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The Future of Business Education

From Manila Bulletin (July 15, 2013 Issue)

As the Philippine economy accelerates to a growth rate of GDP of 7 to 9% in the
next ten or more years, there will be a great pressure on the educational system to
produce the right amount of qualified people for the business sector. Although there
must be a greater emphasis on both the quantity and quality of scientists,
engineers and other technical people who will be needed by the businesses that will
be the leading growth sectors, such as agribusiness, manufacturing, IT-enabled
services, biotechnology, construction, infrastructure, mining, energy and telecom,
business education will continue to account for anywhere from 20 to 25 percent of
all tertiary education That is why it is important that we re-examine the state of
business education in the Philippines today.
As an accounting major in my undergraduate years, I must point out that a great
deal of what passes for university education in the field of business is really
equivalent to a technical or vocational course in most advanced countries today,
especially in Europe and Asia. The introduction of the K + 12 curriculum will give us
the opportunity to make use of the last two years of pre-university education, which
will be called senior high school, as a preparation for a good number of students for
technical or vocational courses in accounting, computer programming, customer
services, selling and other occupations in business that do not need a college
diploma. Here, we can also add the emerging field of farm entrepreneurship that
prepares small farmers to become self-employed entrepreneurs in their own right if
given basic skills in both farming and management along the lines being followed
by the Meralco Foundation. After senior high school, only one or at most two years
will be needed to equip the youth with the necessary skills for these occupations.
These courses can lead either to a technical certificate or an Associate in Arts
degree. It is time we cure Philippine culture of the obsession with college degrees
that are irrelevant to both personal and social needs. I dream of the time when a
skilled carpenter, plumber, mechanic, butcher, electrician, etc. can have the same
social status as an engineer, lawyer or medical doctor. This is no utopia since this
situation already prevails in most advanced countries in Europe and North America.
I have a nephew who lives in Canada and is a skilled car mechanic. He makes more
money and is more cultured than a good number of lawyers who spend their time
chasing ambulances in America (read John Grisham's latest thriller ''The Litigators'').
What about university education in business? To answer this question, let me briefly
survey the history of management education in the West where it all began. There
is an excellent summary of management education in a publication of the European
Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) entitled Promises Fulfilled and
Unfulfilled in Management Education. Four countries--France, Germany, the United
Kingdom and the United States--were identified as the prominent catalysts in the
growth of management education from the 19th century to the present day. The
French called their management education schools ''Ecoles de Commerce'', the
Germans ''Handelschochschulen'', the British ''Schools of Commerce'' and the
Americans ''Business Schools.'' In the initial emergence stage, the trade-school era
(late 19th century to the early 20th century), the original purpose of management

education centered on the idea of a liberal and moral education for business people.
The aim was to enhance the status of the professional manager in public and
private life.
Pioneer schools were Wharton School (founded in 1881) and the Harvard Business
School founded in 1908. Textbooks, curricula and case studies were developed. In
1916, the AACSB (the American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business) was
founded. These schools, however, did little, or no, research and were considered as
''wastelands of vocationalism.'' Then came the Gordon/Howell (Ford/Carnegie
Foundation sponsored) reports in the United States in the late 1950s, which
coincided with the period when I was pursuing my Ph.D. in economics at Harvard.
Those who conducted the study were investigating the veracity of the criticism that
business schools lacked research output, academic credibility and legitimacy. The
conclusion of these reports proposed an alternative business school model that
emphasized strong social science perspective and academic rigor. The educational
philosophy of logical positivism embodied discipline-led scholarship with a clear
focus on analytical models and scientific rigor. This US model together with a
redesigned general management MBA degree became the dominant design for
business schools in the 1960s and 1970s. I was a personal witness to how this
model was transferred to Europe in the early 1960s when the Harvard Business
School, with a grant from Ford Foundation, helped the IESE Business School to
initiate the first MBA program in Europe. The same team of HBS professors, led by
the late Dr. Stephen Fuller, was also instrumental for initiating the Asian Institute of
Management (AIM) in partnership with Ateneo University and De La Salle University
in the early 1960s.
By the late 1970s and early 1980s, however, concerns began to emerge from
practitioners and academics about the overly scientific focus of business schools
and the lack of relevance to real-life management issues of much academic
management research. Some of the more vocal critics were Professors Hayes,
Abernathy, Levitt and Livingston at the HBS. They argued that despite all efforts,
there was still no established body of managerial knowledge. Whether or not as a
result of this, the field of management education suddenly saw an explosion of
readable management books from authors such as Jim Collins, Gary Hamel, Peter
Drucker, Tom Peters and Michael Porter. These books told, through the vehicle of
cases and well-constructed stories, how managers and leaders addressed and
handled strategic issues to bridge the gap between academic research and
managerial relevance. They had strong appeal to the growing generation of
managers and leaders.
At the same time European schools, such as HEC (France), IESE (Spain), IMD
(Switzerland), INSEAD (France) and LBS (United Kingdom) established their growing
influence on management education and promoted an European identity. They
stressed elements that were more reflective of European traditions, including
action-learning, practice-engaged research, customised executive education and,
most importantly, a focus on international linkages, activities and research. A
distinctly European identity and style in management education has become more
apparent. In the last ten years, this has been joined by a rapidly evolving Asian
identity and form of business school following the shift in the global economy from
west to east. The top business schools in Asia today are in India (e.g. the Indian

Business School) and China (e.g. the China European International Business School).
We shall now examine in the second part of this paper what can be learned by the
Philippines from these global developments in management education. For
comments, my email address is

Tertiary Education Challenges

By: Ching Jorge, Philippine Daily Inquirer, September 2, 2011 issue
Tertiary education responds to three distinct national goals. First, it aims to educate
the youth to become active and productive members of society. Second, it seeks to
meet and match industry demand with a competent and globally competitive
workforce. Finally, through a continuing effort to reach global education standards,
our universities aim to increase the quality of human capital and productivity vis-vis national and economic progress.
Naturally, many issues continue to plague our tertiary education system.
Substandard institutions habitually fail to produce graduates with industry-standard
competencies. Lately, we have seen the emergence of institutions that take
advantage of industry trends by offering courses that aim solely to generate more
revenue for the institution rather than deliver quality education to its enrollees. We
have also seen the proliferation of so-called state and community colleges that
create poor options for students by providing substandard education. Given these
circumstances, the following tertiary education components now deserve tighter
1. Teacher quality. Do college instructors consistently meet the minimum
qualifications as faculty? Do they have the skills and experience to guide the
students in their chosen programs, and do they exhibit the professionalism and
dedication needed to inculcate the discipline of scholarly inquiry?
2. Quality of programs and course offerings. Are the course offerings designed to
provide students with the needed skills and knowledge to become competitive
individuals, achievers in the workplace, or have they just been re-programmed to
meet market demand and generate more revenue for the school at the expense of
3. Governance. How are these schools managed? Are they run by education
professionals? Are the schools affected by politics or are they used for political

motivations and gain? Do the school administrators have the professionalism and
expertise to run the schools?
Consider the nursing sector, for instance. We now have an oversupply of nursing
graduates. However, the low passing rates of licensure examinations are a huge
cause for concern. We can only speculate that the apparent abundance of nursing
graduates who fail their licensure exams may be due to the penchant of some
rather unscrupulous nursing colleges to sacrifice quality in favor of higher
enrollment figures.
Then there are the Teacher Education Institutions. The Unesco report on Reorienting
Teacher Education to Address Sustainability states: Teacher Education Institutions
fulfill a vital role in the global education community; they have the potential to bring
changes within educational systems that will shape the knowledge and skills of
future generations. The culture, character and development of our nation rely on
the quality of teachers we produce. These are the individuals who mold the minds of
our future generations. It is necessary to make sure that these institutions are
monitored strictly for compliance in their curriculum and values, and that they are
provided with the innovative teaching strategies and methods that can help them
reach out to students and achieve global standards for teacher education.
The Commission on Higher Education has announced that it will step up efforts
monitor substandard colleges and universities. The CHEd is fully aware that it needs
to actively regulate all programsincluding Nursingthat produce unemployable
graduates or exhibit low or even zero passing rates in board exams. It faces the
challenge of making sure that all non-performing schools are closed and minimum
qualifications for faculty are monitored. It must also exhibit strong governance over
state colleges and universities as well as colleges developed by local governments
to ensure compliance with quality education standards.
Public and private higher education should not compete but complement each
other, with the primary objective of meeting national development goals.
Educational institutions must develop programs to reflect the needs of education
and the youth.
Erda Tech Foundation is an educational and training institution that aims to provide
technical/vocational skills to disadvantaged youth. It provides five-year secondary
education programs with a six-month training in the final year. Over the years, with
its focused, quality programs, it has produced graduates that are able to meet
industry demand in their respective fields.
The One School calls itself a non-traditional college and puts emphasis on
personalized learning. It offers a three-year undergraduate course in
Entrepreneurship and Fashion Design and Marketing. The One School employs
alternative education techniques where mentoring, low teacher-student ratios, oneon-one instructions are arranged. Its curriculum and method of teaching have
adapted to the changing learning needs of students today.
These two programs in different sectors show that excellence in learning can be
achieved with innovation, quality education and with the formation of skilled,

empowered individuals as its top priority. Setting up schools for higher education is
much more than providing infrastructure. It is about being able to produce
individuals who can compete locally and globally in their chosen fields. With this we
will be able to produce a highly educated citizenry that will pave the way to
progress in the country.

New Trends in Higher Education: In Pursuit of Continuing Quality In Higher
Education Through Accreditation: The Philippine Experience
The State of Philippine Higher Education
Journal of Philippine Higher Education Quality Assurance
Entrepreneurship Education in the Philippines
Evaluating Private Higher Education in the Philippines: The Case for
Choice, Equity and Efficiency

The shape of things to come: higher education global trends and emerging
opportunities to 2020
The Role of Private Higher Education in the Philippines
The Future of Business Education in Developed and Emerging Markets