Pres. McCann delivers CPU commencement address
Dr. Betty Cernol-McCann, Silliman University (SU) president, delivered the commencement address during the 91st Commencement Exercises of Central Philippine University (CPU) held April 28 in Iloilo City.
“Wherever your journey leads you,” she told the new CPU graduates, “the Fourth Industrial Revolution and its impact on the education you’ve already received will mark the paths you take.”
She characterized each of the four Industrial Revolutions, explaining that the first had to do with water and steam power, which allowed for the mechanization of production. The second was characterized by the onset of electric power, which led to mass production and to urbanization, use of mass communication, and other developments. The third, where we are today, is exemplified by adoption of digital technologies, data processing, and the Internet.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution, she explained, is the shift toward “integration and internalization of technologies in intimate interaction with basic human activities,” which can be seen in innovations such as the use of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, bionic medical devices, drones, and many other technological breakthroughs.
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution will consist in technological breakthroughs that challenge us to think through once again what it means to be human… (and) to think through the skills needed to continue flourishing through the aid (selective, perhaps) of new technologies,” said Dr. McCann.
She cited a World Economic Forum report, The Future of Jobs, which listed ten competencies needed to navigate the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Complex Problem-Solving; Critical Thinking; Creativity; People Management; Coordinating with Others; Emotional Intelligence; Judgment and Decision-Making; Service Orientation; Negotiation, and Cognitive Flexibility.
These soft skills, Dr. McCann said, all the more become important as people deal with the rapid technological changes in the workplace. The role of higher education in empowering graduates with the right skills for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, she emphasized, also includes instilling in them the skills required for continued learning.
“The likelihood is that in whatever career path you take, you will be challenged with certification requirements; the need to upgrade your skills through seminars, continuing professional education and the like. Our job as educators is to prepare you for a world in which learning will be continuous. Graduation doesn’t mean an end to your acquisition of knowledge and skills, but actually only its beginning,” added McCann.
To read the full text of Dr. McCann’s commencement address, click here.