Monday, February 20, 2012

Political will

 In a difficult time like this, a leader should understand what are the primary problems of the nation and act on it with utmost determination to fix them.

Last night, the US President announced in his State of the Union addressed universities and colleges that the higher education on notice he said. "Higher education can't be a luxury— it's an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford." What Obama showed was leadership, vision, courage and political will.

When can we find our own  politicians allocate their pork barrels to train college students for high-growth industries that would provide financial incentives to colleges and universities who offer programs that ensured their students find work?. When can we find a leader that will say and at the same time act to make college degrees at quality universities affordable?

candor dat viribus alas.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Escalating college costs killing the dream

My friend Ruben enrolled his son at an elite college in Quezon City. His dream seeing his son graduating in that university is their family’s ultimate goal. Since he is working in Saudi Arabia he has no problem in terms of paying the tuition fee. Until now. His company was coded red meaning that Saudi citizen will be prioritized in terms of employment. His income, which is not increasing for the past three years, is in jeopardy. This year he paid around P53,000 for one semester tuition fee of his son but his incomes barely budge..

In the Philippines, the parents are now experiencing the escalating college costs in an era of very slow increase of income. There are families now who opted to enroll their children in city or state colleges because college is becoming so expensive.

The crux of the problem: Tuition and fees which surged to more than 400% over the last 20 years -- while middle class incomes have stagnated.

During my college time tuition in 1988 rang in at about P2000, adjusted for inflation. By 2012, that number had climbed about roughly P36,500 a semester -- and that doesn't include books or room and board.
Income: If incomes had kept up with surging college costs, the typical Filipino would be earning around P600,000 a year. But in reality, it's nowhere near that.

In 2009 -- the latest data available -- the average family income of Filipinos was P129,000  or roughly P10,750 a month. This only validates that there is growing disparity between income and the cost of higher education.

Being a college professor I am now seeing families are taking on unprecedented levels of debt or downgrading their child's education from private to public to cut costs.

It is a reality that a college degree is not an assurance to be employed but it will give you a fighting chance. Economic statistics validate that there is more opportunity for college degree holders than a high school diploma.

To solve this problem it requires the direct intervention of the government.It is true that the government allocated 3.1% of the GDP for education but it is far below compared to Malaysia whose spending forms at least 8.1% of their GDP for education or to Thailand whose budget for education amounts to 5.2% of their GDP.

We can not speak of comparative advantage when the costs of college education is now the foremost barrier to enter hence the government should intervene before dreams will be put in a wayside.

Arnel L. Cadeliña


Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The Retreat : leave the temporal in order to find the eternal,

Last month, I accompanied my business students in their retreat at Tagaytay City. The spiritual "recharging" we all need because there are lot of noises in our environment nowadays. The technology and the gadget can always "connect" us to everyone we know or even to strangers. The media and the social networks really made our life easier but our spiritual need is getting colder because of these.

The only chance to see our real selves and to connect to a higher calling is to have a silence for a few days. Without TV, cellphone, IPad, internet and even temporary disconnection to our family. This is the time to know who we really are and what is our purpose in this place called earth.

The three day retreat gave me these realizations:
1. Everyone of us on whatever beliefs we have are longing to connect to God.
2. We pray mainly in order for God to give us what we need but there are cases that what we asked can not be given for reasons we don't know..

3. There are two kinds of prayer: the prayer of God's suitor and the prayer of God's workers.
4. The God's suitors are Christians who only prays to ask but not helping in the propagation of His kingdom either by words or deeds.
5. The prayers of God's workers are the first to be answered because his prayers are like the prayers of the prophets, apostles and healers before and during Jesus time. You can check the bible and see how the prayers of Job, Jonah, Paul, Peter and the other were heard. Miracles do happened and it usually given to God's workers.

Retreat is truly beneficial to everybody and all of us are called to be God's workers in our own ways. The benefits: He will always take our prayer into account and give us what we "really" need.

Life is difficult according to Scott Peck but one way to cope was  written centuries ago by St. Ignatius of Loyola: go on a 5 day retreat to discern spirits and to learn following the inspirations of God.

This Lenten Season, I encouraged you to try one.