Diplomas are meaningless
ANY parents dream of having their children finish college. They endure hours of preparation and waiting for that brief few seconds when their child goes onstage and receives their diploma, and takes a bow.
That precious diploma — in many families it a relic of pride, often laminated or framed and hung on a wall. It supposedly certifies a person’s competence and qualification for a job in their field.
When I came back home almost 10 years ago to get involved in our family business, one of the first things I did was to go over our employee application process. My dad had long ago designed a test for applicants to take which involved basic arithmetic — adding long rows of numbers, subtraction, multiplying by 3 digits, division, etc. I remember he made me take that same test when I was just a kid dragged to the office and being bored to tears.
I thought that test was no longer applicable. Who adds rows of numbers by hand anyway? And why would there be a need for that when calculators and computers can do the job faster and with better accuracy?
So I wrote a new set of tests. In my mind, it was simple and would simply serve as a simple baseline check of the skills of the applicants. Any college graduate ought to be able to pass the test, thought. Heck, even an elementary graduate ought to pass the test.
The first part consisted of having around 5 words per number and all the person had to do was arrange those words in alphabetical order.
This had a practical application. We run a retail drugstore and one of the tasks of the employee was to arrange some products in alphabetical is I order.
The second part consisted of basic arithmetic. John buys 3 tablets of brand X at 3.25 per tablet. How much does he have to pay? He gives you 20 pesos. How much is his change? Nothing harder than that — just real-life figures with real-life examples.
We used to require that our applicants be college graduates, so over the years, we’ve had hundreds of people with diplomas taking that test and the results are dismal — more than half of those failed.
What does it mean when hundreds of college graduates can’t pass a simple test consisting of items that I would have encountered when I was in sixth grade? What does that piece of paper mean then?
These days, we no longer require that our applicants be college graduates. They come, they get trained, and what makes them succeed will be their attitude, their willingness to learn, and their ability to assess situations and solve problems that come their way.
If they perform and if they are up to the task, don’t even need to know what that piece of paper says and I don’t need to see their transcript nor their grades.
In the business world, only results matter.* I L
OST in the brouhaha over the release of thousands of convicts by the Bureau of Correction (Bucor) officials led by then Bucor Chief Nicanor Faeldon and his shameless attempt to release former Calauan mayor Antonio Sanchez which was prevented by public outrage, was the fifth official visit of President Duterte to China.
Days before President Duterte’s most recent trip to China, his subalterns announced that the time has come for him to raise the country’s legal victory at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague in his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. This was confirmed by the President in a speech before the Filipino-chinese businessmen.
The Filipinos, therefore, had every reason to hope that at long last, President Duterte in his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing would raise the country’s legal victory in the Hague. During such discussion, China’s baseless claim to the West Philippine Sea, its militarization of seized islands and repeated intrusions into our country’s exclusive economic zone would be raised. But our hopes turned into a national disappointment. Not only was the Hague ruling fleetingly discussed, our President was said to be apologetic to his Chinese host.
According to President Duterte’s spokesperson: “The President said, “I didn’t want to alarm you with what I’m about to raise because of your problem in Hongkong, which is why I’m asking for forgiveness but I need to say this because I promised my countrymen.”
What we cannot understand is why Duterte should be the one who would ask forgiveness instead of the Chinese President whose country repeatedly violated our sovereign rights with its countless intrusions into the Philippine waters, the harassment of Filipino fishermen, the numerous trespassing of its warships into our maritime zone and countless acts of bullying an obsequious neighbor.
If President Duterte was not serious in his promise to the Filipino people that he would raise the country’s legal victory at the Hague, what then was his purpose in having a fifth official visit to China? The rules of transparency demand that the Philippine government must enlighten its people on the following crucial questions:
How much did the taxpayers spend in the latest Duterte pilgrimage to pay obeisance to a foreign power?
If loans were secured from China, how much was incurred and how much is the interest? Why do we prefer loans from China rather than from Japan where the interests are much lower?
If investments were promised by Chinese businessmen, will these not affect our environment and not prejudicial to the rights of indigenous peoples?
And here is the most important question. Why is Duterte so deferential and submissive to China? Borrowing the words of PDI columnist Joel Ruiz Butuyan, “What secrets does China hold against our President that he treats it with the kind of reverence he doesn’t even accord to God?”
(By Democrito C. Barcenas)