Graduated in less than 4 years? Commerce Secretary wants shorter college years for students

What do you think of getting your baccalaureate in less than four years? If Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual is successful, it could be, as he has called for shortening the time students need to graduate from college.

Pascual voiced that sentiment at a national employers’ conference hosted by the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines on Wednesday, The Philippine Star reported.

“The current trend in higher education is to shorten the number you need to graduate from college,” he said, adding that the Philippines’ K-12 curriculum should cover general education courses that students normally attend university.

The current K-12 curriculum in the Philippines was implemented in 2012 and introduced a comprehensive reform that included an extension of kindergarten and 10 years of basic education with two additional years of high school to prepare graduates for pre-university job opportunities.

While the Secretary cited countries like Singapore for their successful implementation of the K-12 curriculum, he acknowledged that the original intent of the country’s K-12 system, to produce technologically and technically competent graduates, is not is not materialized for several reasons, one being a lack of competent teachers. “It will take a long time for this to be resolved. The shortcut is for the companies themselves to provide the training,” he explained.

This isn’t the first time the secretary has advocated for curtailing the program’s classes — Pascual was also the former president of the University of the Philippines in 2017 when his administration pushed for a revised general education curriculum ( GE) which proposed the reduction of units in GE courses such as history and literature for a more “interdisciplinary” curriculum that “responded to the 21st century”.

Still, critics of the framework have said the reduced units will come at the expense of the university’s liberal education, which produces critical thinkers.

At yesterday’s conference, Pascual argued that students should focus on their majors in college and that those courses should be job-focused. “Now we are in a world where resources are running out, there are so many problems. We need to have oriented and specific skills required by the jobs,” he said.

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