The measure of a nation’s development, in its infancy, relied on the total money value of the goods and services produced by a country in a given year. Thus, the gross national product (GNP) was considered as the yardstick for development then. Due to the increase in GNP and less improvement among the poor, much of the focus has been shifted to the improvement of the quality of life of the individual where in the early 70s, man became the measure of development. Instead of the economic paradigm, the attention is now on the humanistic side.

Development does not happen immediately in a nation since it still requires time for growth and sustenance. As the Third Developmental Decade brought about a realignment of priorities based on the subsequent decades of study, investments were carried over to three major areas that needed precedency namely agriculture, education, and health. Not only that, landmark concerns were also considered including women in development, environment, social dimensions, indigenous people, and sustainable development.

Despite the many ideas and various viewpoints in measuring the development of a country, there are still other variables that contribute to its growth. Several quantifiable indicators cover nutrition, health, skills and education, income, employment, capital resources, housing and environment, crime incidence, social mobility and even political values. National development branches out to structures, relationships, elements, and even conflicts between individuals and their interactivity with communication.

Henceforth, the central measure of growth relies on how effective the programs were in achieving specific short-term and long-term objectives. Moving on, the growth and development of a nation shall be further investigated in the critique of the papers “The Proactive Information Society” and the one that explores the future of communication education.

From a technological paradigm, it has been evident that the first paper discusses the positive outcome of the utilization of technology in the agricultural sector. It was based on the premise that the primary cause of underdevelopment is the inability of a country to employ modern technology in agriculture, industry, transportation, telecommunications, and health.

Collectively, it has also been mentioned that because of the use of the MUAR (Maximum Utilization of Agricultural Resources) Model, the agricultural production at the macro-level was increasingly optimized. Due to the agricultural exports, Philippines have achieved a degree of affluence which yielded the government to provide welfare services to the people.

However, there is a panacea of problems in terms of its integration or even the adaptation of new technology as some people are still “technologically backward.” There is a discrepancy between people who know how to operate a technology and those who don’t which needs further assistance. The aforementioned statement was elaborated in the paper where computer literacy has only increased among the well-to-do. Thus, the existence still of the massive gap between information-rich and information-poor.

The paper can also be viewed using a communication policy analysis method known as Scenario Construction as it illustrates the agricultural progress in the Philippines. As mentioned before, through the MUAR model, developed by a multi-disciplinary team, the country has become the 6th largest producer of food in the world in 2001.

Seeing the development at its most optimistic and best-case scenario, the paper brings forth the relevance of communication in agricultural progress. In an economic sense, the abundance of wealth that was achieved in time through exports to Middle Eastern countries and neighbors such as Korea, Singapore, and Japan, the people of the country benefited from the national progress in the agricultural sector.

The latter portion of the paper discusses how national development led to the utilization of new technology and the shift to a technologically-based society. Again, it is very clear that the change from agricultural dependence to technological dependence exemplifies that information is the most important commodity in development communication in a society.

Other than the many channels of mass media and its vital responsibility of delivering international and national information, the consumption of people using new-age media devices such as computers, tablets, laptops and even smart phones creates a wide gap among the Filipinos. It is notably defined in the Digital Divide phenomenon because it is a social condition that puts emphasis on the widening gap between people who are information-rich and information-poor. Consequently, in the Scenario Construction method, it points to the advent of societal development in a more pessimistic state or also known as the “worst-case” scenario.

The Scenario Construction adheres to six steps that serve as a framework in creating a description of hypothetical events in the future of a particular system. It includes system definition, timeframe establishment, identification of external constraints on the environment, provision of elements that may or may not meet the goals, recognizing the likelihood of the occurrence of elements in probabilistic terms, and the sensitivity analysis of the results. Both scenarios, good and bad, are conveyed in the paper and generally it highlights the possible causes of digital divide.

While it is understandable that technology helped the agricultural sector of the country improve, there is still an underlying problem in terms of the relationship of people and the whole idea of introducing new-age technology. The creation of such model is commendable as it yielded to positive results but it is obviously not enough to assess the whole development of the nation. There is a need to reassess the readiness of the community and enable an active participation from them in order to fulfill their needs and to enrich their knowledge in the anticipated integration of technology.

This led to the introduction of the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) which aims to lay the foundations of a proactive society that shapes its environment and its desired future. The MIC, with its four operational areas: national communication policies and plans; mass media and social marketing; telecommunications and networking; census and statistics, epitomizes the task of teaching people to understand and be able to use technology. It was also stated that 20% of the national budget was allotted to information and communication because of its degree of importance in addressing issues concerning the “Digital Divide.”

As the second paper presents the future of communication education, it generally gave emphasis on creating communication curricula that are responsive to the forces of demand and supply which then could serve as a foundation in achieving national development.

The issue still narrows down to technology illiteracy. While in the previous paper, the gap between people who know and people who don’t has been constant, the current text implies that without the idea or understanding of how a computer operates, it solely defeats the purpose in providing massive information to the people. Moving forward with the use of technology will not prosper as there is a problem in proper training and skills development in the local unit. With that, the paper sees the threat of global economic collapse, revolution, hunger, overpopulation, and nuclear war because of the ambiguity in technology literacy.

Thus, increasing the need for trained media men and women who are well-versed of the new communication technology, it creates a reactive role for the communication graduate. Inversely, it was presented that a proactive role for the communication graduate was a much more favorable and realistic stance as compared to the former. The awareness of the pivotal role of communication and information in the future should be considered in creating the communication curricula.

Both papers revolve around three important ideas namely education, information and communication, and the sustainability of development. The illustration of the Philippines’ rise from an agricultural to an industrial or technologically-dependent country, the issues concerning Digital Divide should be addressed in order to create strategies and solutions that would enable a smooth transition. Policy creation based on the active participation of locals should meet their needs in order to achieve goals and objectives.

Information is the glue that holds the country’s growth and development together. The critical foundation of the development of a nation solely depends on the people and their willingness to prosper. Thus, the key to successfully thrive as a country relies on the participation among the members of the society.

(Published: December 21, 2014)