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The guidance counselor as 'career hero'.

At its 38th annual convention held on Nov. 26 and 27 at Hotel Benilde Maison De La Salle, the Career Development Association of the Philippines (CDAP) initiated a lively exchange of views on discovering and forging pathways toward sustainable careers. This is a subject that has resonated quite strongly among parents and students, especially in the light of the impending nationwide implementation of senior high school in 2016, as mandated by the K-to-12 Law or Republic Act No. 10533.

The event organizers led by CDAP founder Josie Sta. Maria, president Mari Jose and vice president Joey Alejo sought to present to the participants the journey taken by major sectors of our society as they attempt to change the landscape to embrace a K-to-12 environment.

To do that, CDAP brought together speakers from the academic elite, like Vincent Fabella, president of Jose Rizal University; Ma. Paz Monica O. Ortiz, Ateneo de Manila University HS guidance counselor; and Susana A. Estanislao and Marissa C. Pascual, university counselors for De La Salle University.

Fabella pointed out that in many cases the conversation on industry-academe partnerships and linkages usually takes place between just the industry partner and the academic institution. To make the engagement truly sustainable, he said, the students' needs, goals and aspirations have to be part of the discussion, and this is the critical role that rightfully belongs to the career adviser, or perhaps even the dean of students.

Alexander L. Lacson, noted author and transformational leadership advocate, shared his thoughts on nation-building and how career advisers can help guide the Filipino youth in their choice of leaders. Angelito G. de Guzman, VP for human resources at GlaxoSmithKline Philippines, provided insights on engaging employees for the right career path, while Ma. Corazon M. Luz, Harrison Profile International's managing director, discussed the latest trends in career assessment tools.

Oscar A. Torralba, from the Management Association of the Philippines and the Commission on Higher Education, spoke of K-to-12's strategic role in addressing employability and work readiness. Torralba also cited the groundbreaking work of the IT and Business Process Association (Ibpap) in forging lasting partnerships between the IT and business process management industry and higher education institutions that hew closely to national development goals.

Said keynote speaker Henry Motte Munoz: We need to go back to the basics-about what students want, what is relevant to their goals, interests and aptitude, and economic capacity. Because what's the use of education when it won't give you the requisite skills that you need to build the career that you want, and one that fits you? What use is choice without guidance?

Munoz's mother is Filipino and his father is French. He grew up in Europe and holds bachelor's degrees in economics and economic history from the London School of Economics. He started work at Goldman Sachs and later moved to Bain Capital's Private Equity team. He later attended Harvard Business School on a company scholarship and graduated with distinction. He was recently named by the Asia Society as part of the Class of 2015 Asia 21 Young Leaders, the preeminent network of young leaders from across the Asia-Pacific, representing the private, public and nonprofit sectors. He is also the founder of, a comprehensive online database of higher education courses and scholarships that went live in July.

The truth is, many employees spend the better part of their waking hours engaged in work that gives them nothing more than pay, Munoz said. How much more for our students who cannot even decide on what college path they are to take? This is when our jobs become more interesting and, shall I say, more optimistic. This is how we bumped into the idea of

Munoz recalled a conversation he had with a graduate of one of Manila's top universities, and whose parents were both college-educated: She told me she enrolled in graphic design, but initially wanted web animation. At the time there was no good search engine, so she took the course she found and just got to specialize later into her course, in her third year. She later found out she could have taken that specific course in another university, and not wasted two years of schooling. This shocked me. Surely, considering her resources, shouldn't she have known?

At 28, Munoz is sometimes baffled by the way young minds work when deciding on careers. He said he and his team at see education as accessible, in the sense that a Filipino should not be limited by his grades, location, income, and continuous education, in the sense that education doesn't stop when you graduate in your early 20s.

We believe career guidance counselors are career heroes who can inspire our students on making the right decisions for education that will lead to sustainable careers, he added. We are here to support your counsel with the information we collate from government, from schools, and from the industry. We are your partners. We are but an instrument-you are the chef d'orchestre, the maestro.
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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Nov 28, 2015
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