Monday, July 07, 2008

On Manolo Quezon's latest op ed piece

Fort Lauderdale, FL USA-Manolo Quezon writes something interesting about Pinoy global competitiveness in his "Bringing the world to our shores" What Manolo writes is very true. As an academic, I have seen that in this academic year; our department has seen an unprecedented number of graduate school applications to our programs. The only reason is that many of these applicants have been made redundant by company downsizing. In this situation the best option to maintain one's competitiveness is for one to go back to school.

While Manolo writes about doing an MBA, I believe that this really won't give you that competitive edge. Manolo doesn't write that the problems of the world have been brought to our shores. One has to take academic programs that will allow you to fully exploit the opportunities provided by this new regime. It seems that the academic programs offered at our universities cannot cater for this. Even with CHED autonomy, universities are still trapped in narrow discipline bounded programs and paradigms. The national University of the Philippines isn't excepted here. The graduate school training that students get here seem to reflect the paradigms of 30 years ago.

Manolo writes about getting an Australian MBA. Australia has been the pacesetter in university overseas programs. Most Australian universities have campuses outside Australia. Having done my degree in that country, I note that the lucky country is egalitarian and that is why democracy is flourishing. Australians hardly exhibit the narrow flag waving nationalism we and the Americans often do. In Australia the battler is the hero not the one born into privilege. But these characteristics don't mean Australians do not love their land. They do. I do too. I consider that land as my second home to the extent that I will my ashes to be scattered on the roots of a gum tree.

That real connection to the land, egalitarianism and openness is probably what makes Australia work. Australians are not immune to problems and they have their own debates about their nation as we must realize.

Contrast this is with the attitude of higher ups at the national University. An Australian reporter asked the UP President if she were open to internationalizing the UP citing that Australian universities have earned more revenues and upgraded and made more competitive their academic programs as a result. She replied in that the UP must serve Filipinos first. While we may agree in part, doesn't internationalization serve Filipinos too?

The reality is that Filipinos are by virtue of the forced diaspora have been internationalized. But it is the rapacious elite that profits from this.

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