Sara Duterte highlights AI challenges, pandemic disruption in SK education summit

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 21 2023 12:45 PM

MANILA — Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte on Thursday shared her insights on how the education sector can respond to the challenges of the 21st century, among them the disruption caused by the pandemic and the uncertainties of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI). 

During her speech at the 2023 Global Education and Innovation Summit (GEIS) in Seoul, South Korea, Duterte said “education has vastly evolved” in the past 20 years. 
“Education today must now exist side by side with technology, which continues to grow at an astoundingly rapid pace,” she said. 

Duterte said that children must be taught “how to differentiate truthful information from the untrue, to know what contributes to a learner’s development and what does not.”

“Critical thinking has become more important than ever,” she added. 

The official also lamented how the COVID-19 pandemic deprived the new generation of students many experiences available before the global health crisis. 

“During the pandemic, most students in the Philippines had to stay at home for their education, and I believe this deprived them the ease and function of communicative learning… Further, the pandemic deprived many students of social interactions that are largely developed in school settings, which includes group work and collaboration,” Duterte said. 

With this, Duterte said the students must be equipped with the 4 following skills:

  •  critical thinking
  •  communication
  •  collaboration
  •  creativity

“These four elements are widely considered by experts as the pillars of modern education and should remain the same in digital education where the learning environment departs from our traditional classrooms,” she said. 


Duterte also touched on the topic of AI, saying such technology "evokes shame, evokes fear because of the unknown."

"The advent of artificial intelligence will certainly create another paradigm shift in education. While this possibility will present newer and greater opportunities, it will also present many uncertainties in our vision of digital education," she noted.

Duterte said countries must be responsive to the effects of technology in the educational systems. 

"This means recognizing quickly what is not working and change it, to continuously improve even if it is a success and to always keep in mind that the most important result is not the technology itself, but how it affects the development of our learners," she said.

She also suggested that such advancements must be "studied by the end users before implementation."

To conclude her speech, Duterte said all efforts should lead to the "molding of productive and peaceful global citizens, equipped with 21st century skills, but with a heart for nation building."

Aside from attending the education summit, Duterte also met with high ranking officials of South Korea. She is also set to meet with the Filipino community there.

Duterte has been in the headlines recently for her request of confidential funds for the OVP and the Department of Education.