dedicated to teachers. And as before, we will commemorate World Teachers Day on Oct. 5 by asking for the Lord’s blessing for all teachers through the National Teachers Prayer invoked in every major Philippine language.

But this year’s celebration of National Teachers Month is being marked by a palpable sense of urgency. The innovation economy that we now live in casts a bright light on teachers. Extremely rapid and pervasive technological advancements have radically changed how we live and work, generating added learning challenges that today’s teachers and education providers are hard-pressed to cope with on their own.

In this context, simply thanking our teachers is no longer enough, especially for industry, where the steep demand for competent talent is so difficult to meet despite the huge numbers of new graduates/job seekers exiting the education system every year.

From industry’s standpoint, the best way to thank our teachers and the education institutions to which they belong is by actively reaching out and discussing meaningful and sustainable partnership opportunities with them, guided by the National Teachers Month advocacy that aims to uplift the teaching profession by reinforcing the critical role of teachers in national development.

Along this line, the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (Ibpap) will hold the first-ever Industry-Academe-Government tripartite forum on Sept. 28 at the Marriott hotel. With the theme Breaking Through to Global Excellence, this forum is aimed at examining successful instances in industry-academe partnership-the breakthrough models-that are characterized by reciprocity and a mutual commitment to global competitiveness. The presidents of Ibpap member-companies and the industry associations (i.e., animation, game development, software, global shared services, and health information management) are expected to attend this event. They will exchange views with the presidents and senior executives of higher education institutions, together with the deans of the colleges of business administration, finance and accounting, information technology, nursing and healthcare, fine arts and multimedia studies. (Please e-mail butchhernandez@ibpap.org for more information.)

The highlight of Breaking Through to Global Excellence, however, is the Business Matching and Networking Hour, a carefully orchestrated partnership-building activity that links companies directly with the colleges based on the academic discipline. For example, a health information management company will meet with the deans of nursing and pharmacy, while a business process management company will sit down with the deans of BA and IT colleges to talk about internships, faculty immersion/industry exposure and career placement.

The tripartite forum will be marked by the signing of a memorandum of cooperation between industry and academe, witnessed by the Commission on Higher Education. The signatories for private higher education are the Coordinating Council for Philippine Educational Institutions and its affiliate associations, namely: the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines, the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities, the Association of Christian Schools, Colleges and Universities, the Philippine Association of Private Schools, Colleges and Universities, and the Technical Vocational Schools Association of the Philippines.

The Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges and the Association of Local Colleges and Universities will sign for public higher education institutions. The influential Philippine Business for Education is likewise a signatory.

In turn, the signatories for the IT BPM industry are Ibpap, the Animation Council of the Philippines, the Global In-House Centers Council, the Game Developers Association of the Philippines, the Contact Center Association of the Philippines, the Health Information Management Association of the Philippines, and the Philippine Software Industry Association.

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