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OLFU and PACU President talks about PH Education in Global Radio Program
OLFU and PACU President talks about PH Education in Global Radio Program

By: Vicente Santos


By: Vicente Santos


On 16 September 2020, the President of Our Lady of Fatima University (OLFU) and the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities (PACU), Dr. Caroline Marian S. Enriquez gave her wide audience a glimpse at the post-pandemic Philippine education landscape via the global radio program, Talk Shop Asia Global-USA Edition.

As a special guest on the program’s 11th episode, entitled Re-Imagining Education Industry with anchors Rosario Cajucom-Bradbury and Rolly Pagaspas, Dr. Enriquez discussed how the Philippine education sector is adjusting to the New Normal with online learning, a significant shift brought about by the recent pandemic. Beginning with an overview of the country’s school year setup, the conversation moved to the concept of “flexible learning,” which, according to Dr. Enriquez, “encompasses several modes of learning.” With this, she identified three types of learners: (1) those with good, stable internet connection; (2) those with medium-scale connectivity; and (3) those with no connection at all. “This is why we call it flexible learning because we try to address all types of learners,” she explained. 

Dr. Enriquez also recounted the days leading up to the enhanced community quarantine, when schools had to suddenly close temporarily, thus disrupting the culmination of the 2019-2020 academic year. Educational institutions were challenged by the need for transformation of business models in a short period of time. To this, Cajucom-Bradbury said that because of the circumstances, schools were forced to rethink their current models and it is a good thing; however, the downside is that this transformation, with the learning curve, might take time in ensuring the effective delivery of quality education online. 

As the President of PACU, Dr. Enriquez also discussed with the hosts what government agencies like the Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education require from schools as they implement online learning, in accordance with mandated safety regulations Moreover, she also expounded on the PACU initiatives in line with this huge shift; one of which is making representations to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and legislators. The organization had lobbied for the inclusion of teachers in the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP), and for student financial support, for which a budget was eventually allocated in the Bayanihan 2 Act. PACU is also coordinating with telecommunications companies for the creation of special internet packages for its member schools. 

Cajucom-Bradbury and Dr. Enriquez also conversed about the perspective of teachers in preparing and adjusting in this new era of online learning. The academe leader Dr. Enriquez said that aside from the trainings and other preparations, changing the mindsets of students, parents, and teachers is also important. Citing that majority of the schools PACU has surveyed back in April are now ready for online learning, she said, “The problem is the mindset of our stakeholders. Some are not really subscribed to the thought that online education is also good for the moment because it is the only thing available now.” She also added that online learning can also be made great; because of its structure, it may help develop soft skills such as independence and time management. 

Dr. Enriquez also lauded their hard work of the teachers, who were commended by Cajucom-Bradbury as frontliners, too. “…they are also another breed of frontliners,” the OLFU and PACU President said, admiring the commitment and effort they give, with all the added work that the new set-up entails.  Both have also discussed common best practices in schools for different cases and scenarios. 

The story of how OLFU, from its humble beginnings, came to become one of the leading universities in the country was also shared by Dr. Enriquez. According to her, education is such a fulfilling vocation; to know that she is able to help a student reach his/her dreams gives her a great sense of accomplishment.

“My dream is that all Filipinos take their education seriously, [that] they will have the opportunity to study, so that, with education, maybe a lot of us could be better professionals,” she said. Dr. Enriquez likewise shared her hopes for the private education sector, “which has been powerful in transforming the country.”

As a closing message for students, parents, the government and the private sector, Dr. Enriquez averred: 

“Education is a powerful tool; not everyone has access to it. Once you’re able to have education, let us make full use of the time that we have as students and as parents who support our children when we can, and for the government to also help the students who are learners now, so that eventually, maybe 10 or 20 years from now, we will all be able to contribute well to our country. That’s the only way we can do it— we educate the youth so that they can serve the country in the future.”

For this insightful Talk Shop Asia Global-USA Edition episode on education, Dr. Enriquez was also joined by other esteemed guests: Mylene Abiva, World Robot Olympiad Ambassador and CEO of FELTA Multi-Media Inc.; Dr. Edilberto Raynes, Tenured Full Professor at the Tennessee State University; and Mary Lou Cunanan, CEO and Founder of Suyomano Academy. 

Watch the full episode on V81 Radio Los Angeles here:  https://www.facebook.com/114412509971437/videos/248086436454497/