Largest English-speaking countries

31 January 2007 at 4:38 AM | Posted in News | 73 Comments

Thank you to the person that posted the comment about my mistake in identifying Australia (population: 20 million) as the second largest English-speaking country in the world; s/he said it should be the UK. When I checked the latest figures, it turns out that the two largest English-speaking countries in the world are India (350 million out of 1 billion) and the United States (300 million). The Philippine government still officially claims that the country (total population: 90 million, but less than half speak English) is the third largest English-speaking country in the world, despite all linguistic studies that show otherwise. China (almost 300 million so far out of 1.3 billion) is catching up quickly with India and the US. The UK (60 million), of course, outranks the Philippines. I’ve corrected my previous entry, in order not to mislead first-time visitors to this blog. (Population figures are 2006 estimates.)

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22 January 2007 at 4:42 AM | Posted in News | Leave a comment

Ang Kuwento ni Juliet

Talumpati sa paglunsad ng librong Ang Kuwento ni Juliet, salin sa Filipino ni Winton Ynion ng The Tale of Juliet: You Have the Power to Change Your Life ni Juliet Torcelino-van Ruyven (Far Eastern University Publications) noong 4 Disyembre 2006 sa Far Eastern University, Manila:

Ang sabi ng mga Italyano, “Traduttore tradittore,” o “Ang pagsalin ay pagtaksil.” Ang sabi naman nating mga Pinoy, “salin ay sala.” Pero kahit na anupaman ang sabihin ninuman, kailangan natin ng salin. Kung walang nagsalin ng mga akdang dakila sa mundo ay hindi sana natin nabasa ang Noli me tangere, ang El filibusterismo, ang Mi Ultimo Adios, bukod pa sa Bibliya, sa mga Dayalogo ni Platon, sa mga akda nina Aristoteles, Kung Fu-tzu, Muhammad, Homer, Virgil, Dante Alighieri, at Albert Einstein. Sa madaling sabi’y malaki ang magiging pagkasala natin sa kasaysayan, sa kamalayan, at sa sangkatauhan kung hindi tayo magsasalin at magbabasa ng mga salin.

Hindi lang naman mga dakilang libro ang kailangang isalin. Sa mga naglalaro lamang, tulad ng mga mahilig sa ahedres o sa bridge o laro sa kompyuter ay mahalagang naisalin na ang mga akdang nagpapaliwanag kung paano nananalo ang mga tsampyon. Sa mga naghahanap-buhay, tulad ng mga nangingibang-bansa o gumagamot sa mga banyaga, mahalagang isinasalin ang mga papeles para sa visa o ang mga salitang tungkol sa mga bahagi ng katawan. Sa mga seryosong iskolar, mahalagang isinasalin ang mga artikulo’t librong nagpapahayag ng mga natuklasan na sa ibang bansa, para hindi maaksaya ang panahon nila sa pag-ulit ng tapos nang mairiserts. Sa mga mahilig lamang magbasa, magpalipas man ng oras o matuto ng bagong kaalaman, mahalagang isinasalin ang mga nobela at iba pang librong nakasulat sa wikang banyaga.

Ang librong The Tale of Juliet: You Have the Power to Change Your Life ni Juliet Torcelino-van Ruyven ay maraming maituturo sa mga naghihirap nating mga kabayan. Mula sa kasukdulan ng kahirapan, ang bida sa librong ito ay nagsumikap na makaahon at mabuhay sa pamagitan lamang ng sipag at tiyaga, ng lakas ng loob, ng pananampalataya sa kinabukasan at sa Maykapal. Sa mga nag-aakalang hanggang doon na lamang ang kanilang buhay, sa mga nawawalan ng pag-asang umunlad sa lipunan, sa mga kumakapit na sa patalim, malaki ang maitutulong ng libro kung ito’y babasahin nila. Magliliwanag ang kanilang isip, dahil makikita nila sa buhay ni Juliet na maaari palang yumaman sa pera, sa kaibigan, at sa pag-ibig kahit na nagsisimula sa wala. Totoong malaki ang papel ng langit at suwerte sa buhay ni Juliet, pero malaki rin ang papel ng sariling sikap.

Habang nasa wikang banyaga ang libro ni Van Ruyven ay iilan lamang ang nakababasa nito. Sa katunayan ay ang mga makababasa lamang nito’y ang marunong nang mag-ingles, at ayon sa lahat ng pag-aaral natin sa wika ay maliit na porsyento lamang ito ng sambayanan, porsyento pa na nakatataas sa lipunan. Ang higit na nakararami sa ating bayan, ang otsenta porsyento ng mga Filipino, ay hindi nagbabasa ng libro sa wikang Ingles. Kung nagbabasa man sila, ayon sa huling sarbey ng Social Weather Stations, ang kanilang binabasa ay libro o babasahin sa wikang Filipino.

Ito ang dahilan kung bakit nagpasya si Van Ruyven, si Winton Ynion, at ang Far Eastern University na isalin at ilathala ang libro sa wikang Filipino. Nais tumulong ang FEU sa mga mahihirap na hindi kayang pumasok sa mga unibersidad, kahit na sa isang unibersidad na di-pangmayaman na tulad ng FEU. Ayon sa DepEd at CHED, humigit kumulang lamang sa labing-apat na porsyento ng mga Filipino ang nakakatikim ng buhay sa kolehyo. Ang higit na nakararami ay kulang sa edukasyon at ng kakayanang magbasa ng libro sa wikang banyaga. At ang mga ito, ang mga maralita, ang mga hindi nakababasa ng wikang Ingles, ang mga hindi nagtapos sa kolehyo, ang mga nawawalan ng pag-asa sa sistema at nagsisimulang isiping kailangan na ng madugong rebolusyon para magbago ang takbo ng kanilang buhay – ang mga ito ang dapat na malaman na may saya pala sa likod ng pagdurusa.

Ano naman ang masasabi natin tungkol sa salin na pinamagatang Ang Kuwento ni Juliet? Ito ba ay pagtaksil sa orihinal o pagkasala? Ang sasagot diyan ay hindi tayong mga nakabasa na ng libro sa Ingles. Ang sasagot diyan ay ang mga hindi pa nababasa at hindi kailanman babasahin ang libro sa wikang Ingles. Ang patunay ng mahusay na salin ay wala sa katapatan sa orihinal, kundi nasa mangyayari sa nagbabasa ng salin na dapat ay pareho ng nangyayari sa mga nagbabasa ng orihinal. Kung naudyok si Andres Bonifacio na maghimagsik pagkatapos niyang mabasa ang Noli me tangere sa orihinal na Kastila ay dapat na maudyok din ang mga nasa hayskul ngayon na nagbabasa ng mga salin ng nobela sa wikang Filipino. Kung hindi maghihimagsik ang mga estudyante ngayon na tulad ng paghimagsik ni Bonifacio ay walang kuwenta ang salin. Ganito rin ang magiging pamantayan natin sa ginawa ni Winton Ynion. Kapag ang mga nagbasa nitong mga maralita ay mabubuhayan ng loob at sisigasig sa kung anumang hanapbuhay ang nahahanap nila ay masasabi nating tagumpay ang salin. Iyan kasi ang nangyari sa daan-daan o baka pa nga libo-libong nagbasa ng libro sa wikang Ingles. Nabuhayan ng loob ang mga nagbasa ng orihinal at kasalukuyan silang umaasang sumisikat ang araw sa likod ng mga ulap na dulot ng ating sariling gobyerno, ng digmaan sa Mindanao at sa Gitnang Silangan, at ng mga mapang-aping dambuhalang bansa at korporasyon. Maraming naniniwala ngayon, pagkatapos mabasa ang orihinal sa Ingles, na maaaring gumanda ang takbo ng kanilang buhay. Kung dadami ang mga hindi kakampi sa mga komunista, sa mga terorista, sa mga kudista dahil mababasa nila ang libro sa wikang kinagisnan at mag-iibayo ang kanilang paniwala sa kinabukasan at sisipag pa sila, masasabi nating tagumpay ang salin.

Harinawa’y tagumpay nga at magtatagumpay ang Far Eastern University Publications sa proyektong ito. Hindi ito lamang ang sasaklolo sa atin sa masamang tayo ng ating bansa sa kasalukuyan, pero isa itong malaking hakbang para matauhan ang ating mga kabayan at manumbalik ang tiwala nila sa kapangyarihan ng kalooban at kabutihang-asal.

Binabati ko si Winton Ynion, si Juliet Van Ruyven, at ang pamunuan ng Far Eastern University Publications sa paglunsad ng librong Ang Kuwento ni Juliet.

Adios, Patria Adorada

22 January 2007 at 4:38 AM | Posted in News | 2 Comments

Remarks delivered at the launching of the book Adios, Patria Adorada: The Filipino as Ilustrado, the Ilustrado as Filipino, by Alfredo Roces, published by De La Salle University Press, 3 February 2006, at De La Salle University Manila:

Gemino Abad, echoing poststructuralists, once said that a person is made up of words. We could say, echoing Abad, that a people is made up of words, or more precisely, of books, or even more precisely, of histories. Contrary to what Marx thought, the field of struggle is not the factory nor, as Mao thought, the countryside. The field of struggle in our century, the twenty-first century, is the field that Marx held in such contempt – the field of human consciousness, or the way we see ourselves, the way we imagine ourselves. Alfredo Roces joined this struggle many years ago, primarily through his advocacy of art as an integral element of our past, secondarily through his editorship of various projects rewriting published history. He has now directly challenged our view of ourselves through the book we have just launched.

Today we thank Amelia Galang, Javier Galvan, National Artist F. Sionil Jose, Edna Formilleza, and Antonio Hila for joining Roces in launching not just a book with chapters, but a chapter in the book of our past. The past is really only what we choose to remember, and until today, we chose to remember only what would not make us uncomfortable with the way we rush headlong into revolutions not of our own making. Roces identifies as, in his words, “the core of ilustrado ideology,” the manifesto in prose of Rizal, more telling than his manifesto in verse in “Mi Ultimo Adios.” Foreshadowing Roces, Rizal wrote explicitly, “Reforms, if they are to bear fruit, must come from above, for reforms that come from below are upheavals both violent and transitory.” Mabini, echoing Rizal, offers Roces even more support for the struggle to recreate our past. Said Mabini, “In order to build the proper edifice of our social regeneration, it is imperative that we change radically not only our institutions, but also our ways of thinking and behaving.”

These are words to remember as we struggle once again these days to regain control of our future and even of our present, as we try to stop our so-called national leaders from leading us towards international disaster, as we look around for ways to retrieve our dignity as a nation and our pride as a people. Roces has boldly pointed the way to discover “nuestro perdido eden” that is right here with us now, at this very moment, part not just of our future nor of our past, but of our present.

Congratulations to all of us for sharing the unrealized dream of the ilustrados and the realized dream of the De La Salle University Press and Alfredo Roces to publish Adios, Patria Adorada: The Filipino as Ilustrado, the Ilustrado as Filipino. May we all look forward to our past!

2 January 2007 at 5:38 AM | Posted in News | Leave a comment

Sa Paglunsad ng Librong Gagamba sa Uhay, ni Rogelio G. Mangahas, isinalin sa Ingles ni Marne L. Kilates, 21 Setyembre 2006

Hindi naman siguro ninyo ako sisisihin kung ilalabas ko ang sama ng loob ko kay Ka Roger. Kasi’y isinama niya sa back cover ng libro niya sina Krip Yuson, Elynia Mabanglo, Teo Antonio, at Becky Anonuevo, pero hindi ako. Habang may natitira pang kopya ang librong ito, sa bahay man o laybrary ng sinumang tao o paaralan, dito man sa bayan natin o sa ibang bansang maraming kababayan natin at maraming nagmamahal sa panitikan, hindi mawawala ang kanilang mga pangalan dahil nakaukit sa tinta, pero kayo lamang ang makaaalam na may masasabi rin naman ako tungkol sa libro.

Hindi naman ako maaaring maingit kay Rio Almario, na siyang sumulat ng mahabang introduksyon sa libro. Kasi’y nilait naman niya ang anyo ng haiku at ang sabi niya’y hindi naman talaga mahalaga ang pagbilang sa mga pantig at ang pagsunod sa anyong Hapones, dahil ang mahalaga’y ang kapangahasan at pagkatotoo ng mga ginagamit na salita’t hulagmay ni Roger. Isa pa’y kung ako ang inanyayahang sumulat ng introduksyon, sigurado akong uulitin ko lamang ang mga sinabi mismo ni Roger sa interbyu na ginawa ng kanyang estudyanteng si Teresita Chico, ni Vim Nadera, at ni John Torralba. Sasabihin ko lang kung ano talaga ang haiku sa Hapones, sa Ingles, sa Filipino, at sa kung anu-ano pang mga wika’t tradisyon, at wala naman akong bagong masasabing gigimbal sa larangan ng panitikan o ng kritikang pampanitikan. Kaya mabuti pa ngang ang matalik na kaibigan na lamang niya ang pinasulat niya ng introduksyon.

At lalo namang hindi ko iintrigahin si Marne Kilates, dahil siya naman ang umako sa pagsalin ng mga tula ni Roger sa wikang Ingles, isang bagay na hindi ko naman kaya, kayanin ko man. Pero kahit na salimpusa lang pala ako, dahil narito na rin naman ako’t sayang naman ang pagkakataong ihinga ang aking sama ng loob, ay sige na nga, sasabihin ko na ang talagang nararamdamann ko tungkol kay Roger, tungkol sa kanyang libro, tungkol sa salin ni Marne, at tungkol sa haiku.

Sa totoo lang, kahit na ang sarap sanang bumawi sa pagsantabi niya sa matagal na rin naming akala ko’y pagkakaibigan, hirap na hirap akong maghanap ng maaaring pintasan sa mga sinulat ni Roger. Napipilitan akong aminin na dakila talaga siya at dakila ang libro niya. Bilang ako nang bilang ng mga pantig ng kanyang mga tula, na ang pakay ko’y ipakita na hindi siya marunong magbilang, pero iisa lamang ang nahanap kong medyo nalihis sa tamang landas ng haiku, ang Haiku 55, na parang sinadyang ipaalaala ang Poems 55 ni Jose Garcia Villa, di ba, dahil ang ikalawang taludtod nito’y “unggo’y kumara, may buhos” na lampas sa pitong pantig. Alam naman ng kahit sinong walang alam sa malikhaing panulat na labimpito ang pantig sa haiku, na hinahati sa tatlong taludtod – lima, pito, at lima. Matutuwa na sana ako’t may mapupuna ako, palibhasa’y kritiko dapat ako, di ba, pero sinulat naman nitong si Rio na huwag dapat tayong magbilangan at mismong si Roger ang nagsabi sa kanyang interbyu na sumablay man siya ay hindi naman kahiyahiya iyon, dahil mismong si Basho ay medyo naidlip sa puyat nang sinusulat niya ang pinakamasining niyang haiku na tungkol sa gabing taglamig.

Parang sinadya naman ni Marne ang hindi paggamit ng lima-pito-limang estruktura dahil sinabi naman ni Roger sa interbyu, at sinabi na rin ni Marne, at alam naman ng lahat ng nag-aral ng anyong haiku sa tradisyong kanluranin, na hindi bilang ang mahalaga sa haiku sa wikang Ingles kundi ang biglang pagkamulat sa katotohanan tungkol sa kalikasan ng mundo o ng tao o ng panginoon. Samakatwid ay wala akong mahawakang maaaring tsugihin sa mga tula ni Roger sa Filipino o sa mga tula ni Marne sa Ingles. Lalo tuloy akong nabubuwisit sa sarili ko dahil wala akong mahanap na butas na paglagyan ng aking sama ng loob. Sinasabi ko palang tula ang mga salin ni Marne dahil, para sa akin at para na rin sa maraming mga kritikong tumatalakay sa sining ng pagsalin, ang salin ay ibang likha, ibang paglikha, sa tinataguriang orihinal na akda. Hindi dapat hinuhusgahan ang isang salin ayon sa pagiging tapat sa isinalin kundi ayon sa kasiningan bilang bagong akda sa bagong wika.

Dahil wala akong masabing masama para makabawi naman kay Roger sa kanyang di pag-anyaya sa aking sumulat ng sanaysay na maaaring malahian kahit na ng anino lamang ng kanyang mga tula, ay idedekonstrak ko na lamang ang isa sa kanyang haiku, para noong ginawa ni Rio pero hindi galing sa mata ng kapwa makata, kundi galing sa mata ng isang hindi marunong tumula pero kahit paano ay may pailan-ilan namang tulang nabasa.

Basahin natin ang kaunaunahang tula sa koleksyon:

Tingnan, tutubi’y
darakma lang ng niknik,
tuntunga’y tukál.

Kung kahulugan lamang ang hahanapin natin sa tula, marami tayong mapupulot. Hindi man lamang nirespeto ng tutubi ang tukál, na siyang malaki ang ganda sa kanya at di hamak na mas maraming kahulugang simboliko sa tradisyon ng panulaan. Ang darakmain lang naman niya’y niknik, na walang kwentang nilalang, na sa pagkawalang kwenta’y ni hindi man lamang binigyan ng tao ng mabangong pangalan. Sa madaling sabi’y kung ang kritikang kanluranin ang gagamitin natin, matutuwa tayo sa ironiya at tema, at kung idaragdag natin ang teknikal na mga elemento ng tula, ang aliterasyon o initial rhyme, pati na ang tugmaan ng tingnan at tukál.

Hindi tayo mauubusan ng masasabing mabuti sa tula kung hanggang doon lamang ang dating sa atin nito. Pero kung idedekonstrak natin, kung ipakikita natin na hindi natural ang paggawa ng tula kundi konstruksyon na maaaring idekonstrak na nga, masasabi nating sinadya ang paulit-ulit na gamit ng tunog ng t, ng ibang tunog na inulit, tulad ng tutu sa tutubi, tuntung sa tuntunga’y, niknik, at maaaring isama na ang hango naman sa anyo ng haiku pero konstruksyon din, ang pag-ulit ng limahang taludtod. Ang hindi natural na pagkasulat ay nasa ilalim ng natural na pagbigkas: “Tingnan / tutubi’y darakma lang ng niknik / tuntunga’y tukál.” Tinatawag sa musika na pagtunggali ng kaliwa sa kanang kamay sa pyano, o counterpoint, o sige na nga, jazz.

Pero hindi pa dyan natatapos ang ating pagdikonstrak. Bakit naman tutubi ang napiling mandarakma, gayung mukhang napakaamo naman ng laruan ng bata na ito? Bakit naman nating inakalang ang tukál ay simbolo ng katahimikan, ng kapayapaan, gayung wala naman itong ginagawa para mapahinahon ang tubig? Sa katunayan ay isinusuka ang halamang ito ng karamihan ng hardinero at urban planner sa mundo, dahil binabarhan nito ang agos ng tubig. Tubig. Ano ba ang tubig na kahit na hindi nabanggit ay tiyak na umeeksena, dahil na nga ang inaaming modelo ni Roger sa pagtula ng haiku ay si Basho at ang tula nito tungkol sa tunog ng tubig? Ano na nga ba ang salitang tukál? Dahil walang tuldik ang pag-imprenta dito, baka naman túkal ito, na ang ibig sabihin, ayon sa diksyunaryo ni Rio, ay tukod na kawayan. Naku, kung isasabak natin ang kahulugang ito, babalik tayo sa pamagat ng libro, kung saan may uhay na sa biglang tingin ay parang túkal na maaaring pamahayan din ng gagamba. Lalong lumalabo ang intensyon kong laitin si Roger, dahil paganda nang paganda ang kanyang sinulat dahil palalim nang palalim at palawak nang palawak.

Ano ba ito? Unang tula pa lamang ay hindi ko na masisid nang husto. Parang masyadong punung-puno ng kahulugan, ng kasiningan, ng tunay na kadakilaan ang haikung ito. Hindi ko pa nga tinatalakay ang pagka-haiku niya, ang paghugot ng damdamin sa karaniwang nakikita, ang pag-akyat sa langit sa pamagitan ng pagsilip sa lupa, ang pagpatindi sa ating pagkatao sa pagtanggap ng kapaligiran ng tao. Alalahanin natin, tutubi lang yan.

Hindi ko pa nga ginagamitan ng intertextuwalidad, dahil mapipilitan talaga akong aminin na mahusay talagang makata itong si Roger. Biro ninyo, sa librong ito, maraming ginagawa ang tutubi. Sa 5, yakap niya ang lotus. Sa 13, ang talahib naman. Sa 11 ay nagtatalik siya, nakakainggit dahil hindi lang karaniwang pagtalik kundi ballet. Sa 43 ay nakisakay ang tutubi sa hanging gala. Sa 114 ay naibalik pa nya ang nilad. Pero sa 119 ay wala siyang utang na loob, dahil pinalipad na’y ni hindi nagpasalamat. Kahit na naligaw siya sa 140 ay kinakaawaan naman. Sa 141 ay mataas pa siya sa tao. Sa 163 ay may sarili siyang tutulugan. Sa 266 ay kasingganda ang tutubi ng takipsilim.

Kung gamitan naman natin ng malikhaing kritika o creative nonfictional criticism (isang uri ng kritikang pampanitikan na bagumbago dahil ngayon ko pa lang inimbento) at pakialaman natin ang talambuhay ng makata, nasa libro naman kung bakit pulos na lang tutubi ang lumilipad sa mga haiku. Ani Roger sa kanyang mga tala, “Isang Linggo ng umaga, pagkaraang mag-walking nang halos isang oras sa kampus ng U.P. Diliman habang namamahinga ako sa harapan ng Oblation, naobserbahan ko ang eksena ng dalawang tutubi.” Naku, may panahon pa siyang maglakad nang isang oras at mamahinga. Hindi ako nagngingitngit lang sa tampo, nagngingitngit pa sa inggit.

Sige na nga, gusto ko man o hindi, masakit man sa loob ko o hindi, aaminin ko na, napakaganda ng libro mo, Roger, napakagaling mong tumula, napakaganda rin ng mga salin ni Marne, napakarami kong napulot na mag-aayos ng aking buhay at magtatanggal sa akin ng mga negatibong emosyon na tulad ng tampo at inggit. Nagpapasalamat ako’t ako ay inanyayahan mong magsalita sa paglunsad ng libro mo, dahil kahit papaano, natikman ko rin ang tunay mong pagkakaibigan.

The Belly of the Business Beast

2 January 2007 at 5:23 AM | Posted in News | 4 Comments

Last Dec. 4, I found myself in the belly of the beast, so to speak, from the point of view of educators. I spoke at the widely-advertised “Tripartite Summit on Higher Education,” sponsored by the Personnel Management Association of the Philippines, at the RCBC Plaza in Makati City, Philippines.

I knew that I was asking for trouble by opening with a deliberately provocative statement. I had spoken to business groups before, but this was the first time I had an audience that could actually do something about one of my advocacies. I decided to do a Manny Pacquiao.

Here is the text of my speech (though it suffers from the absence of the powerpoint presentation, that gave the statistics in graphic and startling form). I entitled my speech “Three Fingers.”

I know that you asked me here to talk primarily of the Far Eastern University (FEU)-ePLDT linkage allowing graduating FEU students to take a course called “Call Center Fundamentals” in preparation for employment in the ePLDT call centers, namely Vocativ and Parlance. I will talk a little bit about that tie-up in a moment, but first, I want to get something off my chest right away.

Every time the so-called mismatch is discussed about what education supplies and what industry demands, industry always points a finger at education, saying, “It is your fault.” You all know what pointing a finger means. It means that one finger is pointing at education and three fingers are pointing back at industry. I say now to you that, yes, education is to blame for the mismatch, but industry is three times to blame. It is your fault that industry demands what education does not, cannot, will not, and should not supply.

Let me borrow from two presentations that show how industry ignores the three fingers. Here is a slide from the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) presentation last February. Government and industry are telling education what to do with curriculum, syllabi, and teacher training.

(The slide came from a powerpoint presentation done for the DOLE Workforce Development Summit Cyberservices by then Commissioner Damian Mapa. Mapa recommended that English should be taught in all four years of college, that a third of all English lessons should be on “conversational English,” that all college and high school teachers take English lessons, and that all high schools have “English-only zones.”)

Here is another slide from the same presentation (the slide said that there would be 2.45 million college graduates from 2006 to 2010). Government and industry project a need (for cyberservices) for 450 to 550,000 college graduates over a five-year period, as well as a need for 100 to 120,000 from the unemployed or underemployed. Even if we used these figures, we can see that cyberservices wants 22.5% of college graduates to pursue a career in cyberservices, rather than nursing, education, science, or the humanities. The figures, however, according to DepEd and CHED, are wrong, because there are actually only about 350,000 college graduates a year and therefore only 1,750,000 eligible college graduates over five years. This means that cyberservices wants not just 22.5% but 31.4% of college graduates.

(I then showed another slide from the Academe-Industry Collaboration Committee
Manpower Planning Survey of PMAP. The slide gave four recommendations: “Strengthen the linkage between industry and academe; Involve schools in solving some industry problems; Increased emphasis on communication skills; Formulation of competence guide by the industry to be used by the schools.”)

Here are recommendations coming from PMAP itself. Notice that PMAP does not say anything about how industry should improve, but is saying only how it thinks education should improve.

Just as education should solve educational problems, so should industry solve its own problems. If you guys in industry cannot solve your own problems, do not ask education to solve them for you.

To demand that universities deny their vision as universities, which is to be as good as, if not better, than the best in the world or at least in the region, is exactly the same as to say that Henry Sy should not aim to build the biggest mall in Asia or in the world, that Metro or BPI should not be as credible as Citigroup or HSBC, that our local firms or local branches of multinationals should not be as efficient as General Motors, Wal-Mart, or Exxon. Just as all industries strive to be as good as the best industry in the world, so do all schools benchmark with the best in the world. Just as industry has its own role models, so does education.

What are the best schools in the world? According to several recent surveys, the ten best universities in the world, not necessarily in this order, are: Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford, MIT, Yale, Stanford, Caltech, Berkeley, Princeton, Columbia, and Chicago. In Asia, the top ten are: Tokyo, Kyoto, Australian National, Hebrew, Osaka, Tohoku, Melbourne, Tokyo Tech, Nagoya, and NUS.

Tell me honestly, do you expect a third of the graduates of these universities to have as their ambition careers in teleservices, E-services, IT outsourcing, IT enabled services, ICT enabled services, or business process outsourcing?

Education does not tell industry what to do, so can industry please stop telling education what to do? But since industry has been minding education’s business, I will now mind industry’s business. Since you insist on asking us to solve your problems, I will now give you my own ideas about how industry should solve its own problems.

Let us look at the facts. Every year, practically all 6-year-olds enter the educational system, most of them going into public schools. For every 100 of those who enter the formal school system in Grade 1, 62 will finish Grade 6 and practically all of them will move on to high school. Only 23 will finish high school, but not all of them will go to the post-secondary or tertiary or college level. Only 17 will go to college and only 14 will finish a four-year degree course. In absolute numbers, this means that, of the 2.5 million or so that enter Grade 1, only 1.5 million will go to high school, and only half a million will finish high school. Not all high school graduates go to college; only 400,000 will enter college and only 336,000 will finish a college degree.

The vast majority of these college graduates are nurses and will go abroad. They are not and should not be interested in a job in the Philippines, whether in cyberservices or elsewhere. In fact, FEU nursing graduates, which comprise the overwhelming majority of its graduates, are mostly now abroad (more than 80%, I think). Even if we do not remove the nurses from the potential workforce, however, we are still faced with an anomaly in the way industry thinks.

Let us subtract the number of college graduates from the number of high school graduates. We get roughly 200,000. Education will produce over the next five years 1.08 million high school graduates that will not finish college. According to the CICT’s own estimates, the maximum number of jobs available in cyberservices in the next five years for college graduates and the unemployed is 670,000. There is the solution to your problem. All industry has to do is to tap this vast pool of human resources.

Let me go back to the pointing finger. What are the three fingers that point back at industry?

The first finger is the insistence of industry to require a college degree for tasks that do not need college education. Here are some qualifications listed in wanted ads last week. For Purchaser, “graduate of any 4-year course.” For Quality Control Assistant, “candidate must posses at least a Bachelor’s or College Degree in any field.” For Receptionist, “Must possess a BSBA degree major in Marketing and Sales, Business Development, Economics, Finance or Accounting.” For Insurance Staff Reliever, “Must possess at least a Bachelor’s degree in any field.” For Transcriptionist, “Must possess at least a Bachelor’s degree in Sales and Marketing.” For Real Estate Consultant, “College Graduate.” For Medical Representative, “Graduate of any Science or Business Course.” Just scan the want ads in any Sunday paper, and you know that a college degree is required of practically every job. That industry does not really care whether the specialization of the applicant fits the job is itself a clear sign of bad business sense. By the way, a college degree is not the only popular requirement for all kinds of jobs unrelated to what one studies in college. The other requirement is, you guessed it, a “pleasing personality.”

The second finger is the unwillingness of industry to shoulder the costs of training recruits for its own purposes. It has long been known by linguists and language educators that there is no such thing as English for general purposes. All English is English for specific purposes. You need one kind of English to understand movies in English. You need quite a different one to understand the English that computer programmers use. You need another kind to understand the English that chess players use. Language learning today is always geared towards a particular purpose, whether it is to read scientific texts or to visit a foreign country or to order food in a restaurant or to become a call center representative. Schools teach the kind of English one needs to understand academic discourse, which is about as far from conversational English as legal English is to medical English. All industry needs to do to meet its human resources needs is to train high school graduates to speak the kind of English that the individual companies need.

Is that impossible? Not according to all the language schools that advertise on the Web. All these schools claim, and their products prove them right, that it is possible to learn a language, any language, in 200 hours. One foundation I head, and this is blatant self-advertising, has a program called “The 4S Approach to Literacy and Language,” which is being used by some call centers. We can take someone with terrible pronunciation and grammar and very little knowledge of English and we make that someone a call center representative in less than 200 hours. Ask me later if you want details. It’s a foundation, so the admittedly high fees go to charitable projects.

Instant learning of languages is not something new. Filipino scholars funded by Monbusho are asked to study Japanese for one semester and are able to attend classes in Japanese after only that one semester. American soldiers sent to war learn enough of whatever the language is of the country they are in to avoid being killed. If you can put your life on the line after only a few weeks of learning a language, you can certainly become a call center representative after only 200 hours of learning English. Answering calls is not a matter of life and death to CSRs, though they may look that way to those making the call.

In fact, in the FEU-ePLDT program, we do not even offer 200 hours of English language instruction. We offer only 66 hours. This brings me to FEU and ePLDT.

In 2003, FEU and ePLDT started a joint program aimed at supplying Parlance and Vocativ with fresh graduates trained not just in English but in Customer Service Management and American history, geography, and culture. The program consists of 108 hours of instruction over and above the usual subjects required by CHED for students to graduate. There are 42 hours of grammar, 24 hours of pronunciation and accent neutralization, 24 hours of customer service management, and 18 hours on America.

In the 2003-2004 or first batch, there were initially 69 students, 67 of whom finished the program. The terms of the MOA provided that trainees had to pass the normal ePLDT entrance exams. 59 out of the 67 passed ePLDT’s requirements. This pilot batch revealed a major deficiency in the training: most of the trainees resigned only a few days after they were hired, because they were not emotionally prepared for inbound calls. FEU and ePLDT then revised the curriculum to include interpersonal communication and some psychology.

The Summer 2004 batch went through the revised curriculum. Of the 37 initial students, 23 finished the training. This was a poor batch in terms of acceptance. I don’t have the actual figures, but there were very few that ePLDT hired. The main reason turned out to be the inability of the trainees to handle the initial job interview. FEU and ePLDT then revised the curriculum again to include mock interviews, as well as stress management.

Because of the changes, the 2004-2005 batch fared better. 35 students made it through the training and 30 were offered jobs for international accounts and 5 for local accounts, a 100% success rate.

Currently, there is a batch undergoing training, and we are hopeful that they will be as successful as the previous batch.

What are the best practices that FEU has instituted that may be of interest to those planning to start similar linkages? First is the presence of American instructors. Although Filipino English teachers will hate me for this, I think that the main reason our students do not learn English is they are being taught by Filipinos who have never lived in the UK or in the USA. I don’t think you will trust a chef to do a French dish who has never tasted a dish prepared by a French chef. If you had to have a heart bypass, will you entrust your life to a medical doctor who has never been inside an operating room? Will you trust a travel agent who has never traveled? The late Doreen Fernandez, then our best authority on food, used to explain why Philippine spaghetti is sweet, why Philippine paella does not look at all like the Spanish dish, and why there is no lumpiang shanghai in Shanghai. She said that the Filipinos that originally prepared these dishes had never tasted the original food and just made up the dishes according to rumor. Similarly, we make up our own kind of English because most of us have never listened or talked to Americans or the British in their own country.

One thing industry foundations can do, and I’ve said this again and again, is to shoulder the costs of Filipino English teachers visiting the UK or the US. One or two months in English-speaking countries will do more for English for a Filipino than all those grammar exercises and learning modules.

A second best practice is the use of an actual computer lab with software similar to that used in call centers. Hands-on simulation works wonders for training.

A third best practice is visiting an actual call center to get a taste of how it feels to work in one. This is not the same as practicum, because the time is very short, but it gives the potential CSR a chance to see that there is life in call centers.

A fourth best practice is to let the parents sign a contract with the sponsoring company. In the case of non-minors, who can therefore sign on their own, the parents can sign as witnesses to the contract. This way, the parents put additional pressure on the trainee to finish the training.

Let us go back to the fingers. The third finger pointing back at industry is pride or “fried chicken,” as we say in Philippine English. Industry is too proud to accept that education is itself an industry, with its own goals and objectives. Manufacturers do not tell retailers how to sell. Real estate developers do not tell bankers how to handle money. Although there is, of course, synergy and cooperation between different types of industry, there is also mutual respect. Education is also an industry. In fact, as you know from business surveys, FEU is one of the top corporations in the country as far as ROI is concerned. During the time of the late Brother Andrew Gonzalez, De La Salle University was one of the top corporations in the country in terms of profitability, although it was technically nonprofit and all profit was plowed back to the institution in terms of new infrastructure. That most of the taipans, and now even non-taipans, have deemed it wise to invest in or even to buy universities is a clear sign that education is a viable business. Industry should not tell universities what to do, but should give education the respect it deserves.

What, after all, is a university? Let us look again at Harvard and the other top universities in the world. What they do is what education should do. A university, in fact, all education from elementary to postgraduate, aims at educating, not training, persons. Industry needs trained employees. Education will not supply that training. Education exists for something else altogether, not to give people a chance to earn a living, but to live. There is a vast difference. Just look at Bill Gates. When is he happiest? He tells us himself – when he is playing contract bridge with his bridge partner Warren Buffett. That is living. That has nothing to do with earning money. In fact, Bill Gates hardly ever wins at contract bridge, because he is not a very good bridge player. But that is what makes him happy, not just the billions he makes from all that software. Of course, the billions help. I am not saying that industry should not make money. On the contrary, industry should make money, but universities are not interested or should not be interested in making money, just in making enough money to keep themselves alive to serve students. Bill Gates has a lesson there for all of us, whether we are in industry or education, or in the industry that is education.

Here are my own recommendations for industry. If industry wants to solve the mismatch from its end, not from the end of education, these are some things it can do.

First, industry should not demand a college degree for work that does not require Harvard-level education. I am very happy to note that, lately, advertisements for call center jobs no longer specify that the applicant should have a college degree.

Second, industry should financially support high schools to ensure that high school graduates are employable. After all, the revised Basic Education Curriculum adds livelihood as one of the major goals of secondary education.

Third, we have long known that one reason our education is weak is its length, or lack of it. We have only ten years of basic education, but every other country in the world, except one or two, has at least twelve. Industry should lobby for another two years of basic education, to be added to high school, in order to reach international standards as well as to increase the age of high school graduates.

Fourth, there should be a change in the way call center jobs are advertised. Call center jobs pay well, but that is the only thing good about them. They destroy families that can no longer sit down together for meals, they destroy the physical health of people biorhythmically attuned to sleeping at night, they ruin the mental and spiritual health of idealistic young people who have to listen to angry customers or to unresponsive clients, they lessen the chances of finding a suitable marriage partner.

I suggest that call center jobs be advertised as temporary, as a way to spend a year before taking on a job that one has studied for. For example, nursing graduates have to remain in the country for a year before they go abroad. Instead of being idle, they can work in call centers that cater to insurance claims and such, thus making use of their health vocabulary and knowledge. In fact, since they are good enough to go and work in the USA, they should be good enough to talk to Americans on the phone.

Fifth, industry should put its money where its mouth is. Fund Filipino English teachers to visit the UK and the USA, and see how dramatically the English of both teachers and students improves.

Sixth, industry should fund American and British teachers who can teach in our Teacher Training Institutions.

Having said all that about industry, let me now say something about education.

I head a professional organization of teachers and scholars teaching and writing in Filipino. The organization is called Wika, and it is devoted to making Filipino the sole medium of instruction in our educational system. I also am a member of the Philippine chapter of the English Speaking Union, which is devoted to propagating the use of the English language around the world, as well as the Foundation for Upgrading the Standard of Education (FUSE), which spearheads a lot of English-language programs. People sometimes ask me how I can reconcile these roles, not to mention my writing in both English and Filipino and writing about Filipino in a column in an English newspaper, or my teaching now in straight Filipino and now in straight English.

The answer is simple. There is only one way to improve the English of our students, and that is to make Filipino the medium of instruction in all subjects except English. When I teach an English subject, I teach in English. When I teach a non-English subject, such as literature, criticism, media, and even statistics, I teach in Filipino.

All educators know about the amount of research that has gone into the language of learning. There are hundreds of books and articles that prove that children learn best in their home language. Americans learn best in English, the Chinese learn best in Chinese, the Japanese learn best in Japanese, the French learn best in French, and so on. There is not even one book or article done by linguists (people with PhDs in linguistics) that says the opposite.

There are numerous experiments done in the Philippines itself that show that children that learn mathematics and science in Hiligaynon or some other vernacular language always score higher in exams than those that are taught in English. Even the results of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) shows that we scored relatively higher, all things considered, when our students took the test in Filipino than when they were forced last time to take it in English.

There is no question whatsoever that Filipino or another vernacular language should be the medium of instruction for math, science, and Makabayan. Even those that say that other countries are trying to learn English while we are supposedly trying to get rid of it conveniently do not mention that China will never allow English to replace Chinese as their medium of instruction, the Japanese will always use Japanese, and so on. The medium of instruction has nothing to do with whether we can learn English or not.

There is also no question whatsoever that Filipinos that finish college every year should know English. The country needs to know what is going on elsewhere in the world, needs to have people to do international business, needs to publish its research, and so on. I have shown you today that high school graduates that do not go to college can be taught BPO English in less than 200 hours per person.

But to learn English, students must have good English teachers. A good English teacher is one that has lived in the UK or the USA, even for only a couple of months. Remember that Filipinos learned English from the Thomasites in only one generation. Our grandparents still claim that they spoke better English than us, because their teachers were American.

The solution for the English problem is simple. Use Filipino to teach math, science, and Makabayan. Bring in good British or American teachers to teach English or make our own English teachers good by sending them out.

Education shares part of the blame for the mismatch, but it has only one part of the blame. Three parts of the blame belong to industry. It is time to stop pointing a finger at each other, because we only condemn ourselves. (First published in The Philippine Star, 7 & 14 December 2006)

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