The right education

By Randell Tiongson on June 18th, 2012

I am honored to have a guest post by my good friend Edmund Lao. Edmund is a Registered Financial Planner and a columnist for Business Mirror. He is also in the forefront of financial literacy for Filipinos.


The Right Education by Edmund Lao

Education  is the formal process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills, customs, and values  from one generation to another. Whatever knowledge we acquired from experiences, experiments and discoveries of the past generations became the basis of our education today. Without formal education nowadays, one is surely bound to be bracketed in lower caste. Such importance is given to education that the status of a person depends on what school school he or she graduated from. Taking a look at the present , it cannot be denied that education has become a luxury already. In the early 80s, tuition fees cost only around Php 50 per unit. Tasking a full load will mean only around a thousand per semester. Nowadays, the fees range from Php 30,000 to Php 200,000 per semester. Worse, the quality of education is not even at par with that of our Asian counterparts.

Just imagine the hardship all the parents have to endure just to have their children finish schooling. Then when the graduate finds a job, unless he comes from an exclusive school, the compensation he will receive pales in comparison to the expense incurred to finish his course.

Then the new graduate will be in the rat race, taking the same road traveled by The Tired, The Retired, and The Re-Tired. This is because our current educational system gave too much emphasis on the technical aspect. Our system gave little importance to teaching the basics and the values to our generation. Ever wonder why we have corrupt people in the government and in the workplace? The only culprit is the lack of right education. The more information and knowledge we have now, the more ignorant we become. The more ignorant we are financially, the more risk we make in handling our finances. Just observe. If really we are more educated especially in this high technology age, why are there more people who cannot make both ends meet despite the fact that they are earning good income? The painful truth is that more and more people are having low emotional and financial intelligence quotient.

To a certain extent, Robert Kiyosaki was right in saying that our current education system is designed to make us employees rather than entrepreneurs.  His biological dad had an excellent education and great job, yet constantly struggled for wealth. His “poor dad” followed all the rules, yet died penniless. His best friend’s dad, on the other hand, dropped out of school but always asked himself how he could make more money. The “rich dad” was a savvy businessman and investor, however, and become very prosperous. We have also our version of Rich Dad in the persons of Henry Sy, John Gokongwei, Lucio Tan, etc. They never finished schooling but they knew the basics of creating wealth. I am not emphasizing that our youths drop out of school and become wealthy. What I am driving at is that

unless schools modify their curriculum, definitely there will be more future “poor dads”. Their experiences and the basic principles of finance can be shared to inspire the students to emulate them in terms of growing wealth the righteous way… Doesn’t it the progress of a country depends on the citizens comprise it? If majority of the people belong to the poor bracket, no matter how good the economy of a country is, it will still belong to the so-called Third World countries. Just take a look at our more progressive neighboring countries and see the difference. Most of these countries have a savings ratio of more than 30% while we are at around 15%. The only way for a country to upgrade its current status is to help educate its citizens be financially aware.

There are two viable solutions:

First is to teach children at home and create the mindset and habit of saving money. I,  for one, teach my kids by example. It is very important to practice what you want to teach. I have my own piggy bank to show them I save and now they have their own piggy banks. Whenever I give them coins, they automatically put it into their piggy banks.  What RFP Randell Tiongson said is true, that personal finance is 80% behavior and 20% knowledge.

Second is to include personal finance as a curriculum starting from elementary up to college as a continuation and strengthening of what was learned at home.. To some, personal finance is boring but it depends on the professor. In fact, having heard RFPs like Randell Tiongson, Efren Cruz,  Alvin Tabanag speak, I can say that they help create interest and excitement in the minds of the audiences. Schools have been including minor subjects which have no bearing on the course.  Why not include personal finance subject which can create positive impact on their lives later. If the government wants to create a progressive Philippines, then make financial education an investment that will give the country an unlimited return.


16 thoughts on “The right education”

  • That’s actually one thing na mejo nakakapagtaka. A lot of people know that we should include financial literacy in the school’s curiculum pero why up to now, no actions has been made on this. Need yata natin gumawa ng signature campaign on this para mapansin tayo ng DepEd or Congress.

  • Another thing is, why most of the Filipinos were on the hype about K-12 (siguro nga kasi ‘pag bago feeling nila mas maganda) pero wala parin ‘dun ‘yung hinahanap natin, mas maganda talaga if those solutions mentioned above would be included in our curricula. And financial literacy advocates should be more proactive in spreading the “right information”, because the opportunity to become financially free is not only for the rich but also of the financially disadvantaged. Sali ako sa signature campaign!:)

  • Personal finance must be included in the curriculum to create a more progressive next generation. Dept of Education should not only think of extending the current education to Grade 12 but to also include subjects that add value to people’s lives as well.

  • With many of the teaching force and public officials don’t know how to handle their “own” personal finances, no wonder mahirap isulong sa education system natin ang subject ng Money Management for Pinoys.

    I guess, for the time being, let’s be responsible for our own money and enforce to our own families that proper values on money matters.

  • True. It is an uphill climb but there must be a force that will jumpstart. Like a car… before it can travel at a high speed, there is a need to accelerate it by switching from neutral to first gear. What we need is the first gear to start it rolling…Without any form of action, all our efforts will be spent in vain. As RFP and Pastor Chinkee Tan pointed out. Mindset +Action=Result.

  • That’s true about Mindset + Action philosophy. But, if we just also look at those progressive Western countries, they had hard time doing it on their curriculum. Kaya nga yung mga “alternative” education program offered by the likes of Kiyosaki, T.H. Eker, etc have a place in our society.

    That’s probably a solution we can look for fellow Pinoys, just my opinion 😉

  • Nice idea but sometimes the teachings of Eker and Kiyosaki are being abused to create wealth at the expense of others… Still the best is to include personal finance in the curriculum as a way to impart the knowledge to the students.

  • Dear Edmund and Randall,

    Although I’m only living in this beautiful country for eights years now, I have a slightly different opinion about the education system, the influence of Religion and the economic power of remittances.

    First of all the education system. In my frequent exposure to teachers of even the better and best schools in the country I have noticed that the focus in the classroom is on the transfer of knowledge and facts. In sharing thoughts with many of the teachers during for example Metrobank’s search for the best teachers in the country, but also during my earlier lectures for some MBA classes, I noticed that in the classroom there is often only little space for discussion.
    To put it differently it seems that schools are focused on transferring facts, guidelines and rules instead of teaching students how to use their brains to find solutions in many different situations. That last skills is mostly needed to turn situations that are challenging into opportunities for growth and find ways how to benefit from it financially.

    Being a predominantly Roman Catholic country seems not helping in building economic prosperity as you can find in many former Spanish and Portugese Colonies. However the Religion, the Catholic values summarized in the 10 commandments and Jesus way of sharing between all and providing opportunities for everyone are proven engines for economic growth. I guess the church still need some help in finding way how to implement these values effectively.

    Lastly I belive that the remittances of the OFW are a blessing in disguise as clearly they support the country with the hard needed inflow to boost economic activity, the remittances are also earned by people with a similar profile as the entrepreneurs you mention. Because as an entrepreneur you have to be willing to take some risk, same as every OFW that leaves their family and everything they know behind in order to build a new future abroad. So yes I do think it is a drain of entrepreneurship that is the price we have to pay to be able to get the inflow of remittances.

    So my conclusion is simple; in order to build the country to a much higher level of economic prosperity we have to first of all start teaching our youth to think instead of to follow orders, secondly start living a life according to what Jesus showed us was right instead of what the church tells us to do and lastly ensure that many of the OFW’s that have left and learned new experiences and skills come back to share these with us and let the whole country benefit.

  • Our parent taught us to study and to become OFW,however i think we should study on basic investment and enterprenuership.We sacrifice a lot like loneliness and depression away from home. When we going home, We should treated our money for investment rather shopping or indulging fiesta syndrome. We should educated our family members.

  • Yes, there’s a need to develop our educational system in this fast-changing world.
    Financial literacy and entrepreneurship is a must at the least.

  • I guess the government has to take a lead on this through the DepEd. The DepEd should revisit if all subjects required in Elementary and High School are indeed necessary. Pardon me for the bias but I believe one of the subjects that should be scrapped is Music or Music and Arts (I don’t know if it’s still how they term it now). Instead, topics with practical applications and very helpful in setting the youth for financial prosperity in the future such as finance planning should be included in the curriculum. Not everyone would need to be musically or artistically inclined anyways. But financial literacy is something that everyone would be needing as we go along with our lived.

  • Some schools have started to include financial literacy subjects in their curricula. One school in Las Pinas (Southville) has a facility where students can play Cashflow 101. I heard that there’s even a live PSE portfolio in their stock market investment “lab”.

    I think if every financial literacy advocate like each one of us could teach in at least one school or university, there will be significant effect in the mindset of the youth. I bet they’ll even teach their parents what they’ve learned from us.

  • Pru Life, through it’s advocate, Cha Ching, has already worked with Dep Ed to install financial literacy in the curriculum. One of the latest to join is Hope Christian High School. I hope my alma mater St. Stephen’s High School follow.

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The right education