Vice President and Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Sara Duterte, on Wednesday, Dec. 13, addressed the Global Education Meeting (GEM) Report 2023 by proposing to adopt technology changes to ensure that all learners have equal opportunities to benefit from technology.
In a video message, the secretary called for the urgent need for equitable access to and effective use of technology in education with evolving industries to avoid skills mismatches and job losses.
While acknowledging the region’s progress in adopting technology, Duterte stressed, “In this digital age, industries are evolving rapidly, demanding new skills and competencies.”
“We must align our education systems with these evolving demands to avoid skills mismatches and job losses,” she added.
The GEM Report 2023 captures the current state of technology in education in Southeast Asia and serves as a valuable resource for all in the region.
Duterte pointed out that over 50 percent of school-aged children in Southeast Asia now have access to the internet at home. However, millions still lack the resources to participate fully in the digital learning environment.
“One of the most pressing challenges is ensuring equitable access to technology in education. While many communities have benefitted from technology, there are still underserved populations that need to be reached,” the secretary said.
Additionally, the report highlighted new learning platforms are emerging, ranging from low-tech options to cutting-edge technologies that disrupt traditional education models.
Meeting evolving demands
Duterte then proposed the need for targeted career guidance, “reskilling and upskilling” opportunities to prepare the workforce for the changing landscape, where an estimated 6.6 million Southeast Asian workers are expected to face redundancy due to “technological advancements.”
She also suggested, “We must adapt to these changes and ensure that all learners have equal opportunities to benefit from technology.”
In addition, the secretary mentioned that the department’s main focus is to provide fair access to technology and education for everyone.
“We must ensure that no one is left behind and that the benefits of technology reach everyone, especially the marginalized and vulnerable,” she added.
Moreover, the report also highlights some remarkable statistics. In 2021, at least 220 million students were enrolled in massive open online courses.
The percentage of internet users worldwide has increased from 16 percent in 2005 to 66 percent in 2022.
In Southeast Asia, internet users grew from 16 percent in 2004 to 70 percent in 2021, reaching 400 million users.
Furthermore, the secretary also pointed to the importance of collaboration and partnerships. “No nation can solve this challenge alone. By sharing best practices and resources, we can create a more inclusive and sustainable education system for the entire region.”
Duterte expressed her appreciation for SEAMEO’s efforts in fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing among member countries.
She also emphasized the importance of working together to develop concrete policy and program implementation recommendations in the digital era.
“I hope that the findings of the report facilitate more opportunities for collaboration in the region. By working together, we can overcome the challenges and create a better future for generations to come,” Duterte said.
“Let us embrace this knowledge and use it to create an inclusive, adaptable, and learner-centric education system in Southeast Asia,” she added.