Wednesday, May 29, 2024

‘Technopreneurship’ to be offered as elective subject in engineering courses

In an attempt to boost the entrepreneurial skills of science and engineering students in the country, the government has signed an agreement with a non-profit organization to include entrepreneurship subjects in engineering courses.

Photo shows (from right) PhilDev chair Diosdado Banatao, CHED chair Patricia Licuanan, and USAID mission director Gloria Steele
Photo shows (from right) PhilDev chair Diosdado Banatao, CHED chair Patricia Licuanan, and USAID mission director Gloria Steele

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Philippine S&T Development Foundation (PhilDev) inked a cooperation agreement “to ensure that Filipino engineering students will graduate with the knowledge and skills to productively utilize and benefit economically from their ideas and innovations.”

PhilDev, formerly known as Ayala Foundation USA, is an organization backed by US-based Filipino scientists and chaired by Silicon Valley icon Diosdado Banatao.

In the agreement, CHED and PhilDev said they have identified areas of cooperation as follows:

  • A subject on Technopreneurship, which shall be included as a 3-unit mandated General Education Elective for undergraduate degrees in engineering;
  • Track electives on Technopreneurship, which shall be available to undergraduate and graduate students who wish to avail of said track;
  • Piloting of Technopreneurship track in select HEIs (higher education institutions), to be jointly identified by CHED and PhilDev, prior to full scale implementation; and
  • A training program for engineering faculty who will be teaching said courses.

The CHED will also undertake any or all of the following activities identified, with the support of PhilDev:

  • Review of existing engineering programs in select HEIs, through the PhilDev?s Visiting Professor?s Program;
  • Development of a Technopreneurship General Elective (GE) subject and track electives for undergraduate and graduate students, following CHED policies, standards, and guidelines;
  • Piloting of the Technopreneurship track in select HEIs, to inform eventual full scale implementation;
  • Development of a Transition and Scaling Plan to identify steps forward following culmination of USAID grant to PhilDev by 2016.

The MOU is an initiative that is part of the three-year Innovative Development through Entrepreneurship Acceleration (IDEA) program being implemented by PhilDev, in partnership with the United States Agency for International Cooperation (USAID). IDEA aims to create and strengthen a S&T-based entrepreneurship ecosytem in the Philippines.

During the MOU signing at the CHED main office in Quezon City, PhilDev’s Banatao said entrepreneurship will allow the country to reap benefits of its investments in S&T education.

“Entrepreneurship is the fastest diffusion of wealth into the population — there’s nothing else,” said Banatao, who is credited commercializing the graphics accelerator chips found in most computers today.

For her part, CHED chair Patricia Licuanan recalled that the idea to develop an entrepreneurship approach in science and technology courses was first presented by PhilDev almost a year ago.

“Through the initiative, we hope to plant the seeds of entrepreneurship in Science and Technology in our universities and colleges through the development of a Technopreneurship general elective (GE) subject and track for our engineering students,” she said.

Licuanan said the program will also build partnerships between local universities and higher education institutions in the US.

?We hope that through this collaboration, we are able to instill in our youth the entrepreneurial know-how and spirit, to turn their skills and knowledge into S&T products, businesses and ventures that will boost our national competitiveness and create jobs for our people,? the CHED chief said.

Meanwhile, PhilDev said it is holding its second annual IDEA Global Entrepreneurship Symposium 2015 on February 26 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Cebu City.

Now on its second year, the annual IDEA Symposium is a platform to create and expand dialogue between the US and Philippine higher education institutions, government officials, startup entrepreneurs, and industry leaders.

The symposium will also feature US professors and entrepreneurs and will serve as a venue to link startup companies and venture capitalists with emerging technologies and expertise.

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