Press Release
January 23, 2008


Speaking at the FEU Nicanor Reyes Memorial Lecture Series 2007-2008, Senator Edgardo J. Angara today called on universities to take active roles in national development. "Universities and institutes of higher learning play indispensable roles to national development."

"Apart from performing their basic duty of educating the population and producing trained and skilled manpower, universities can also spur urban and rural development, nurture leadership in governance, business and religion and enable effective institutions," said Angara, former President of the University of the Philippines.

According to Angara , the definition of national development varies from country to country. UN outlines development with the achievement of the 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDG), while Bhutan measures it in terms of Gross National Happiness (GNH) and other countries use the Happy Planet Index and the Satisfaction with Life Index.

For Angara , national development is "a country where every man, woman and child have access to social services and has gainful employment."

In achieving development, universities may play the role of incubator of ideas through research consortia, S&T incubator parks and R&D projects .

"Universities create new knowledge and study their application, nurture and train people to become experts, especially in the wealth-generating field of science, technology and innovation" Angara explained.

He cited the experience of South Korea and China who invested heavily in R&D channeled through universities. The Philippines for its part has put up the Engineering Research and Development for Technology (ERDT) Consortium and the Diliman Science Complex and Technology Incubation Park. More recently, Angara proposed the creation of a research consortium among six State Universities and Colleges in the Cordillera Administrative Region.

As catalyst of urban and rural development, universities engage in extension services, university-government linkage and university-industry linkage. As illustrated by the African Institute for Science and Technology (AIST), these linkages hopes to develop a "push-pull relationship" between the university and industry or government.

Another important role of the university if as nurturer of leaders, both in the public and private sector. "Universities are the breeding ground for leaders in our society," said Angara citing the role of UP National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG) in training public officials as well as students in public administration.

Universities can also play the role of enabler of effective institution by sharing its knowledge and expertise. With this, Angara urged universities to use its most valuable resource, its "brainpower" to undertake research studies that are immediately usable, available and practical.

The Nicanor Reyes Memorial Lecture Series invites speakers to discuss topics of interest to the students and the whole academe. Past lecturers include Ambeth Ocampo who discussed Filipinos: The Nation in the Eyes of Our Heroes, Gerardo A. Mariano of the Philippine Press Council who gave a lecture on online journalism and Dr. Thomas Kral of USAID who tackled on The English Language in Asia.

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