"The new normal will be heavily influenced by the technological trends... which you, our graduates, need to prepare and master for our country's future," said Dr. Emil Q. Javier, the 23rd commencement speaker of the University of the Philippines (UP) Mindanao held last July 13, 2021.
In his speech during the virtual graduation rites participated in by a total of 126 candidates, Dr. Javier urged the class of 2020 and 2021 to gear up in operating remotely and innovating with the new normal trends that will affect occupations and professions in different ways.
“COVID-19 is a novel experience for us in the Philippines. The challenge that comes is how young graduates prepare [them]selves for the disruptions and aftershocks that come after the pandemic,” he stated.
He added that, “The pandemic has really undoubtedly changed the way people live and work. These disruptions and transformations are most evident in the number of people working at home.”
In preparing for the challenges in the new normal, he encouraged the graduates to take the lead by possessing digital, cognitive, problem-solving, and social and emotional skills to ensure direction and leadership not only in the workplaces, but in their respective communities.
He also shared the 10 very important trends in technology that the graduates should focus on, namely: the next generation of computing, the application of artificial intelligence, machine learning and robots, distributed infrastructure, programming connectivity, the biotech revolution, next level process automation and visualization, clean technologies, nanotechnologies and the next generation of materials. “Our graduates [should] take note of those keywords because these are the trends that you must prepare for and try to master, not only for your own personal careers but part of your obligation as iskolar para sa bayan.”
Dr. Javier emphasized the accumulation and accessibility of the vaccines to inoculate at least 70 percent of our population to attain herd immunity as quickly as possible. “We are now in a real recession for the first time after so many years. The challenge is how do we carefully calibrate the deployment of vaccines as they become available, particularly for the seniors with comorbidities, the frontliners, [and] also to those centers of populations where infections are highest.”
He was optimistic in saying that “the quicker way of attaining health immunity in the country is by opening the schools.” He reinforced this by stating that “the young people are not immune to Covid-19. They will also be infected but experiences all over the world show that most young people are asymptomatic, or the expression of the disease is mild, and hospitalization and morbidities are very rare. We have to prioritize the vaccination of teachers and employees in the public school system.”
Dr. Emil Q. Javier is a plant geneticist and agronomist who served as the 17th President of the University of the Philippines and was conferred the rank of 42nd National Scientist of the Philippines for contributions in agriculture.