By Roy Mabasa
There is a need to improve the curriculum and internship programs in the Philippine educational system to expose students to more practical work and give them other incentives during on-the-job training.
This was the observation made by participants at the recently concluded Industrial Competitive Enhancement through Industrial Human Resource Development and Supply Value Chain Development summit, a partnership project between the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Board of Investments (BOI) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) aimed to boost job creation and provide support to industry-academe collaboration and startups.
During the summit, the participants agreed that improving the curriculum and internship programs tailor-fit to the industry’s needs is the solution to close the academe-industry gap and provide a pathway to university graduates in getting jobs.
JICA Philippines Chief Representative Yoshio Wada said, through its partnership with the BOI and CHED, “JICA hopes to contribute to creating equitable opportunities to young Filipinos and ensure that they also benefit from the Philippines’ economic growth.”
Among the universities represented in the event were the Laguna State Polytechnic University, Malayan Colleges, Mapua University, Batangas State University, Asia Pacific College, Adamson University, Technological University of the Philippines, De La Salle University, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, and the University of Perpetual Help System Laguna.
These universities, according to a JICA statement, interacted with prominent private Japanese companies such as Nissan Philippines, Denso Philippines, EMS Components Assembly, Inc., Toyota Motors Philippines, and Nuvali Steel Processing Center, among others.
The Philippine government aims to strengthen its collaboration with the academe-industry as part of its inclusive innovation strategy to integrate the local automotive industry in the global value chain.
Aside from removing barriers between academe and industry, the JICA-BOI project is also supporting the Philippines’ pipeline of young start-up companies that can match the needs of Japanese investors.
Through a recent pitch-event in Manila, several Filipino start-ups met with Japanese companies Rakuten Capital, Spiral Ventures, and SBI Holdings to explore future partnerships.
According to Trade and Industry Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba, the project somehow “helped get the attention of Japanese investors into what Filipino start-ups can offer.”
“The pitch event opened avenues for exchange of know-how, talent, and markets between our countries and contribute in linking our startup ecosystem,” she said.
Data from the IESE Venture Capital and Private Equity Country Attractiveness Index 2018 showed that the Philippines is fifth in terms of maturity of the start-up ecosystem in ASEAN next only to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.
Representatives of the Japanese companies who attended the pitch event said they had the opportunity to get to know more about the Philippine start-up ecosystem including their maturity level and to plan their investments.
JICA has been supporting industrial human resource development in the Philippines for many years to help boost investments in the country’s key industries like automotive where a number of major players are Japanese companies.