How to #EndPoverty? Develop state universities
BULACAN, Philippines – Government officials and social entrepreneurs both agree: It’s the countryside’s time to shine.
"The real hope are people from state universities, people from rural schools and public schools,” Gawad Kalinga (GK) Founder Tony Meloto said at the 2nd Social Business Summit on Thursday, October 2.
Senator Pia Cayetano agreed, saying there is a need to empower the countryside through social entrepreneurship and the development of state universities.
“Manila and Metro Cebu are overcongested. We want to bring this to the countryside,” the chair of the Senate committee on education, arts, and culture added.
GK Executive Director Luis Oquiñena also urged budding social entrepreneurs to go to the countryside, since Manila already has too many entrepreneurs. (READ: LGUs told: Graduates need not always head to Manila)
"To end poverty, we should go to communities and know the people by name. Personalize it, so no one is left behind,” Oquiñena said. (READ: ‘Walang iwanan’ economy: Bridging markets, communities)
'Start them young'
To date, about 200 higher education institutions in the Philippines already offer programs on entrepreneurship, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson Patricia Licuanan said.
For her, it is important to start students young through volunteerism and social entrepreneurship so they can become active citizens in the future.
"I’ve noticed that more and more young people are really aspiring for entrepreneurial careers. We are seeing more and more young people going into businesses,” Licuanan said, lauding the positive impact of social entrepreneurship.
Joel Villanueva, director-general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) said their programs should be developed with the youth, rather than for the youth.
"I believe the power of youth, when channeled to productive activities, can change the world. What can we do to help them make the difference? It’s simple: Let’s engage them,” he added.
In August, GK opened the School for Experential and Entrepreneurial Development (SEED) at the GK Enchanted Farm.
The two-year program, which opened with 47 students from various public schools in Bulacan, aims to "produce graduates who will tackle poverty through agriculture and innovation."
GK sees the school as a place where young social entrepreneurs, for their love of the country and their fellow poor Filipinos, will lift many from poverty. – Rappler.com
Follow Rappler's live blog of Gawad Kalinga's Social Business Summit here.