People's CornerLetter to the EditorA challenge to knowledge-based workers

A challenge to knowledge-based workers


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I have been writing a series of posts advocating for the transformation of educational institutions to better align with the evolving technological landscape.

I appreciate the feedback I’ve received from both friends and strangers, whether they agree or disagree with my perspective.

What has particularly caught my attention in these responses are those that seem defensive and focused on self-preservation rather than measurable actions. These responses often consist of personal or general statements rather than concrete quantifiable institutional steps.

While I empathize with these reactions, I want to emphasize that the issue at hand is inherently institutional, and not personal.

Educational institutions endure over time, transcending the individuals who work within them. Teachers and administrators may come and go, but the institution itself persists as a distinct entity, sui generis.

Therefore, our approach to educational planning, funding, and implementation should be guided by quantifiable actions. For instance, when someone expresses support for digitizing universities, the next logical question should be how this aligns with specific curricular changes.

Consider this: Should we still be debating whether to offer Typewriting classes or not?

I often find myself frustrated when a teacher or friend suggests that typewriting aids in learning computer typing. Politely, I remind them that typewriters are analog devices, while computers are digital, and involve a multitude of commands.

Nowadays, even kindergarteners can teach themselves to type. Yet, some allegedly digitalized institutions continue to offer Typewriting classes. How does that make sense?

To drive this point home, I propose a thought-provoking challenge designed to prompt administrators and educators to address a pressing institutional concern. I propose hosting a competition in Dumaguete involving a high school student, pitted against three esteemed college professors from the fields of Physics, English Literature, and Political Science.

The task at hand is for each professor to craft a concise two-page essay within a mere 10-minute timeframe, while the high school student will have only 30 seconds to answer each question, which may include copying and pasting responses into either Microsoft Word or Apple’s Pages. In total, the high school student will be allotted 90 seconds to answer all the questions posed.

To provide context, here are sample questions:

  • Elaborate on the distinctions between classical and quantum physics.
  • Analyze Hemingway’s Iceberg Theory of writing.
  • Discuss John Stuart Mill’s Harm Principle in Philosophy.

The twist is that the best and brightest teachers will write manually, while the high school student will use ChatGPT. Subsequently, the five of us will compare the resulting responses.

Imagine the outcome of such a competition to our knowledge-based workers. If this doesn’t compel us to rethink how we teach and manage our educational institutions, then perhaps it’s time to reconsider our stance on the matter.


Dr. Efren Padilla

[email protected]






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