Press Release
October 4, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara has proposed a radical transformation of the country's state universities and colleges (SUC's) into more research-focused and innovation-driven academic institutions.

Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, raised the proposal at the budget hearing of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the SUC's today.

"We need a new model for conducting and managing higher education because the old model does not seem to be working too well," said Angara, citing the poor performance of top-tier Philippine universities in international university rankings.

"We have several outstanding universities but they are only islands of excellence in an ocean of mediocrity," he remarked.

"At the same time, universities must have research as their dominant activity. Otherwise, you do not deserve to be called a university at all."

The innovation clusters are envisioned to be Public-Private Partnerships in research and development among the academe, private sector and government through the Department of Science and Technology and CHED.

Angara has previously recommended downloading DOST's research fund to regional SUC's that have the expertise and manpower to conduct R&D that could be deployed and utilized immediately in the fields of agriculture, food security, education, healthcare among others.

DOST Secretary Mario Montejo has already lent his support to the innovation clusters program which is being engineered by the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) chaired by Angara.

"The innovation clusters will, in effect, will bring together the tripartite partnership of the government, academe and industry under a common goal: stimulating growth through R&D," explained Angara.

The initial innovation clusters proposed are ICT on Cloud Computing in Cebu; High Value Added Electronics Products; Philippine Institute of Algae Research & Commercialization; Remote Sensing for Precision Agriculture; Non-adversarial Mining Technology in Mindanao; Disaster Management; Rice Self-Sufficiency; High Valued-Added Crops; and Biotechnology for Health.

Angara, also the Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, added that the innovation clusters will help SUC's flourish amid the progressive decline of state subsidy for higher education.

"The nominal amount allocated for higher education has been increasing over the years however our per capita spending has been declining," he noted. "So we have a common stake here. We have to pull together, put every effort, attention and resources available to us to lift the standards of education in our country."

Angara urged SUC's to drive for self-reliance and create an environment hospitable to R&D, from which both students and faculty can profit through the creation of incubation parks within universities.

"SUC's must thrive, not just survive. This is an effort at helping you flourish--become a major contributor not only to training our talent pool, but also toward creating useful technologies for our country's development," he stressed.

News Latest News Feed