A catholic business education



For many people, a business education is all about making money—for the company and for the graduates who will become highly (even exorbitantly) paid executives.

Ordinary human beings are often just means to achieve the bottom line—workers to make the goods and services the business makes and the consumers of those products.

With the recent financial crises here and abroad that have hit ordinary people harder than corporate types, many questions have been raised about the kind of business education people are getting.

Dr. Peter Steane, associate dean (international) of the Australian Catholic University (ACU), does not believe business education should simply be about teaching students how to make their companies financially successful. The ACU business education curriculum, he says, also teaches values.

This is why, despite the proliferation of business schools in the country, Steane believes there is room for ACU. The university partnered recently with the local Australian Institute for Higher Education (AIHE) to offer Philippine-based students its Bachelor of Commerce (major in accounting) program, which is designed to prepare them for entry-level employment and future managerial positions.

But, despite the name, Steane says the kind of values-education ACU offers is not the Bible-thumping, in-your-face type associated with the religious kind of instruction. ACU, in fact, is a public school, its name derived from its being an amalgamation of small Catholic institutions for teacher and health worker training, among others.

ACU’s instruction is not about theology, Steane says, but it adheres to the catholic intellectual tradition. Catholic, aside from referring to people who are members of the Vatican-based church, has another, often forgotten, definition—open, broad, liberal, universal and comprehensive, rather than exclusionary and intolerant.

Although ACU generally looks for Catholic partners in its host countries, its business course is open to all comers, not just Catholics.


Emphasis on ethics


“ACU offers education that is based on values, not just business,” Steane says.  The ACU business course emphasizes, in particular, the common good and social justice. Steane points out, “You do not have to be a Catholic to value the common good and social justice.” The curriculum, he adds, puts a lot of stress on business ethics.

While the fundamentals are the same as in any other accounting program, ACU students are also taught responsibility, not just the skills, and how they can contribute to the common good, among other things. They are taught to be critical thinkers, not merely parts of a corporate mold without discernment.

David Alejandro P. Esteban, director for marketing of the AIHE and affiliate Australian International School, says they expect graduates of the undergraduate program “to articulate their values” in their places of employment.

As for the course itself, Steane points out that what ACU is offering is a full degree program, unlike many of those offered by other foreign institutions currently in the Philippines.

Antonio P. Esteban, David’s brother and executive director of AIHE and AIS,  explains that some institutions offer diploma programs but the document is not always equivalent to a full program.

Because the degree is awarded by an Australian university, David says, “The accounting qualifications (students) will earn from the course will allow graduates to practice in Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc.”

Of course, as in the Philippines, they will have to comply with legal requirements to practice as certified public accountants (CPA), like passing a board examination.

Foreign accreditation


Antonio says the ACU course offered by AIHE will be exactly the same, in terms of content and learning materials, as the one offered on the university’s campuses in Australia. This, according to Steane, allows for “international accreditation and recognition across jurisdictions.”

Antonio says the ACU course, which will be conducted in English, gives students a global, outward-looking perspective. “Australia tends to look outwards,” he says, “while local schools tend to be inward-looking.” The local faculty that will handle the course, he adds, will give students a global perspective anchored on the local setting.

Steane  says students will be drilled on local law and taxation matters so they can practice in their native environment, even as they are prepared to venture into the bigger world.

And students who enroll in the ACU program here can easily move to its other campuses as they will be earning the same credits as those given in other branches. Units earned in the first year of the accounting program are also fully transferable to any ACU Bachelor of Commerce major, like Marketing, Human Resource Management, Commercial Law and Financial Services.

For the ACU program, the school year is divided into trimesters that begin in January, May and September. The estimated annual fee is the equivalent of A$5,200 (about P240,000), at a unit fee of A$650.

Applicants should have Philippine high school diplomas but must have completed 11-12 years of studies, a Western Australian Certificate of Education or its equivalent, and a majority of the subjects taken in the final two years of secondary schooling must have been taught in English or they should have a score of 6 in the IELTS (International English Language Testing System).

For more information on ACU’s undergraduate Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting), call 5019347 or 7594091. AIHE is on the ground floor of the Makati Stock Exchange Building, 6767 Ayala Avenue, Makati City.

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  • Ommm

    This organization almost seems apologetic about being catholic and that’s hard to reason with…

    After all the catholic church is the worlds richest corporation. The Mafia is about second but they are all catholic too and have close ties to the Vatican. In fact most Mafia Don’s are buried amongst cardinals.

    You couldn’t ask for a more complete business than the catholic church. Vast art and priceless treasures…vast real estate holdings…many confiscated in the Inquisition era with landholders tortured and killed to obtain them. Recent Vatican leaks confirm the church funding terrorism and one would presume drug cartels or anything else that could make a buck.

    But what makes the catholic church even bigger than Microsoft is their humbleness. With their giantess and absolute wealth…they can still convince an 85 year old women to donate money so they may attain a place in heaven. It’s quite genius…just like Bill Gates finishing a days work then going out dressed as a beggar to beg spare change on the street.

    Who could beat such a business?   

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/276L22SZM5ZUQGV24IL4ZEF6UA Edward

      really? ngaun ko lng narinig yan ah galing sau dre…ask ko lng kung may hinanakit ba kau sa Inang Simbahan o tlgang trabaho nyo na magtiyaga at maghanap ng mga Catholic related articles at iba pa at para sa ganoon ay mag post kau ng mga maling estorya or twisted reports like vatican leaks, inquisition at magkalat ng kasinungalingan at maling paratang laban sa Inang Simbahan..poor soul…

      Alam nyo po ba kung ano ang inquisition? o sadyang ayaw nyo lng tanggapin na maraming mga inosenteng buhay ang nailigtas ng inquisition laban sa pag aakusa ng masasamang loob? Ginawa ng Simbahan ang inquisition na ang layunin ay para mailigtas ang mga taong inakusahan o pinaratangan ng kung ano ano tulad ng pagiging heretic ng Simbahan. Ito ay nangyari sa panahon na kung saan iisa ang estado at Simbahan. kawawa nmn ang isang nilalang na maakusahan gaya ng pag akusa bilang isang mangkukulam without giving the person the right to defend himself. Kapag nakarinig ka po ng salitang inquest sa piskalya ay iyon na po ang bunga sa kasalukuyang panahon.

      Oo nga pala gumastos ng milyon milyong pesos nga ang mga kultong grupo nyo gaya ng paglimbag ng watchtower, pasugo etc. at nag maintain pa ng mga tv stations programs just to destroy the Catholic Church..eh dito pala libre mag post ng paninira laban sa Inang Simbahan…napupuna ko lng din lahat ng mga kultong ito na may kanya kanyang paniniwala galing sa iisang Bibliya ( kaso kulang ang mga libro nito)na pag aari nmn ng Inang Simbahan pero NAGKAKASUNDO SILA at NAGSAMA SAMA sa isang layunin na batikusin at paratangan at gawan ng katakot takot na estorya laban sa One, Holy, Apostolic, Catholic Church….

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3QBMYPCCPWL5IDWF55BTBVWSAE UPLB-2008-3****

        actually I don’t care whatever church/cult is it – I’m really loving my secular-humanist life. I don’t think you need a god/bible/church to discern things that are wrong – and by wrong, I mean, things that hurt other people or put them at a disadvantage. And by hurt, these do not include belief-induced hurt, i.e. your parents are hurt because you are homosexual and that is frowned upon by the religion/faith your family is subscribed to.

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