By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo on Tuesday recognized the crucial role of academic institutions in promoting social responsibility and innovation among the youth.
During a forum on Social Innovation held at Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea, Robredo spoke about how paramount the Philippine universities in social responsibility and innovation.
“First, that universities have the ability and the resources to come up with evidence-based research on effective and sustainable practices in various communities, exploring what works and what doesn‘t,” she said.
Robredo then cited the De La Salle University, which partnered with other institutions here and abroad in the implementation of governance research and training.
DLSU has the Institute of Governance that has designed and conducted policy studies in various areas and the Social Development Research Center that uses community-based monitoring system.
“As experts and leaders in the development sector, we all need to develop a common results framework, with shared metrics, so we can measure the impact of our collaboration,” she said.
The forum gathered 60 of the top government bodies, corporate, and university leaders in Seoul to learn about how innovations can contribute to sustainable development in the Asia Pacific.
In her speech, the Vice President also shared the “sustainable approach in service-learning” of the Universidad de Sta. Isabel in Naga City, her hometown, and Ateneo De Manila University for its “long tradition of social action and formation of students.”
The Universidad de Sta. Isabel has adopted three communities in Camarines Sur, where its students will take part in community development and outreach program.
“Our metrics should not be confined to the amount of scholarships we have given, the classrooms we have built, or the number of outreach activities we have done,” Robredo said.
“It should be the impact to the quality of life in the community, the sustainability of the impact, and the number of lives transformed because of our intervention,” she stressed.
ADMU, on the other hand, has required its students to participate in immersions in relief efforts, advocacy-driven and community projects.
“The academe has evolved from being an institution that provides learning within the four walls of the classroom to a laboratory of innovative ideas and solutions that empower people, especially those at the fringes of society,” she said.
“By intentionally linking courses with community experiences, the academe can more powerfully shape the personal, professional, and civic development of their students,” Robredo continued.