QCU’s Dr. Atienza joins 5th Batch of PEAC’s Executive Program on Transforming Philippine Education at NUS

QCU President Dr. Theresita V. Atienza successfully participated in the Executive Program on Transforming Philippine Education organized by the Private Education Assistance Committee (PEAC) in partnership with the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy of the National University of Singapore (NUS) from July 3-7, 2023.

This five-day executive program, which was held in person at the Bukit Timah Campus of NUS, aims to equip Filipino school leaders with ready-to-apply skills and perspectives drawn from Singapore and the region. It also hopes to bring representatives from the government and private sector to provide critical yet insightful perspectives and solutions to the challenges private education leaders face. 

The program started with a reflective discussion on what is right and wrong with the curriculum of universities in the Philippines, facilitated by Asst. Professor Eduardo Araral. Attention was called to the progress of Artificial Intelligence (AI), particularly ChatGPT, in algorithms/techniques, computing power, data, and systems innovations.  It was discussed that AI is challenging fundamental business orthodoxies and how it must be embraced by the education sector to prepare students for the jobs of the future and be informed of jobs that will go into obsolescence. 

Dr. Adrian Kuah, Director of the NUS Futures Planning Office, then led the conduct of scenario planning and futures thinking in higher education.  The exercise made the participants reconfigure a board game called “Game of Life,” developing an education scenario that is not linear but rather cyclical and spiral – where students could and must continuously learn new skills and develop new competencies.

A key highlight of the program is the inspiring and lesson-laden presentation of NUS President Tan Eng Chye on Organizational Excellence. He started with a briefer on the history and overview of the current status of NUS before giving a narrative on how his administration shaped the present NUS to organization excellence. 

Another speaker was Dr. Aileen Lam, an expert in teaching and corporate training in professional communications, media, and academic writing, who gave an engaging lecture on Teaching with Technology, Effective Online Class Delivery. Meanwhile, Dr. N Varaprasad, a partner and consultant of Singapore Education Consulting Group, walked the participants through the development of TVET in Singapore. He mentioned that while the development of TVET in Singapore was challenging with numerous models tried out, it has now become a stable system that is adaptable, responsive, and attractive to school leavers.

The final day of the training geared the participants to revisit the existence/relevance of Universities. The emergence of new technologies such as artificial intelligence ensures economic transformation and emergent skills needs. That a first degree may no longer be relevant to jobs of the future underscores the need for institutions of higher learning to not only think of professional education and training (PET) but continuing education and training (CET) as well.  Hence, the need to formulate policy solutions in education.

Dr. Jun Jie Woo discussed the policy cycle from agenda setting, policy formulation, decision-making, and policy implementation to finally policy evaluation, while book author and civil servant leader Lim Siong Guan inspired the group on Thought Leadership:  The Leader, The Teacher, and You, a book he wrote. He stated that leadership is making good things happen, that on their own would not happen.  He then shared three concepts: Think People (harness the creativity of your people), Think Future (Be in time for the future) and Think Excellence ( Be the best you can be).  He believes that a leader’s position is front, side, behind, and within or to always be there for the people. 

The program also included learning journeys to NUS Kent Ridge Campus, particularly its library, and the Singapore Polytechnic, which allowed the participants to observe campus life and discuss further how Polytechnic courses were also in the mainstream of education policies in Singapore.

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