By MELITO SALAZAR JR.
When Dean Cesar Virata took up a management course, he did it together with an engineering program. He must have realized the need to combine the two elements in order to be the compleat executive. And so he became.
Succeeding generations of potential business professionals went through a different path. They were funelled into a tunnel leading into the deeper and narrower specialization, until their knowledge became limited to a very precise aspect of economics, finance, marketing, risk, etc. To communicate among themselves, they borrowed the scientific concept of systems which was useful for a time until the problems and desired solutions became more complex and complicated. The entry of computers gave the tool to crunch the numbers towards larger and more capable machines as the enterprises started to “mine their data.”
Education began to evolve in the opposite direction. The undergraduate degrees rediscovered the “general education curriculum,” giving the graduates the ability to create, integrate, initiate using the template that allowed arts, culture, and science mix transform into something meaningful. When one went through the graduate programs of top USA universities, it looked like prerequisites in the evolving global scene, discoveries in arche11ology and ancient art, human ecology and music in Africa and China had replaced the required common math, science, and management subjects.
What has occurred in business is happening in other disciplines as the world is demanding less of specialization and more generalization, especially as we begin in communities. One cannot expect a local community to need and afford a specialist; the problems faced and solutions desired are from a general family doctor. Growing up, I remember Dr. Jara making house calls and rendering immediate service. Today I do not get that attention unless I go to a clinic, more often found not in a hospital but a mall. More severe diseases necessitate a specialist in a special center. The solution is clear — a hierarchy of hospitals, but up to now it is a promised unrealized. Local government officials want their names or ancestors emblazoned in poorly equipped special centers not fully furnished community hospitals.
I have lost the nurses I knew when my aunt. Dr. Rosario Diamante was the first principal of the UP School of Nursing. Today they are now specialized with degrees and leave much of what they use to do to the caregivers. They focus on checking the metrics produced, take a perfunctory look at the patient, and rush to the rest of other patients to have the numbers needed for passing a requirement or test. One longs for the Tender Loving Care of yore. The goal seems to be to make it to a foreign assignment with better compensation. No need to blame anyone as all are searching for greener pastures, as only the policemen and soldiers are getting anything worthwhile under the Duterte adminstration.
Can we get the pendulum to swing back to the good old days? Maybe if we start with ourselves. Less wants and more needs. A greater concern for the others than us. Letting our children be men and women for our country. Let us begin now.