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Setting up Entrepreneurship training for future engineers

/ 12:02 AM February 24, 2015

The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) is setting up a “Technopreneurship” track, merging Science and Technology with Entrepreneurship, for the Engineering curriculum.

The aim is to produce graduates who will not just do well as laboratory nerds but also succeed in business.

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Technopreneurship may become, after three years, a three-unit General Education elective for undergraduate degrees in Engineering and a track elective for graduate students.

CHEd Chair Patricia Licuanan said the Technopreneurship general elective subject and track for Engineering students was designed to “plant [the seeds of] entrepreneurship in Science and Technology in our universities and colleges.”

FEATURED STORIES

To implement the program, the CHEd signed a memorandum of agreement with the Philippine Science and Technology Development Foundation-Manila Inc. (PhilDev).

Licuanan said, “We hope that through this collaboration, we are able to instill in our young people and college students the entrepreneurial know-how and spirit, to turn their skills and knowledge into science and technology products, businesses and ventures that will boost our national competitiveness and create jobs for our people.”

She said, “The [engineers] don’t just stay in laboratories. They don’t just stay nerds. They become successful businessmen as well.”

The initiative, the CHEd chair said, dovetailed with the agency’s promotion of priority programs in Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Mathematics (STEAM), considered crucial to the country’s development.

Next Silicon Valley

Gloria Steele, mission director of the United States Agency for International Cooperation in the Philippines, said the track would “help the Philippines become the next Silicon Valley.”

She said one of the barriers to the Philippines’ achievement of accelerated and inclusive growth was “weak human capacity.”

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PhilDev chair Diosdado Banatao said, “Technology is one of the best ways of infusing, catalyzing, a high rate of growth in any economy.”

Innovation, he said, was followed by entrepreneurship. The country’s accelerated and inclusive growth would be attained by gaining access to the global market using technology-

based products.

Licuanan acknowledged that it would be a challenge to include entrepreneurship in courses other than Business Administration. But she said the CHEd was up to the challenge.

The Technopreneurship track will be piloted this year in five higher education institutions (HEIs): Mapua Institute of Technology, University of the Philippines Los Baños (Laguna), University of San Carlos (Cebu), Xavier University (Cagayan de Oro City) and Technological Institute of the Philippines.

Amelia Biglete, director of the CHEd office of programs and standards development, said validation of the track from the pilot HEIs could mean its integration into the Engineering curriculum of 25 more schools early next year.

Transition planning

By 2016, she said, CHEd and PhilDev would undertake transition planning to broaden the reach of the Technopreneurship track and electives and the training of faculty in both public and private Engineering institutions for full-scale implementation.

Public consultations, Biglete said, would be conducted from next year until 2018 for the drafting of policy guidelines and issuance of a CHEd memorandum order formally integrating Technopreneurship in the Engineering curriculum nationwide.

Steele stressed the importance of Science and Technology in providing the engine for the country’s growth. She said accelerated and inclusive growth could be achieved through improved STEM research capacity and by incorporating Entrepreneurship into Technology to turn “bright ideas into businesses.”

Under the memorandum of understanding, signatories are committed to review existing Engineering programs through PhilDev’s visiting professors program, develop a Technopreneurship general elective subject and track electives for both undergraduate and graduate students and draft a transition and scaling plan to ensure sustainability.

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TAGS: ‘technopreneurship’, Ched, Engineering, Entrepreneurship, Learning
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