Senators alarmed by new graduates' lack of 'soft skills'

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 12 2023 03:27 PM

MANILA -- At least two senators expressed their concern on Wednesday regarding the difficulty that many new graduates reportedly encounter in landing jobs.

A recent report by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) underlined the fresh graduates' lack of "soft skills," or traits that have to do with empathy, creativity, resilience and communication. 

In a text statement, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III stressed the nation’s need to invest in improving the skills of people in order to ensure their productivity. 

Everyone must remain productive, he said, especially because life in the Philippines is now more difficult. 

“I am alarmed with a lot of things happening in our country. Our young people also have difficulties in buying or owning their own houses. Humirap talaga ang buhay ngayon,” Pimentel said. 

"We all have to be productive citizens. Hence, we have to invest in human capacity especially while our people are still young and equip them with skills which will be useful and practical in life," he added.

Sen. Sonny Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Youth, meanwhile noted that the lack of soft skills has always been a problem of the youth, even before the pandemic. 

The Congressional Committee on Education (EDCOM), which is tasked to improve the state of education in the country, is already discussing this problem, according to Angara. 

For Angara, one way to address this problem is for parents to also do their share. 

“The lack of soft skills was already a problem of graduates before the pandemic. It’s one of the concerns our educational system needs to address going forward, alongside poor reading comprehension, among others. Parents must also do their part as much as possible, though this is difficult with OFW parents and other realities on the ground,” Angara said. 

But for Sen. Francis Tolentino, the major issue that hinders the youth from landing jobs is the status of the today’s economy. 

“I am not in total agreement with the CHR conclusion. While there are some perceived deficiencies relative to the online delivery of instruction, some 'soft skills' such as time management, perceptiveness, listening and self-discipline, among others were developed during that pandemic online experience,” Tolentino said. 

“Perhaps some interpersonal skills were not nurtured, but just the same, coupled with the hard skills they learned, our graduates are competitive. Let’s just hope our economy recovers soon," he added. 


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