By Leslie D. Venzon
MANILA, June 22 (PNA) – The country needs to invest more in higher education and skills training that can contribute to inclusive growth, according to a study by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).
PIDS consultant Dante Canlas said new jobs in new industries, such as those in information and communications technology (ICT), have emerged.
He said the demand for highly productive jobs increases as other industries innovate and grow by adopting ICT in their processes.
“It is thus important for public policy to ensure that access to higher education and skills training required by these new jobs are expanded and equalized. Otherwise, income inequality gets perpetuated as the economy continues to grow,” he added.
However, Canlas noted that entering college depends on the ability of a family to pay and not on the ability to learn, “a situation that needs to be corrected to make growth that is driven by higher education inclusive.”
“If public policy can adequately address the phenomenon of missing financial markets for college education, then the likelihood of achieving inclusive growth from investing in higher education rises profoundly,” he said.
In pursuing inclusive growth, Canlas underscored the need for the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to play a key role in various activities, including designing student loan and other financial aid programs and determining the budget allocations of state universities and colleges (SUCs) by region.
“Amid missing markets for college education loans, the government can fill the gap. A loan program is advisable as the graduate can capture the returns from his or her investments through enhanced lifetime earnings. It also improves allocation of resources,” he said.
Canlas further said a national loan program will need to be legislated with the CHED taking the lead in drafting the bill. The program may also include the option of accrediting private lending institutions like banks to participate.
“Loan guarantees and subsidy schemes will have to be extended to incentivize lending institutions to join the program,” he added. (PNA)